Flathead cherries grow in orchards close to Flathead Lake in western Montana. Sweet and ripe, these cherries are the best thing about Montana summers. They also make a darn good pie!
Flathead Cherry Pie:
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk to brush on top crust
- 2 pounds of Flathead cherries, pitted, stems removed
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
Perfect buttery crust:
Mix cream cheese and butter. After mixture is evenly blended add the flour all at once. Mix. Remove dough from bowl and divided into two equal balls. Flatten dough balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
Oh so cherrylicious filling:
In a medium bowl sauce pan, combine all ingredients except for butter. Toss the mixture to guaranteed an even spread of cherries.
Baking a perfect slice of heaven:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch glass pie pan. Pour the cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust with water nad dot pieces of butter on top of the mixture. Place the remaining rolled dough over the top of filling. Trim edges, if needed, and gently tuck the top crust under the bottom crust. Brush the top crust with milk. Bake pie for 50 minutes until the crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!