Courtesy Carol Todd, The Market Roost, Flemington
At the Market Roost, this pie is traditionally made with Montmorency sour cherries from Michigan (the state is famous for these). When New Jersey’s cherry season starts in June, you can use local sour cherries fresh off the tree.
For the Filling:
6 cups pitted sour cherries (fresh or frozen)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups cherry juice (such as Knudsen Just Tart Cherry, unsweetened)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Defrost and drain frozen cherries if necessary, reserving the juice (1½ cups of juice are needed; supplement with good-quality bottled cherry juice such as Knudsen’s). Mix sugar, flour and cherry juice together using a whisk, in a bowl, making sure it’s thoroughly blended with no lumps. Pour mixture into heavy saucepan and cook until thick. Remove from stove and add cherries and almond extract.
For the Crust:
4 ounces vegetable shortening
8 ounces pastry flour
1 ounce finely crushed skin-on almonds
Preheat oven (convection oven, if possible) to 350º. Mix pastry flour and crushed almonds in a large mixing bowl. Have your ice water nearby (several cups—not all will be used).
Add small chunks of shortening to the flour mixture by breaking up with hands and dropping chunks over the top of the dry mixture. Work the shortening into the dry ingredients with your hands, gently lifting and working it in until blended with fairly large, pea-sized shortening chunks still visible—this is the key to a flaky crust. Be careful not to overwork.
Pour some of the ice water over the mixture and, using a spatula to scrape from the bowl, incorporate wet and dry until the dough pulls together and is moist and easy to work with. Form dough into a ball, divide into two, and roll out bottom layer to line a 10” pie pan. Put the bottom layer in the pie pan. Fill with the cherry filling.
Roll out remaining dough, cut lattice strips and lay out over pie filling. Crimp edges and brush an egg wash on the the lattice top before baking pie.
Bake 20 minutes, lower oven to 325º and then continue baking until juice of filling is visibly thickened—you should be able to see it coming up between lattice strips. Enjoy!
Market Roost Catering, Restaurant & Bakery
65 Main Street, Flemington