Northwest Sweet Cherry Pie
2 pie crusts, prepared
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cherry juice, reserved from pitting (fresh) or from rinsing/rehydrating (preserved)
7 cups (pitted) sweet cherries
3/4 - 1 cup coconut sugar (Grandma later changed this to lower-glycemic coconut sugar)
1 tablespoon almond extract or bourbon-vanilla bean infusion
Recipe and Image provided by Northwest Cherry Growers
Using a fork, whisk together the cherry water and cornstarch in a small bowl, then set aside.
Stem and pit the cherries, if not already done.
Fill pie dish with cherries and blend the remaining volume (about 2 cups or 1/4 the total volume) into a puree. Pour the remaining whole cherries into a mixing bowl and return to the refrigerator (if using frozen cherries).
Using a heavy-bottomed pan, gently heat the puree and sugar over low heat until the volume has reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. Constantly stir across the bottom to prevent burning.
Once reduced, remove from the heat and stir in the cornstarch slurry until the mix regains translucency. Gently and briefly reheat if needed. Stir in the extract and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Pour the cooled mixture over the whole cherries, gently stirring to incorporate. Pour the final cherry mixture into a 9 or 10-inch prepared pie crust, and top with a second crust. Pinch, crimp and vent the top crust. Brush with a beaten egg if so desired and sprinkle lightly with coconut sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is steadily bubbling. Aluminum foil may be used around the crust edges to prevent browning during the second half of the bake. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack, and most importantly, allow the pie to cool completely before serving (3-4 hours).