Cherries are my absolute favorite fruit, so when I discovered that there was a “pick-your-own-cherries” orchard 20 minutes, I went not once, not twice, but 3 times in 2 weeks to pick cherries. Needless to say, we had a lot of extra and while I was sorting through all of the cherries when we got home, I had a lightbulb moment of inspiration: Vegan Cherry Pecan Pie.
I’d never made a pie before in my entire life, but all of a sudden, this seemed like the best idea I’d ever had.
I like to bake, but a pie always seemed so daunting. The crust has to be just right and the filling can’t be so juicy that it destroys the crust, but also juicy enough that the flavor bursts.
Here’s what I discovered:
Pies are actually really easy. You make the dough a day in advance so that when you’re ready, it’s all assembly.
So I went for it and put my own spin on cherry pie, adding pecans and sweetening lightly with maple syrup. And because I like a challenge, I went for a lattice top (which FYI is way easier than you think it is).
The pie was gone in less than 24hours. And then I made another vegan cherry pecan pie a few days later. We had a lot of cherries.
This is easily the recipe I am most proud of creating. It’s delicious and not terribly complicated and both of my kids ate it, which in my book is a win. Even if it’s pie.
I am 100% certain you will love it, too!
Vegan Cherry Pecan Pie
8-10 pieces of pie
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 stick (8Tbs) of vegan butter (I opt for the soy free earth balance, personally)
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ice cold water
6 cups cherries, pitted
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup maple syrup
Prepare your crust first. Ideally the night before or morning you’re making pie, so once done, it can sit in the fridge to chill. Also, if you can make your butter extra cold in advance, this will help your pie crust stay more dry and crumbly, which in my opinion, makes better pie crust.
Grab a large bowl for your flour, sugar, and salt. Then cut your ice cold butter into small pieces and add them to the flour mixture. Start to fold the butter into the flour using your hands, adding a little freezing water as you go to moisten the flour and make it easier to combine. You don’t want it too wet — just enough to get the flour to mix thoroughly with the butter to make your dough.
Once you have dough that is cohesive but not too sticky, divide it in half. Shape into 2 thick discs and wrap in wax paper. Then place in the fridge overnight or for 4 hours at least.
Next step is to pit your cherries and make the filling.
Pitting the cherries is the most labor intensive part of making this pie, but it really only takes about 20-25 minutes. I also recommend using your fingers not a cherry pitter. Your fingers will actually be faster and more dexterous. Plus, you can snack on the occasional cherry half. Bonus.
Once your cherries are pitted, place them in a medium size bowl and combine with other filling ingredients. Stir very well until the cornstarch is no longer visible and the cherry mixture is extra gooey.
Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Roll out one of the dough discs for the bottom crust of the pie. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate and press the dough into the pan, making sure that the dough goes up and over onto the rim of the pie plate. Then place in the oven for about 6-8 minutes.
In the meantime, rollout the second disc as thin as you want your lattice strips to be. Slice into 1-inch wide pieces.
When the bottom crust is done “pre-baking,” pour the cherry mixture in, spreading it evenly throughout the crust. Then add the strips on in a criss-cross pattern. You might have to cut off the ends of some of the strips to make it fit to the edge.
Pro-tip: to help the top crust brown evenly, spread a little almond milk (or any non-dairy milk) across each of the strips. My mom does this for her pies and it works like a charm.
Cook at 415 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 400 degrees, turn the pie about 180 degrees (too cook more evenly) and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Check at the 20 minute mark to see how the browning is going. Keep an eye on the pie in those final 10 minutes. Burned crust is tasty, but I prefer non-burned myself.
Enjoy this pie and just try to not eat the whole thing in one sitting. Just try.