Look at us being all cute. Cherry pie for your Valentine! Personally, Valentine’s Day is just another excuse for me to make heart-shaped desserts (like these cute donuts), so I obviously had to make a pie and put lots of hearts on it. And she’s so cute!
We’re making cherry pie completely from scratch, so let’s start with the crust – a key element to a perfect pie. I like using Claire Saffitz‘s all-butter pie dough recipe because it’s pretty much flawless and a classic, it’s perfectly flaky and it’s definitely a favorite of mine.
When making pie dough, it’s important to use as little water as possible. A drier dough yields a flakier crust. The dough will continue to hydrate as it sits in the fridge and as you work the dough it’ll come together, so don’t worry if it has a few floury spots. I usually make pie dough by hand instead of using a food processor, it’s easy to feel if the dough is too dry or too wet that way, plus it’s a very cheap therapeutic activity.
I used frozen cherries because pitting fresh cherries is a full time job, so it’s just so much easier and it saves so much time and prep work. And perhaps the one thing that truly distinguishes this pie from all other cherry pies is the fact that there’s no almond extract in the filling. Instead of doing that, I like sprinkling a layer of almond meal onto the crust before topping it with the cherry filling. This creates an extra barrier that absorbs the juices while the pie bakes, keeping the bottom crust crisp.
Of course this is not exactly a Valentine’s Day recipe but my point is anything can be Valentine Day’s themed if you add a couple hearts to it. You can and should make this pie anytime for every season and any occasion, but I like that it’s not an obvious V-Day choice. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, make a mess, and have some fun.
I’ll be spending the day alone, like the fierce independent woman that I am, building my Martha Stewart empire; so if you make this pie, please have a slice for me and all the wonderful singles out there. If you’re wondering what’s like being single by the way, I’ll leave you with this poignant, insightful quote from Michael Scott:
“What is it like being single? I like it! I like starting each day with a sense of possibility. And I’m optimistic, because everyday I get a little more desperate”.
It’s okay. Don’t feel bad for us. We’re thriving.
Valentine's Day Cherry Pie
All-Butter Pie Crust
- 5oz/ 142g unsalted butter
- 7oz/ 200g all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 and 1/2 cups pitted frozen cherries
- 135g granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 50g almond meal
- 40g granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
For the Filling
- Fill a 1 cup with ice water and refrigerate it while you assemble the pie dough. Cut 2.5 oz / 71g of the butter crosswise into ⅛-“inch-thick slices (so you have lots of thin butter squares) and refrigerate.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt to combine.
- Cut the remaining butter into ½-inch cubes and toss in the flour mixture to coat. Quickly and firmly use your fingertips to smash the butter pieces into the flour, flattening them and working into smaller bits until the largest pieces are no bigger than a pea.
- Remove the butter slices from the refrigerator, add them to the flour mixture, toss to coat, then flatten between your thumbs and fingertips into thin sheets. Once you’ve worked in all the butter, you should have a very coarse, slightly yellowed mixture filled with some larger pieces of butter and some very small bits.
- Slowly drizzle 5 tablespoons of the ice water (avoiding any ice) into the mixture, tossing constantly with a fork to incorporate. Switch to your hands and toss the mixture several times until shaggy pieces of dough form, then knead the mixture inside the bowl a few times to bring it together (the dough will look very clumpy and dry, with loose bits).
- Line the work surface with a sheet of plastic wrap, then transfer any large clumps of dough to the plastic. Tossing again with a fork, drizzle more ice water 1 teaspoon at a time into the bowl with the remaining flour mixture until only a few dry spots remain, then knead with your hands to bring it together into a dough. Transfer the last bits of dough to the plastic wrap.
- Pat the dough into a ¾-inch-thick square or rectangle. Wrap tightly in the plastic, pressing out any air, and press down on the dough with the heel of your hand to flatten it further and force it into the corners of the plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Let the dough sit on the counter for about 5 minutes to soften slightly. Unwrap it and place on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to beat the dough all across the surface to make it more pliable. Dust the top and underside of the dough with more flour, then roll it out, dusting with more flour as needed, into a rectangle that’s about three times longer than it is wide and between ¼ and ½ inch thick. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter (this makes more butter layers, which create a flaky texture), then wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate the dough until it’s relaxed, at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. It’s now ready to use.
- Make the filling:In a large bowl, combine the cherries, 135g granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt, and toss to combine.
- Make the base:In a small bowl, combine the almond meal, 40g granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon and set aside.
- Roll out the pie dough:On a floured work surface, roll out 3/4 of the chilled dough until you have a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into pie dish. Firmly press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the plate to ensure full contact.
- Refrigerate the bottom crust in the pie plate while you roll out the second crust just as you did the first. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Roll out the second dough. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes.
- Assemble the Pie: Sprinkle the almond meal base onto the crust. Spoon the filling on top of the crumbs. Arrange the hearts on top of the filling.
- Brush the top of the pie with egg.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling in the center of the pie, another 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
If you make this Valentine’s Day Cherry Pie please be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!