A favorite of cowboys on cattle drives, this classic cherry pie was often cooked in a cast-iron skillet over a campfire. The “cookie” (chuck wagon cook) substituted honey for sugar when the chuck box ran out, and the recipe has remained that way since. Gather 'round the 'hands and serve this pie with heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream. Watch them dig in with gusto.
Pastry for a double-crust pie
Egg white, melted butter or flour (optional)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cherry juice
1 1/4 cups honey
3 cups red sour cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon butter
On a floured surface, roll one portion of the dough to about 3 inches larger than your pie plate. Fold the dough in half and gently unfold into the pie plate. Press the dough gently to fit the pie plate. Using a knife, trim the edges, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Do not prick the bottom crust. To prevent a soggy crust, brush it with an egg white or melted butter, or sprinkle lightly with flour, if using.
Roll the second portion of the dough to a diameter of about 13 inches and cut the dough into 18 1/2-inch-wide strips. Leave the strips on the cutting board until you’re ready for the top crust.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the filling, combine the cornstarch and cherry juice in a saucepan over low heat; add the honey and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add the cherries and butter, stirring well. Set aside to cool.
Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Lay 9 of the strips horizontally across the top of the pie, allowing edges to overhang the bottom crust. Place the remaining 9 strips vertically over the horizontal strips in a crisscross pattern; trim and press the second set of strips to seal. Fold up the bottom crust to cover the ends of the lattice, then crimp or flute with your fingers.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Cover loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Serves 8.
Read more: Get the scoop on lard (and why it's better for you than you think) in The Lost Art of Cooking With Lard.
This recipe was originally published in Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking With Your Grandmother's Secret Ingredient by the editors of Grit magazine. Try these other favorite recipes from the book:
Photo Courtesy Andrews McMeel Publishing