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How to make an almond cherry pie for mon chéri this Valentine's Day

Addie Broyles
Austin 360
"Pie Academy" by Ken Haedrich

Chocolate gets all the love on Valentine's Day.

If you're looking for a different kind of dessert to charm your sweetie, check out this cherry pie from "Pie Academy" author Ken Haedrich, who pairs frozen or fresh cherries with almonds to make this tangy sweet coffeecake-like treat.

Serve with homemade whipped cream or ice cream and call it date night.

Tired of chocolate? This almond cherry pie from "Pie Academy" is a not-as-sweet alternative for Valentine's Day.

Dense Cherry-Almond Coffeecake Pie

I love a good almond cake so much that I started spinning almond cake-pie hybrids; this is a particularly good one. Simply scatter a single layer of cherries in the pie shell, then pour a rich sour cream-almond filling over them. A deliciously moist, cakey filling with a golden crust forms around the cherries as they bake. You wouldn't normally want to drain or blot away any juice when you're making a cherry pie, but this recipe is a little different. If too much cherry juice bleeds into the filling, it will lose some of its cakelike texture. That's why you drain them on paper towels first. Refrigerate leftovers, but gently rewarm the pie before serving, especially if you're serving it with ice cream. 

— Ken Haedrich

2 cups pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen and thawed

1 cup whole almonds, toasted

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Prepare and refrigerate the pie dough. (Recipe below.) Roll the dough into a 13-inch circle and a line 9-by-9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan with it, shaping the edge into an upstanding ridge. Flute or crimp the edge, chill the shell and partially pre-bake. 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the cherries on a double layer of paper towels and set them aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the almonds, flour, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar and the salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. 

Using an electric mixer (handheld is fine), beat the eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, brown sugar and the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Blend in the butter, vanilla and almond extract. Stir the dry mixture into the liquid, blending until smooth. 

Arrange the cherries in a single layer in the pie shell. Ladle the filling over the cherries. 

Place the pie directly on the middle oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pie 180 degrees, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, until the filling is set in the center and the surface of the pie is a rich, uniform golden brown. 

Transfer the pie to a rack and cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. 

— From "Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More" by Ken Haedrich (Storey Publishing, $35)

Almond Crust

Adding finely ground almonds to a buttery pie dough does wonderful things to a crust. It takes on a nutty almond flavor and crunchiness, naturally, but the nuts also relax the dough and make it a pleasure to roll. Use this dough under any nut pies, chess pies, or custard pies. Like any pie dough, this should not be hard when you roll it. The ground nuts will make it prone to cracking if the dough is too cold.

— Ken Haedrich

1/3 cup whole almonds, toasted or not, cooled and coarsely chopped 

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes 

1 large egg yolk 

Cold water 

1/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract

Put the nuts in a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes; they should be cold when you make the dough. 

Combine the almonds and sugar in a food processor. Pulse the machine until the nuts are finely ground. Don’t overdo it or you’ll turn them into a paste. Add the flour and salt. Pulse several times to mix. 

Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine six or seven times, until the pieces of butter are roughly the size of small  peas.

Put the egg yolk in a 1-cup glass measuring cup and add just enough cold water to equal 1/4 cup liquid. Add the almond extract, then beat the liquid with a fork to  blend. 

Pour the egg liquid through the feed tube in a 7- to 8-second stream, pulsing the machine as you add it. Continue to pulse until the dough just starts to form large clumps, but don’t let it ball up around the blade. 

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and pack it into a ball, then knead it gently two or three times to smooth it out. Put the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap the disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. This makes one 9- to 9 1/2-inch standard or deep-dish pie shell.

— From "Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More" by Ken Haedrich (Storey Publishing, $35)