Drunken Cherry & Apple Pie

My contribution to the Thanksgiving table: preserved sweet cherries from the summer’s harvest, hand-picked, organically-grown Mutsu and IdaRed apples from Fishkill Farms, and flaky, tender pastry crust.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Adapted from The Best All-American Apple Pie in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum


Drunken Cherry & Apple Pie


  • double recipe of Rose’s Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust (see Options for the cream cheese variation)
  • 2 and 1/2 lbs baking apples
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 pint drunken cherries, or 2 cups fresh or thawed, frozen pitted sweet cherries, macerated in 1 cup rum or brandy and 1/4 sugar for at least 1 hour


  1. Roll and shape half the dough to 1/8-inch thickness into a 9-inch pie dish. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.  Reserve a disc of the other half of the dough in the refrigerator for the top crust.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples and add to a large bowl with the lemon juice and sugars. (Save the peels and cores to make apple cider vinegar or apple pectin stock.) Toss the apple slices in the lemon and sugar as you go, to prevent browning. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest to the apples. Toss to combine and allow the apples to macerate in the sugar for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
  3. Transfer the macerated apples to a large colander and drain the exuded juices; you should yield about 1/2 cup juice; don’t worry if it is a bit less or more.  Drain the cherries, collecting the liquid. Add this liquid to the apple juice and transfer to a small saucepan. Add the 2 tbsp butter and cook over medium heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the juice is reduced, syrupy, and thickly bubbling (about 10 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, toss the cornstarch with the apple slices until it disappears. Add the drained cherries and toss to mix. Remove the top crust dough from the refrigerator to warm.
  5. Pour the reduced juice/syrup over the apple slices. Toss to mix.
  6. Once warmed sufficiently (about 10 – 15 minutes) roll the top crust out to 1/8-inch thickness and large enough to cut a 12-inch circle.
  7. Transfer the fruit filling to the bottom crust/pie dish. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust slightly by brushing it with water or milk.  Shake the pie pan a little to settle the fruit, then lay the top crust over the top of the pie. Trim the dough, with kitchen shears, to overhang the edge of the pie dish by about 1 inch. Tuck the overhanging dough under the bottom crust border and press down with your fingers, all around the edge, to seal the edges. I like to make a decorative border by pushing down diagonally with my pinky finger, which both seals and decorates the edge.  Make decorative slashes or cutouts (using a cookie cutter) in the top crust to release steam.  Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour prior to baking to chill and relax the dough.  This will maintain flakiness and help to prevent the crust from shrinking.
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (or 400 degrees F convection). I like to glaze the top crust with a very light brushing of apple cider or milk followed by a sprinkling of turbinado sugar. Set the pie directly on a pizza stone, or on the bottom rack of the oven, on a rimmed baking sheet or on top of a large piece of aluminum foil to catch drips.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, then check the crust;  if the edges of the crust begin to burn, cover them with a foil ring or crust shield. If the entire crust is browned, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F convection) and  continue to bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is nicely browned, about another 20 – 30 minutes.  If the crust is not in danger of burning, you can cook the pie for the entire time (45 – 55 minutes total) at 425 degrees F.  Cool on a rack  for at least 2 hours before cutting.


  1. You can substitute an all-butter pastry crust for the Cream Cheese version, but the cream cheese gives the dough a slight tang that works well with the sweet apples, and the dough is more tender, making it easier to roll out and shape.
  2. Other spirited fruits, such as blueberries, apricots or raisins, would work here as well.
  3. Keep apple slices relatively thin (less than 1/4-inch) in order to minimize shrinking of the fruit filling below the crust. The maceration of the apples prior to cooking also helps with this, but there will still be some shrinkage, as apples are a watery fruit. If you want no shrinkage below the top crust, you should pre-cook the apple filling and partially blind-bake the bottom crust; cool both filling and crust completely, fill and top the pie, and then bake in a 425 degree F oven.


At room temperature, up to 3 days.  Refrigerated, the crust will become soggy; it can be recrisped in a 425 degree F oven, but will lose some flakiness.  Frozen, a fully made pie will last up to 3 months.  If baking from frozen, do not thaw first; simply place the frozen pie in its pie dish and into the preheated oven.


Fall through winter.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Dark Days 09-10 :: Week #2 Recap (East, South, and Middle) « (not so) Urban Hennery

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