During the tail end of the Korean war, my dad was stationed in Germany where he was a military policeman — a cushy assignment, to be sure. My mom was the girl he’d dated before he left, who was at home wearing poodle skirts and roller skates, working as a telephone operator.
My mom, who really isn’t a pie baker, baked my future dad a cherry pie and shipped it to Germany. As I remember this story, the pie wasn’t terribly recognizable when it arrived, but that didn’t stop my dad and his Army buddies from devouring it.
Some time after that, my father bought a diamond ring and mailed it to my mother, telling her she could take it as an engagement ring or a birthday gift. They were married in 1957.
True Love Double Cherry Pie
Pastry for a double crust pie
4 cups fresh cherries, washed, de-stemmed, pitted and sliced in half
1 cup tart dried cherries
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons quick-acting tapioca
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
Make the pastry for the crust and refrigerate. Wash, de-stem, pit and slice the cherries; set aside. (This is a messy, tedious job that leaves your workspace looking like a slasher flick. Recruit someone to enjoy the mess with you.) Mix the sugar and tapioca together and add the pinch of salt. Add the almond and vanilla extract to the cherries and mix gently with a spatula. Add the sugar mixture in, folding the cherries to incorporate. Set the cherry mixture aside for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out your bottom crust and place in a deep, 9″ pie plate, leaving plenty of overhang for crimping. Pour in the cherries. Chop the two tablespoons of butter into small chunks and scatter over the top. Now, roll out your top crust and upend over the filling. Crimp the edges together, removing any excess. Cut several vents in the top of the pie, brush with milk and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, then bake for another 30-35 minutes, until the filling bubbles. If the crust begins to get too brown, pop a piece of foil over the top for the last ten minutes or so of baking.