Melanie Cooks: From Lard to Picture Pies

Hi guys!  It’s summer, and that means it’s time for my favorite summer treat-cherry pie with ice cream!  The trickiest part is the crust, but my friend Melanie is an excellent cook and wrote up her favorite recipe for you-it’s ALMOST as good as my grandma’s ;-).  (Anna’s note:  you can use regular sweet cherries, but they really REALLY aren’t the same.  It’s worth finding an orchard where you can pick the sour ones!)

My great-grandmother always said ‘Lard makes everything taste better.’ She’d be devastated to know that I’ve shirked my duties and use Crisco in my pie crusts instead. Alas, we all can’t be as great as our elders! She would be happy to know, however, that I continue to use her original ‘Picture Pies’ cookbook.

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I’ll stand by these pie recipes til the end; you know it has to be a good book when it has everything from true mincemeat pies to eggnog pie to lemon fluff pie! But for today, in line with the upcoming 4th of July holiday, we’ll stick with good ol’ traditional cherry pie.

Ok, I’ll admit, I’ve had my share of failed pie crusts over the years, but sticking with my Picture Pies crust has gotten me to the point of being able to make a scrumptious flaky crust that I can’t resist. Here is the original recipe:image_1

The key to a good pie crust, in my opinion is cutting the lard (or in my case, Crisco) into the flour and salt and then handling it as little as possible after mixing in the water and rolling it out!

My favorite part if any pie is deciding what to fill it with! Since my aunt and uncle live near by and were kind enough to allow me to steal some of the sour cherries off their tree, this pie filling was an easy choice.

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There were so many cherries on their tree this year, I had an easy time picking; I stood in one spot and ended up with enough cherries for three pies! I made one and froze the remaining cherries for future pies.image_3

In case you’re not a cherry expert, they do have pits and pitting these guys can be tricky without your handy-dandy cherry pitter, that we common folk call a bobby pin. Yes, that’s right: poking the bobby pin into the cherries and popping out the pits left me a juicy, stained mess but it was definitely worth it in the end!

I used about 5 cups of cherries, a cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste and a few pats of butter on top before putting on my top crust. I admittedly don’t always end up with the most beautiful pies, but they sure do taste wonderful, especially ala mode on these hot summer days!

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Here’s a piece for you, Anna, for allowing me the opportunity to guest post on your blog.  Thank you and until next slices – Toodleloo!

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