Labor Day in my family means delicious home-cooked food.  And while I won’t be indulging to excess this year, I still look forward to family get-togethers and the cooking involved.  While browsing my cookbook collection in preparation for our family meal, it occurred to me that covered pies are really just applique with dough. Fascinated by that concept, I began to imagine all of the things you could do with stencils in the kitchen. With this recipe for Reverse Appliqué Bloomers Cherry Pie, I start exploring ways to combine Alabama Chanin stencils with good home cooking – imagine the possibilities.

You can find our Bloomers Stencil in Alabama Stitch Book (and a delicious pie crust in Alabama Studio Style).

Here are the directions for a simple, and delicious, appliquéd cherry pie:

Combine the following and let stand for 15 minutes:
5 cups pitted Bing cherries
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
3 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
About 5 tablespoons ice water
Combine the flour and salt, add butter and toss to coat with flour. Work the butter into the flour with your hands. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the water over the top and incorporate with a fork. Knead the dough until smooth, adding water to dry spots as needed. Divide the dough into three parts, one slightly larger than the other two. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Dust your work space with flour and roll out larger portion until it is about 13 inches round and 1/8 inch thick. Transfer into a 9 inch pie pan. Roll the other two portions out until they are quite thin, even thinner than the base crust because there will be two top layers.  Transfer to parchment paper and refrigerate all three dough portions for 15 minutes. Pour the filling into the bottom crust and dot with 2-3 tablespoons of butter. Arrange one of your rolled dough top layers over filling. Lay the second top layer with parchment on a cutting board, apply stencil, and cut out shapes using a small, sharp knife. You can discard the cut outs (or you might choose to add an applique layer on top!). Layer the second crust on top of the first, cut away excess around edges, and crimp with a fork. Cut 4 or 5 vents along the pattern made by the stencil. Brush top of crust with one beaten egg. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 350-degrees, until filling starts to bubble through vents. Let cool completely before serving.

You will also find some great pie recipes and pictures here.

Bon Apetit and Happy Labor Day weekend!


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  1. cathy smith

    Natalie, do you ever stop imagining new things? I am so impressed. I am working on my third AC skirt (beaded swing skirt) and getting better all the time, learning to slow down and enjoy the stitching. Thanks to you I’m a changed woman (and with better clothes too!). Happy Labor Day.