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Drunken Cherry Vanilla Pie

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust. 

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

It's March 14th, so you know what that means? It's Pi Day! Because pi = 3.14 and March 14th is 3/14. What does that mean to a food blogger? It means we share *pie* recipes! Several of my food blogger friends have all baked pies today, and you'll see links to the other recipes at the bottom of this post.

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

I had a hard time choosing which pie recipe to share today. Chocolate pie? Fruity pie? Savory pie? In the end, I went with fruity. I just love the soft, cooked fruit between layers of tender, flaky pie crust. Now another conundrum: which fruit? I decided to do a twist on the all-American classic: cherry pie.

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

Those cherries in that bowl? They're soaking in brandy. Bourbon or amaretto would also taste fantastic in this recipe, but brandy was what I had on-hand. There's also some sugar in there. And lemon zest. And vanilla bean. But also brandy. The sugar makes the fruit release its juices, softening the fruit. This process is called maceration.

The cherry juices and brandy are then placed in a pot and mixed with cornstarch and brought to a boil to thicken into a yummy syrup. This cooks off most of the alcohol and concentrates the flavor of the brandy.

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

Fresh or frozen cherries work equally well in this recipe. Because there's such a large quantity of cherries in this pie, I like using frozen, because they come pre-pitted. I used three 12-oz bags, and probably could've added a fourth, but it was about 2 degrees F outside, and I was NOT going out in that kind of cold!

You can also use any homemade or store-bought pie crust. I made a diamond lattice top crust for my drunken cherry vanilla pie, which isn't too much different than a regular lattice (illustrated here), except you lay the strips at 45 degree angles instead of perpendicular. You could also lay a whole pie crust on top of the pie, and punch holes with cookie cutters. Or skip the top crust entirely and do a decorative edge.

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

 

We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

Drunken Cherry Vanilla Pie

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe double-crust pie dough, store-bought or homemade
  • 36 oz sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
  • ¼ cup brandy or bourbon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Roll out half of the pie dough to a circle 10 inches in diameter (or one inch larger than the diameter of your pie plate). Lay the crust in the pie plate, and gently prick all over with the tines of a fork. Set aside. 
  3. Place the cherries, brandy, the scrapings of the vanilla bean, sugars, lemon zest, nutmeg and salt in a large saucepan. Let stand with no heat for 15 minutes. 
  4. After 15 minutes, sprinkle the cornstarch over the cherries, and mix to coat. Turn the burner on to medium and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the liquid thickens. 
  5. Let cool to room temperature, then pour the mixture into the pie crust. Dot with the butter.
  6. Roll out the second half of the pie dough to 10 inches in diameter (or the same size you made the first). Cut into ¼-inch wide strips. Lay one strip down the center of the pie plate. Lay another strip at a 45-degree angle to the first. Repeat, crossing the strips over and under to create a weave. 
  7. Mix together the egg and the water. Brush the outer edge of the pie crust (making sure to brush under the strips where they meet the bottom crust, and pressing so they stick), then carefully brush the strips of the diamond lattice. 
  8. Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake another 20 to 30 minutes. Cool to warm temperature on a wire rack. 
  9. If desired, rewarm in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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We're celebrating Pi{e} Day! Drunken cherry vanilla pie combines cherries, vanilla bean, and brandy in a flaky pie crust.

Don't forget to check out these pie recipes from my fellow food bloggers!

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Thursday, March 24th is National Philadelphia Cheesesteak Day! To celebrate, try one of these 25 variations on the city's iconic sandwich.
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LeanbFalcinelli

Friday 27th of November 2020

By the Way my daughter is a red head!! Lol

Leanne falcinelli

Friday 14th of August 2020

Can you do this with peaches?

Coleen

Friday 14th of August 2020

Absolutely! Peaches go great with bourbon, rum, brandy, or amaretto,

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

I used a food processor to make the crust instead of cutting the butter in by hand. Once the dough came together, it was wrapped in plastic and put in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Leanne Falcinelli

Friday 14th of August 2020

I did it by hand but its delicious!

Karen Murray

Sunday 3rd of June 2018

How do you feel about adding rhubarb to the cherry pie filling? Thanks for your input...

Karen Hastings

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

What flavor brandy?

Melanie

Monday 25th of December 2017

Just finished baking this pie very excited about trying it Christmas day. Smells Devine !

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