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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
First, make the pastry. Tip the flour, 50g almonds, butter, sugar and ¼ tsp salt into a food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the egg yolks with 2 tbsp cold water, drizzle over the flour and butter mixture and blend again until the dough starts to clump together. Tip onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring everything together into a smooth dough. Divide into two pieces and shape each lump into a puck shape. Wrap and chill for 30 mins. Will keep, wrapped and chilled, for up to two days.
Remove the stones from the cherries – either cut them in half and pop out each stone, or use a cherry stoner. Toss the cherries with the jam, sugar and cornflour until there are no floury patches.
If the pastry has been chilled for longer than 30 mins, bring it out of the fridge 20 mins or so before rolling, as it will be very firm. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Dust a surface with a little flour, then unwrap one piece of pastry. Carefully roll it out until it’s large enough to line the base and sides of a 25cm pie dish, skillet pan or cake tin. The pastry will be very delicate, if any cracks appear when rolling, squash them back together and keep going. Lift the pastry over the rolling pin and into the dish – don’t worry if it breaks, just patch it up by pushing it into the corners and up the sides and closing any holes. There should be a little overhang around the edges. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tbsp almonds over the base, then spread the cherries on top to fill the pie in an even layer.
Roll out the remaining pastry so it’s large enough to cover the pie. Brush a little beaten egg white around the pastry edge. Top the pie with the pastry lid as it is (piercing a hole in the centre for the steam to escape), or make a lattice topping. To do this, cut the pastry into strips, however wide you like. Arrange half the strips in one direction over the pie, leaving a few centimetres gap between each. Weave the remaining strips under and over these in the opposite direction, creating a lattice pattern. Squash the pastry together around the edge, then trim the excess with a sharp knife.
Crimp the edge for a neat finish, or use any pastry scraps to make shapes to run around the edge – we used a piping nozzle to cut small circles. Stick them on with a little more egg wash, then brush the whole pie with a thin layer of egg wash. Sprinkle over a little caster sugar. Bake for 55 mins-1 hr, checking the pie after 40 mins. The edges may brown more quickly than the centre, if this happens, wrap a little kitchen foil around the edge to protect it.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 1 hr. If you cut it too soon, the fruit juice will be very runny and flood the pie. Best served just warm with cream or ice cream.