This is essentially a bye week. Life has been hectic, and this was a chance to slow down and work on technique.
A local cidery, Albemarle Ciderworks, runs an orchard with cherries, peaches, plums, and apples. Through them, I lucked into 3lbs of sour cherries—a mix of Montmorency and Balaton. Chatting with their assistant cidermaker, he outlined the next couple months of their produce, including some vintage baking apples like the Magnum Bonum and Braley's Seedling.
As a bye week, this pie focused mostly on technique and repetition. The past few times building a lattice has proved way too complicated and messy. Cutting the strips with cool dough and laying straight on the dough would leave the last pieces too soft. Pre-weaving and freezing left me with wondering how to transfer the finished weave to the pie. (And seemed a bit too precious.) For me the sweet spot is to cut the strips, freeze them, then weave on the pie. The strips slowly thaw while being layed, giving enough time to reposition. By the time I'm finished, the lattice is soft enough to trim and crimp.
Practice also meant being patient enough while it baked. 3lbs of cherries is ALOT to shove into a deep pie plate. This pie took almost 90 minutes to bake. Yes, the top darkened, but that's ok. It was crispy, flaky, with a toasted flavor. The tapioca thickener gave the filling a beautiful translucency and soft mouth-feel.
The recipe is on the previous Cherry Pie bake.