I always make the fruit pies I’ll serve on Thanksgiving well ahead of time. When I was competing in county and state fairs, I found I could bake a fruit pie and freeze it. Then the night before I needed it, I could take it out to thaw and the next morning crisp it in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes with basically no change in the original pie. I had to do it this way for the Ohio State Fair because of time restrictions plus a 2-hour drive and I continued to win ribbons. I’ve used the technique since the early 1980s to get a jump on holiday baking.
This morning, I baked two apple pies which will go in the freezer after they have cooled, and I was remembering other Thanksgiving pies I have made through the years. For the 20 years we lived in Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, I had the benefits of a front yard full of fruit trees. In July, there was one old tree that produced a huge amount of tart cherries. These snapshots from 1991 show my son and his family who were visiting from St. Louis and helping me by picking some cherries.
The little girl with the pail graduated from college last year and the baby is now a sophomore in college. Time flies.
I froze a lot of cherries but to have the very best pie for Thanksgiving, I made one while the cherries were fresh off the tree – my husband’s favorite. Here’s the recipe:
TART CHERRY PIE
- Pastry for 9″ double crust pie
- 4 cups fresh tart cherries, pitted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tblsp. quick tapioca
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 2 Tblsp. butter
- 1 Tblsp. milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a large bowl, mix together the cherries, sugar, tapioca, salt, and almond extract.
Fit bottom crust in a 9″ pan, pour filling into crust and dot with butter. Place top crust on pie, crimp edges and brush with milk. Cut vents and place on a larger flat pan to catch spills.
Bake @ 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
Cool pie completely on rack. Serve to a hungry family or wrap and place in a two-gallon ziplock bag. Place in the freezer until needed. For best flavor, use within 6 months.
I only wish I had one of those fresh cherry pies in the freezer for this Thanksgiving and my husband here to enjoy it.