Old-Fashioned Cherry Pie
Bacon Grease Pie Crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
- 1/4 cup chilled bacon grease
- 1/4 cup ice cold buttermilk
Cherry Pie Filling
- 1 orange (for juice and zest)
- 5 cups fresh or frozen sweet dark cherries
- 1 cup fresh or canned sour cherries
- Dash of pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup bourbon or 2 tablespoons bourbon extract
- 1/2 cup Dixie Crystals Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon bitters (aromatic)
- 2 tablespoons Dixie Crystals Gold n Natural Turbinado, for sprinkling
*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.
- Start by making pie crust. You're going to make this recipe twice. (If you try to double it you'll end up with a tough crust and it's not worth taking a shortcut.)
- Sift flour, salt, and sugar together. Cube butter and drop into flour.
- For bacon grease, measure 1/4 cup while grease is still warm/fluid and place measuring cup in freezer to chill. Use a spoon to create thin shavings rather than trying to cube it and add it to butter as well.
- For a tender pie crust, cold is key as well as minimal touching and working of the pastry. Use a pastry cutter or a large fork to cut bacon grease and butter into flour. It should resemble course crumbs. Don't overwork butter, grease, and flour. You want large, pea-sized crumbles because this is what helps create that flaky crust that the south is known for.
- Use just enough chilled buttermilk to make crumbled mixture stick together. Not too wet, and not too dry. Just right.
- Form pie crust into a thick, flat circular disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in a refrigerator for 30 minutes before using. Make the second crust while first is chilling and repeat the process. You can make crusts the day before and leave them in your fridge to save some time.
- For pie filling, create two 1-inch wide strips of orange zest from an orange (no white bitter pith) and set aside.
- Peel orange and puree fruit until smooth.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine cherries, 1/4 cup orange puree, two strips of orange peel, dash of pomegranate juice, bourbon (or extract), sugars, and vanilla extract and allow to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- Over medium heat, stir cherry mixture until it begins to gently bubble. (Do not boil!) Add corn starch and bitters, and stir until combined. Allow to thicken, then remove from stove. Allow to cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
- On a well-floured surface roll pie dough approximately 1/8-inch thick. Fill pie pans with pie crusts ensuring no rips or tears are visible. To avoid a soggy pie crust, whisk an egg and brush pie crust with the egg wash. Chill for 15 minutes prior to adding filing.
- For top of pie, cut dough into strips and place first strip onto center of pie. Place second strip crosswise over first. Place remaining strips starting from center strips in clockwise fashion onto pie. Roll remaining piecrust dough and cut leaves or other patterns. Use back of a pairing knife to make veins or other designs. Brush lattice and designs with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with Gold n Natural Turbinado sugar.
- Place a piece of foil on top of pie in order to keep top crust from browning too quickly. (The bottom crust bakes much slower.) Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes before lowering temperature to 350°F. Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove pie from oven, allow to cool slightly prior to serving. Prepare yourself for compliments, and serve with vanilla ice cream and plenty of southern hospitality!
For the crust, make two separate batches. Don't try doubling the crust recipe as it won't turn out right.