TO MAKE THE FILLING:
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Place frozen cherries in a large pan, cover and heat over med/low heat until the juice is released. Pour dry ingredients over cherries and mix well. Turn up the heat a little and stir constantly until the sauce has thickened.
Allow to cool. (If sauce is too thick add a tsp of water. If too thin, return to heat to thicken further or add more cornstarch mixed with lemon juice, and continue cooking until thick.)
TO MAKE THE DOUGH:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. With paddle attachment, pastry blender, or using fingers, cut butter into dry mixture until pea-sized crumbs are formed. Slowly add ice water mixed with lemon juice, zest, and extract, just until dough comes together (not sticky). Add 1 tsp additional water at a time if dough is too dry.
Divide dough into halves. Flatten dough between pieces of plastic wrap or plastic wrap and parchment, and roll out each piece to 1/8-inch thick. Chill on sheet pan in refrigerator for about 10 to 15 minutes to keep fats solid in pastry for flakiness and firm up the dough a little before placing in the pie pans.
Remove the wrap from one side of the dough and flip the empty ramekin or pie pan onto dough and with knife point, draw around the shape of the pan an extra ¾ to 1-inch extra all the way around and cut out dough shape with knife. Remove extra dough, reserving it to be rerolled into the lattice strips.
Grease the ramekins or pie plate, and carefully flip the dough into the prepped pan. Use the plastic wrap as you fit the dough down into the bottom, and up against the sides of the pan. Carefully pull off the plastic wrap as you work your way around the edge. Carefully cut off extra dough with a sharp knife or scissors, trimming to the top edge of the pie pan. Use some of the scraps to fill any cracks or thin spots. Smooth and adjust all the way around to make an even thickness. Refrigerate to firm up a little before filling.
With the leftover scraps, re-roll to 1/8-inch thickness and cut long strips of dough with a pizza cutter or pastry cutter. Use straight or scalloped cutters or a sharp knife and straight edge. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 10 minutes. You want the dough to be pliable but not soft and sticky, and not too cold or it will be brittle and break. Release the lattice strip from the plastic wrap or parchment with an offset spatula before assembly.
Preheat oven to 375°, and place rack and parchment-lined sheet pan on the rack (to catch the drips) in the lower third of oven.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PIE:
Using a slotted spoon, mound cooled cherries into the crust-lined pie pan. Pour sauce over the cherries just to ½-inch below the top edge. You will NOT use all the sauce. Dot with butter.
Use the offset spatula to move and position the lattice into position; lay all the strips diagonally in one direction, ¼ to ½ inch apart, alternating if you have scalloped and straight edges. Now repeat the same design, except the lattice will all be going the other direction, making a beautiful diamond pattern. The dough will be too fragile to do a traditional over under weave, but as the fruit subsides, the lattice sinks slightly and a beautiful lattice crust appears.
Optional: Mix the glaze, and use a small soft brush to very lightly glaze the crusts. Sprinkle with large crystal sugar (if desired).
Put pies on hot sheet pan in oven. Bake 30 minutes in preheated 375° oven, turn pan, check color of crust, and bake about 20 to 25 minutes more. Place a piece of foil lightly over the crust if getting too dark (last 15 to 20 minutes). Crust should have lots of color and pie should be bubbling hot and oozing over a little.
Allow to cool before serving. Use a serrated knife to cut for best results.
Chef’s Note: Frozen cherries are great; picked at perfect ripeness and flavor, plus they come pitted!
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