Yes, I know. This is hardly sour cherry season. That's still more than a month away.
What you see here is the pie my wife made with the last of the sour cherries we picked last year.
That would have been the 30 POUNDS of sour cherries that we picked ourselves at our favorite cherry grove--Butler's Orchard in Germantown, MD--then pitted by hand.
We've found that you have to jump all over the brief sour cherry season. We stay tuned for the e-mail bulletins from Butler's. As soon as they announce the sour cherries are ripe, we beat a path to the cherry grove. Usually, it's already crawling with other customers filling their buckets. You have to pull the kids out of the trees, or just beat them over the head with your bucket.
Then, after a few short days of harvest, the sour cherries are gone.
After pitting the cherries (quite a task), my wife divided them into freezer bags, just enough in each bag to make a pie or cobbler. We've been eating our way through them slowly all year. Finally, almost one year later, we arrive at the last pie.
Remember, I am not the baker in this family. Past scones, muffins or shortcake I'm pretty much lost. No, the distinction of professional-quality baker goes to my wife. And she's been working her way toward the perfect pie recipe for years, trying to get just enough solid consistency in the filling so it doesn't all run out in the oven, and just enough softness in the crust so that you can cut it with an ordinary kitchen knife. (We've retired the jack hammer.)
For this pie, my wife has settled on the lattice-top dough recipe and the filling recipe straight out of The New Best Recipe book from Cook's Illustrated.
"I haven't had to tweak anything," she says. "That's why they call it The Best Recipe. Everything's already been tweaked. I love it!"
All I know is, this is a helluva pie. We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Then it's gone...