Busy Girl Cherry Pie

Cherry pie was one of my favorite desserts as a little girl -- but it had to be my grandma's pie with homemade crust and filling.  Sadly, I just don't have time to make homemade crust these days.  So, I had to adapt.  This version is for the busy mom, one who doesn't mind using prepared pie crust.   And really, I'd rather use that than go without cherry pie, wouldn't you?

But, if you do have time, make this filling with homemade crust.  It's delish.  Recipe is also in this blog. 

1 box prepared pie crusts, for a 9-inch double crust pie
3 14.5-oz cans red tart cherries, packed in water (You can find them in the canned fruit section of any grocery store.)
4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2  tablespoons butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 drops red food coloring (Optional, it brightens the look of the filling.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unroll one of the pie crusts and carefully place in the pie pan.
Open the cherry cans and drain off all of the liquid.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cherries, tapioca,  salt, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.
Let stand 15 minutes.
Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared crust.
Dot with butter.
Unwrap the remaining pie crust, and using a knife, cut it into thin strips.
Place the strips on the pie to create lattice work.
(I don't even try to weave them, it takes too much time.)
Trim any over hanging crust along the edge.
Seal the edges by making depressions using a fork.
Sprinkle the top of the pie with about 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Cut thin strips of foil and use them to cover the edge of the pie -- this will prevent the edge from burning.
Place pie on a foil lined cookie sheet to prevent drips.
Place the pie/cookie sheet on a rack in the lower half of the oven.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is dark golden brown in color.

Let stand about 1 hour before cutting so that the juices can settle.
Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.

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