Star Spangled Bourbon Cherry Pie

Some say that there’s nothing more American than apple pie.  Well, they’re wrong.  I’m here to lobby cherry pie as the go-to All-American dessert.  After all, George Washington cut down a cherry tree (not an apple tree)…to make pie.

Okay, that might not be historically accurate…but go with it.  This pie is patriotic, flavorful, and filled with bourbon.  Everything an American should be! 

We use vodka in the crust to get an extra flaky texture to match the buttery flavor…to be honest, I could just eat the crust by itself.  The filling marries cherries, bourbon, and orange flavors to create a wonderful summery dessert.  Serve by itself or a la mode…either way, you’re in for a treat!

Yields 1 9-inch pie.


  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 ½ sticks cold salted butter cut into small pieces, divided 2 ¼ sticks + ¼ stick (pro tip: cut butter into small pieces, then let sit in the freezer for 10-15 minutes for optimal results)
  • 5 tablespoons ice water
  • 4 tablespoons ice vodka (if you don’t have vodka, just substitute the same amount of ice water)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 5 cups pitted cherries (if using frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream


  1. Combine flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt and whisk together.  Add 2 ¼ sticks butter and cut in with your fingertips until the mixture has pieces ranging from coarse crumbs to small peas.
  2. Drizzle vodka and water over flour mixture and mix with a fork until dough just holds together.  Turn dough out onto a clean surface.  Knead once or twice to incorporate any loose pieces. 
  3. Divide dough in half and form each into a thick disk and cover in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  4. Make filling: Mix 2/3 cup sugar with cornstarch, bourbon, orange peel, cinnamon, almond extract, and table salt.  Add cherries and toss to blend; let sit 30 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter.  Roll dough around rolling pin and until over a 9-inch pie place, pressing gently to fit into pan.  Score several times with a fork.
  6. Pour cherry mixture into pie crust and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Roll out remaining disk of dough in the same manner as the first.  Using a star shaped cutter, cut out stars and layer over the top of the pie.  Use kitchen shears to trim any overhang.  You can also do a lattice structure if you want.
  8. Refrigerate pie for 20 minutes and preheat oven to 400 F.  Whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream then lightly brush over top crust.  Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake pie for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375 F and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes, until both crusts are golden and filling is bubbling.  If pie is browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil.
  10. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before serving (about 4 hours).