It is confirmed, the teeniest touch of almond makes the flavor of cherries burst to the forefront. Of course, it does help to have beautifully sweet and plump cherries to work with. This cherry-almond pie was - if I can give myself a pat on the back - the BEST cherry pie I've ever had.
It is the essence of cherry flavor, the flavor that makes you understand what all of those artificial cherry flavors are trying to go for, but don't quite get right.
If you can manage to stop yourself from eating all of the cherries before they go into the pie (I think approximately the same amount of cherries went into the pie as went straight into my mouth), this is what you should do with lovely fresh cherries. It will ruin you forever for any store bought pie, or pie filling in a can, or those gut bomb pocket pies covered in glaze. THIS is what cherry pie should be, the only thing it should ever be. This pie is fantastic warm with vanilla ice cream, but was actually even better cold with nothing at all. Recipe after the jump:
FRESH CHERRY AND ALMOND PIE
1 recipe for a double crust 9-inch deep dish pie
2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon kirsch
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter, diced
3 tablespoons heavy cream, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cherries, sugar, tapioca, extracts, and kirsch and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Roll out the chilled pie dough for the bottom crust and line a deep dish pie plate, leaving 1/2 inch of overhang. Fill the pie with the cherry mixture, then sprinkle the almond slices over the fruit. Dot with the butter pieces. Cover with the top crust, crimp to seal, and cut slits to allow steam to escape. Brush the crust with the heavy cream. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Allow to cool completely before slicing.