Andy Ross of the Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival shares his personal size cherry pie recipe featuring King Orchards IQF Montmorency tart cherries.
This recipe makes six personal size cherry pies. (5 inch pie tins)
5 C of fresh frozen unsweetened cherries or three 15 oz cans of tart. I use cherries fresh frozen from King Orchards brand or their canned tart cherries.
1 Tbls of organic tapioca starch or corn starch
3 C of superfine sugar.
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract
1 C of crushed gram cracker crumbs plus some for dusting pans. I prefer Nabisco.
4 Tbls unsalted butter
1 box of prepared crust from either Pillsbury of store brand such as Stop & Shop.
1/8 C of extra virgin light olive oil
1/8 C of superfine sugar
Preheat the oven to 375. Thaw the cherries and drain them well. Reserve the cherry juice for shakes or mixing with seltzer. Mix the cherries with 2 cups of the sugar, let sit and drain again. Mix in the tapioca or corn starch, almond extract and lemon juice and the balance of sugar to taste. Let them sit for 15 minutes while you prepare your crust and gram cracker crust bottom.
Take your small tin pans and spray them with butter flavored Pam or grease them with butter. Then dust the sides and bottom of the tins with gram cracker crumbs.
Melt the butter and mix it with 1 cup gram cracker crumbs. Take the dusted pans and place the gram cracker mixture on the bottom about 1/8 thick. Press the gram cracker mixture with a spoon until compacted. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to chill before filling.
Roll out you prepared pie crust and use one of the tins as a template cutting out a circle. You should be able to cut out three upper crusts per roll. Take your cherry mixture and scoop it out with a slotted spoon to leave any excess liquid behind and fill the tin piled a little high but not too high. Place the crust over the tin. Use fork tines to press down the edges of the upper crust against the tins. Carefully cut an x-shaped slit in the upper crust using a sharp knife.
Mix the olive oil with super fine sugar so you have a thick mixture. Brush the tops of the pies with the mixture using a pastry brush..
Bake the pies on a cookie sheet or directly on the rack for 35-40 minutes. The crusts should look golden brown not soggy.