Ginger Cherry Pie
PSA: Pastry chef and author of The Fearless Baker Erin McDowell just published a free downloadable e-book that’s chock-full of everything you’ve ever wondered about pie. Called (fittingly) Just Pie, the little bible features eight Insta-worthy creations like this beaut, ginger cherry pie.
“This is a classic cherry pie—plus lots of spicy ginger,” says McDowell. “Fresh, ground and crystallized ginger all find their way into this pie. There’s even gingerbread pie crust woven into the lattice.”
Sour cherries work best in this pie (and it’s OK to use frozen or canned), but sweet ones will work in a pinch. Some final parting wisdom: Save this recipe for a rainy day and take your time. Your attention to detail will blow everyone away.
All-Buttah Pie Crust
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup ice water, plus more as needed
Gingerbread All-Buttah Pie Crust
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
⅓ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup ice water, plus more as needed
1¾ pounds sour cherries, pitted, thawed if frozen
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup minced crystalized ginger
Egg wash, as needed for finishing
Turbinado sugar, as needed for finishing
1. Make the All-Buttah Pie Crust: Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter cubes, tossing them through the flour until each piece is well coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers and thumbs, flattening the cubes into big shards.
2. Continue to toss the butter with the flour as you work, re-coating the shingled pieces. Mix until the butter is about the size of walnut halves.
3. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the water. (Have more at the ready—you’ll need it!) Start by tossing the mixture gently (rather than stirring) to help uniformly moisten it; doing this helps incorporate the water without overworking the flour. Add more water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together. When it starts to come together, you can mix thoroughly by gently kneading or folding the dough to make it more homogenous. The dough shouldn’t be wet or sticky, and it shouldn’t be dry and crumbly. It should hold together easily without feeling wet to the touch.
4. Form the dough into two disks and wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to two days before using.
5. Make the Gingerbread All-Buttah Pie Crust: Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and proceed with the remaining steps in the All-Buttah Pie Crust (recipe above), forming the dough into one disk for chilling.
6. Make the Cherry Filling: In a medium pot, mix together the cherries and brown sugar. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the cherries soften and release their liquid, 6 to 7 minutes.
7. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger and salt. Stir into the pot of cherries, followed by the fresh ginger. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft and the liquid has thickened, 7 to 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and crystalized ginger. Cool completely.
8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of the All-Buttah Pie Crust and mold into a buttered 9-inch pie plate, leaving an inch of excess dough around the rim. Fill with the cherry filling and spread into an even layer. Chill while you prepare the top crust.
9. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining All-Buttah Pie Crust to ¼ inch thick. Trim the edge to create a clean line and then cut about 10 strips about ½ inch wide. Reserve on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until ready to use.
10. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the Gingerbread All-Buttah Pie Crust to ¼ inch thick. Trim the edge to create a clean line and then cut 20 strips about ½ inch wide.
11. To form the top crust, line up two strips of gingerbread dough with one strip of plain dough in between. Pinch the top and bottom of the strands together to adhere, creating a 1½-inch-wide strip of dough. Repeat this pattern to create another set of strips.
12. Carefully weave the two sets of strands together by laying one set over the other, keeping all the strands flat while you work (see photo). If the dough becomes warm or hard to work with at any point, move to the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before resuming. Gently transfer the twist to the surface of the chilled pie. Repeat this process until you have five wide twists covering the pie.
13. Firmly press the twisted dough against the excess dough at the edge of the pie plate. Fold the excess dough up over the twists and press firmly to seal the edge over them. If the dough isn’t sticking easily, dip your finger into water and use it to wet and smooth the dough. Crimp the edge as desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
14. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the pie on top of the prepared baking sheet. Brush the pie evenly with egg wash and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
15. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up between the twists slightly, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving.