It’s spring, let’s make a pie!  »

Start with two pounds of cherries that were fresh last week. Realize you have to do something with them, and look up recipes until you find the right one for you. Realize you don’t have enough cherries, and add fresh strawberries until ideal weight is achieved. Wash, stem, and pit cherries. This will take longer than you think, but it won’t be nearly as irritating as you expect, I swear.

Adjust your recipe according to your ingredients and tastes. “But it’s a pie! I’m afraid!” Don’t be; the filling is super-easy and you have leftover crust from your last pie in the freezer, so now all the hard work is over.

I adapted the above-linked recipe and this is roughly what constituted the filling:
2 pounds fresh cherries, and 1/2 pound fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar (could’ve been less, really, the cherries were very sweet)
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract (there wasn’t any almond)
a dash of whiskey
Stir, cover, and let sit for a few hours. Now you can defrost your pie crust, and clean up your mess. Fun!

Now instead of making one giant pie, maybe you want to make two smaller pies. I did! Unfortunately after rolling out two pie crusts and heaping the tins full of filling—no pre-baking the crust this time—I didn’t have any crust left over for a top. What to do? Make a crisp topping, obviously!
1 cup oats
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy butter
cinnamon, to taste
Combine in a bowl until everything is all pebbly. Then sprinkle across the tops of your pies, like so. Very nice!

While you’ve been mixing and sprinkling, your oven has been preheating to 400 F. When it’s ready, pop the pies in, with foil over the tops, but make sure they’re on some kind of tray, because they will probably erupt a bit and you don’t want cherry-strawberry mess all over your oven. I had to bake mine individually because of this. Pro tip: If you re-use a tray that’s already covered in semi-carbonized pie overflow, it’ll bake on so hard it may never come off. Best not to.

After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and remove the foil from the pie. Bake for another 30 to 45 minutes (mine needed 30), then take out of the oven—mind the spillage on those trays!—and place on a wire rack to cool. See how much overflow there was? Thank goodness I used a tray!

Now, allow to cool for a good long time before devouring. Why? First, because the pie filling is like sweet, delicious lava that will blister ever part of you that it touches. Second, because, like a pudding, it’s still setting. You don’t want to cut it open and have all the filling spill out like some ridiculous fruit-waterfall, right? Of course not. So, wait. Give it a good hour at least.

Finally, slice and eat. Although to be honest, this pie is best served at room temperature at least 12 hours after baking. The flavors need more time to develop, I guess, to get comfortable with each other, so try not to eat it all up that night. Allow their relationship time to grow!

Still, definitely eat a piece when it’s done. You pitted cherries for this!

[pictures by Meave]

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