A few weeks ago I was in Kansas for the weekend, helping my in-law family clean out their parents’ home. Both parents had passed away and it was time to give up the family home. Everyone was sad and tired and I thought pie might fix some of that—pie usually has that effect, right? At the grocery store I saw the beautiful cherry pie that was on the cover of the Bon Appetit June issue and that settled it. I gathered the ingredients and started home to bake.

I found myself alone in the kitchen, everyone was out of the house doing other things. It’s a large, sunny midwestern kitchen, with lots of cabinets and windows. It even has built in flour and sugar bins and a little house with a wooden door for the bread to live in on the counter. Who does that anymore? This family lived in that house for 50 years and raised 5 children and many grandchildren. The great grandchildren have started entering the world as well.

As I searched for equipment to cook, I realized that Lorene, also known as “Grammy”, cooked just fine for many, many years without a zester, a food processor, a cherry pitter or parchment paper. Things I sometimes feel I can’t live without. It was a lovely experience baking without the usual props, alone in her quiet midwestern harvest gold kitchen. There was even a window sill to cool the pie on. I sat around her kitchen table with some of her daughters and some of their close friends and ate pie. It was a bitter sweet end of an era coming to a close. It was my last chance to cook in that kitchen and I took it.
Also see Lorene’s Apple Pie below. Enjoy.

Sour Cherry Pie

(from Bon Appetit, with a few adjustments

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 cup sugar (I added some Demerara in)

1 teaspoon good quality kosher salt

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus some for rolling the dough)

1 cup, chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ dice

2 egg yolks

ice water

1 cup sugar

zest of one lime

3 tablespoons cornstarch

pinch of good quality kosher salt

3 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted or 6 cups frozen sour cherries

1 egg, beaten

Demerara for sprinkling

Pulse almond flour, sugar, salt and flour in food processor (or chop well with a knife) until well mixed. Add butter and toss to coat. Pulse until mixture looks like a sandy mix. Mix egg yolks and 1/4 cup ice water in a small cup and sprinkle over flour. Pulse, drizzling in a bit more ice water as need to get to just come together without too many dry areas.

Scrape dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pull the edges up around it. Twist the top and then massage the dough through the plastic to bring the dough together. Divide dough in half and press each into a flattened disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for about 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425º. Line a sheet pan with foil, letting the foil come up the sides of the pan; crimp to hold it firmly to the pan…this pie is going to bubble over.

Let the dough sit out at room temperature while you mix the cherries. Combine 1 cup sugar, zest, cornstarch and salt and mix well. Add cherries and toss to coat.

Roll out each disk of dough on a lightly floured surface into about a 12″ round. Place dough rounds on a sheet pan, which has been lined with parchment paper, and chill these for about 10 minutes. Carefully place one of the dough rounds into a deep dish 9″ pie plate, allowing dough to slump down into the pan without pulling or stretching it. Fold the edges under at the lip of the pie pan. Pour in the filling.

With the remaining pie dough round, cut small, round holes, about 3/4″-1″ in diameter all across the top. I used a bottle cap or a small knife, you could use a cake decorating tip to cut your perfect holes. Place dough round on top of cherry filling and press edges together to seal. Crimp decoratively if desired. Brush the top dough with the remaining egg and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Chill pie until dough feels firm, at least 30 minutes. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350º. Continue cooking for another 45-55 minutes. If needed, shield crust with foil if over browning. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 3-4 hours before cutting. This pie stores best at room temperature is best the day after it is baked.




Lorene’s Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 425°


2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup Mazola oil

3 tablespoons milk


3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 cups peeled and sliced apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

Crust/Topping-mix together flour sugar and salt add Mazola and milk. Mix with hands, remove 1/2 and set aside. Press mixture into pie pan, lining sides and bottom.

Pie-toss all ingredients together except the butter. Pour into pie shell. Top with reserved crust/topping mixture. Dot the top of pie with butter. Place pie on a sheet pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.