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Cherry pie is my favorite pie I don’t even have to think about it. Last week I managed to hit the farmer’s market at the exact right moment to get the tart cherries I needed for this recipe and therefore achieved pie nirvana and am now deceased.

I did not grow up eating homemade pie because I did not grow up eating homemade anything. I was a child of convenience foods so imagine my surprise — nay my disillusion and disorientation –when I learned that this was not, technically, a cherry pie:

Hostess Cherry Fruit Pie 4.5 oz-1017

(Imagine what I thought a pie chart was).

I haven’t tasted one in decades but I’m confident the one I made this week was better.

The recipe comes from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pies, eponymously name for the best pie shop in Chicago and written by its owner, Paula Haney. I’ve made several recipes from this book and they were all outstanding. Let me walk you through them…

The Lemon-Chess Pie introduced me to a category well-known in the south and and now a favorite of mine.


The Maple-Pecan is now a holiday tradition.

And this, my friends, is Pork, Apple and Sage Supper Pie.

And there are so many more I’ve bookmarked to try: Sweet Corn Custard with Tomato Jam, Ham and Bean, Orange Cream and the Chicago-Style echoing the flavors in our classic Italian beef sandwich. There are also hand pies and quiches, pickles and stocks. You would not go wrong to make this your definitive pie cookbook.

Of course at the heart of a great pie is the crust. Paula is of the all-butter denomination and I am right there with her. It can be a little trickier to work with than vegetable-shortening but I’ve never found anything superior in flavor. (And if you want to buy pre-made I am a-ok with that – Cook’s Illustrated recommends the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust).