Mom's well known for her cherry pie. Years ago, she told me not to tell the secret... but I know the secret's out, so here it is! The beautiful thing is that it has only four ingredients - plus the pastry, of course. Mom's cherry pie puts any boughten cherry pie to shame - you won't be able to even look at one again! For a vegan version, use soy or almond milk to brush pie. Oh, and the secret? Almond extract!
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Mix cherries, sugar, and almond extract in saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Pour or scoop out 1/2 cup cherry juice, and add cornsarch. Mix well until a paste forms. You may wish to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to turn it into a liquid rather than a paste. Slowly add to the simmering cherries, mixing well while adding. Allow to simmer until thickened. Set aside.
- For pie crust, mix flour and salt; cut in shortening, using pastry blender or two knives. You want to stop when you have large pea size clumps of shortening - any smaller, and you'll lose out on some flakiness! Add in ice water (I actually add ice to my water to ensure it's super cold), and mix, drawing a fork up from the bottom of the bowl, adding water until the dough is moist enough that it sticks together when pressed. TIP: Don't touch the pastry dough any more than absolutely necessary! Separate into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out larger ball on a floured board, and place into pie pan; it should overlap. Roughly cut edge even with edges. Roll out smaller ball of dough, and set aside.
- Pour filling into pie crust; top with remaining pastry dough, allowing it to overhang edges. Again, roughly cut crust, slightly larger than edge of pie pan. Tuck top crust under bottom crust (to prevent leaks), and crimp. Cut vents into top crust, and if you have any scraps left over, shape into a few flat cherries with stems, and place on top of pie.
- Lightly brush top of pie with milk, and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes more.