Cherries are summer’s rare delight and can vary from sweet wild cherries to the sour Morello variety. With a relatively short season, cherries are at their best in July although availability extends into August, growing scarcer as the summer draws to a close, until they’ve disappeared from the market stalls before September ends. Buy cherries as soon as you see them to enjoy them for longer. The sharp flavour of black cherries is perfect paired with a super sweet, crunchy pastry crust for this all-American classic dessert.
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MAKES one 23cm pie
PREP 20 mins for pastry plus 30 mins chilling, 20 mins for cherry filling
COOK 30 mins
▪ Will keep in container for two days.
FOR THE PASTRY
200g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
FOR THE CHERRY FILLING
2 tbsp. jam
2tsp. cornflour, dissolved in 2tbsp. water
250g cherries, stoned and halved
Vanilla seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Demerara sugar, to sprinkle
1 Start by making the pastry. Rub the flour into the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Add the beaten egg and enough milk to combine into a firm dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for thirty minutes.
2 For the filling, melt the jam and water in a saucepan. Add the cornflour mixture and cook on a medium heat for two minutes or until it starts to thicken.
3 Add the cherries and vanilla seeds and stir well to coat all the fruit with the syrup mixture. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
4 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Divide the pastry into two and roll half out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about a one-pound coin. Use this to line the bottom of the pie plate and cut off any overhanging pastry.
5 Tip the cooled cherries onto the pastry, being careful not to get the mix too close to the edges.
6 Roll out the second half of the pastry as before and lay this over the top of the pie. Seal the edges by pressing with a fork. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm with thick cream.