Sweeten Up Summer With This Cherry Pie

Agent Cooper would favor this pie, made with sweet cherries and a touch of almond extract. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

SWEET CHERRY PIE

Prep: 1 lazy afternoon

Bake: 50 minutes

Makes: One 9-inch pie, serves 8

Pie pastry, recipe follows

2 pounds (about 5 cups) fresh sweet cherries, pitted

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen

1. Freeze: Roll out the larger round of pastry 1/8-inch thin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp edges. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Freeze firm, 1 hour.

2. Macerate: Stir together cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a large saucepan. Let rest 20 minutes.

3. Crisp: Line pastry with foil or parchment. Fill with raw rice or dried beans. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Pull out parchment and rice or beans.

4. Thicken: Set saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is glossy and thick, 1 minute. Stir in almond extract.

5. Weave: Roll out the smaller round of pastry 1/8-inch thin. Slice into strips. Scrape cherries into pie shell. Grate frozen butter over cherries. Weave pastry strips into a lattice on top.

6. Bake: Set pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover rim with a pie halo or foil. Bake at 400 degrees until juices bubble at the center and lattice turns crisp and brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely. Slice and serve on white plates with black coffee.

Pie pastry: In the food processor, buzz together 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Drop in 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up. Pulse until largest lumps are the size of peas. Turn out into a big mixing bowl. Drizzle on ice-cold water, 2 tablespoons at a time, folding pastry with a flexible spatula. When pastry begins to clump, knead once or twice and pat into 2 disks, one slightly larger than the other. Dust with flour. Wrap in waxed paper. Chill, at least 1 hour.

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