I googled and googled, and finally decided on a pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who said "Whoever said you can’t make a good cherry pie with sweet cherries was lying." You bet they were!
I ended up making a couple changes, mainly because I already have a perfect crust recipe from Aunt Becky. For some reason I'm opposed to using a whole egg on top of pie, although I have no qualms about using an egg YOLK. Go here for the original recipe, below is my adaptation. And a deliciously perfect one at that!
Number One pitted the cherries for this pie (he needs practice, because he found a pit in his piece of pie!) My boys helped when I was putting the pie together, H-Bomb suggesting the shape of the vents to be reminiscent of "cartoon pies." I used a different crimping technique, this one made with a spoon, which H-Bomb said was totally a cartoon pie, and Sawed Off said, "YEAH IT IS!" The boys were happy. And everyone was really happy when it was time for dessert!
I also have three or four batches of this pie filling in the freezer, waiting for a time after cherry season is long gone, when I JUST HAVE TO HAVE a cherry pie. That time will come.
Sweet Cherry Pie
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Dough for a double-crust pie (you'll need to double the recipe)
4 cups pitted fresh cherries
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Coarse sugar, for decoration
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Gently stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract in a large bowl.
Roll out half of chilled dough on a floured work surface. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan, trim edges to about a half-inch overhang.
Spoon filling into pie crust. Dot the filling with cold butter.
Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack as long as you can before you dig in!
Incidentally, after hours of my cousin and I pitting a ton of cherries with a hand pitter, one of my friends let me borrow her old "automatic" cherry pitter. OMG what a difference. It was so fast, I pitted a pound of cherries in 1 minute, 5 seconds, including a hopper reload! I searched and found this one which is remarkably similar to my friend's West German-made beauty. If you have a cherry tree or just like to make cherry pie, you need one of these! NEED.