I make filling when fruit is ripe and I have the time. Once cooled, it's poured into a plastic lined pie pan and frozen. Then, it's tightly wrapped, placed in a ziplock bag, and kept frozen until ready to slip into a dough lined pie pan to bake. Later, the dough may be made a couple of days ahead of pie baking and refrigerated.
Ingredients for Cherry Pie Filling:
5 C pitted fresh cheerries, sliced, pitted, and sliced into quarters
4 T (1/4 C) cornstarch
150 grams sugar (less if cherries are super sweet
1 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
1 T lemon juice
1/8 t salt
Place the cut-up cherries into a saucepan over medium heat, cover pan, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Cherries will begin to release juices. This may take a little longer. In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Once there is some juice going in the pan, sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the cherries, stirring until combined. Reduce to low heat and cook until thickened (two to three minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool before using or freezing for future use.
Ingredients for Pie Dough:
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into 1/2 inch pieces. (I usually do this the night before I make dough, and return it to the refrigerator on a plastic covered ceramic plate, lightly covered with plastic to ensure that it stays relatively separated and very cold when I am ready to use it).
1/3 C Crisco (I also cut this up into small pieces and refrigerate it along with the butter)
3 C all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1/3 - 1/2 C ice water
When ready to make the dough, place the flour sugar and salt in the food processor using a steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix the dry ingredients. Add the cold butter and shortening and pulse 10 to 12 times until the butter is very small (about the size of small peas). Now, with the machine running, slowly add the cold water (I usually have a large cup filled with ice and water then pour some of it into a small liquid measuring cup and pour 1/3 in first then a little more, if needed) until it just begins to form a ball. Remove the dough to a lightly floured cutting board and form it into a ball.
Cut the ball in half and roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each into a small round disk. From here you can refrigerate from 30 minutes to a couple or three days.
To Make the Pie:
1 more T of butter
Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator and roll out on a floured cold surface. I prefer using a couple of sheets of plastic wrap on my granite countertops, a little flour, and plastic wrap on top of the dough as I roll it. Cutting boards work well too. Just be sure to keep everything as cool as you can until you are ready to bake.If you are using plastic wrap, peal off top layer, lift plastic wrap and dough over and place on pie pan, lifting away plastic from the bottom of inverted dough. Now, remove frozen pie filling from freezer (or pour the fresh and cooled). Dot filling with 1 T Butter cut in tiny pieces. Repeat rolling process for top crust.Allow for extra dough to overhang pie pan so you have a nice amount for wrapping up the "package" with a nice crimped edge around the pan.I usually brush the top with egg white and sprinkle with a little sugar. Cut a five slits in top. I also "collar" the pie with a piece of foil or a shield of some sort to prevent the edge from burning.Bake at 375 degrees for 20 Minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees for an additional 30 to 40 minutes until crust is golden and filling is thick and bubbling. Note: I let cool for a few hours and for Mom's party, I had to bake the cherry and apricot pies the day before, because it was a luncheon and I had to be there at 9:00 in the morning. They were a hit!