5 cups stemmed and pitted fresh dark sweet or sour cherries (that’s about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar for sweet cherries, or 1 cup (200 g) for sour cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for sweet cherries , or 1½ teaspoons for sour cherries
Grated zest from 1/2 lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Kirsch , optional
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into mini cubes
Cream or milk , for brushing the top crust
Coarse or granulated sugar , for sprinkling
Roll out the dough: Take one disc of dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Place the dough gently into a 9-inch pie pan; you can do this by flouring a rolling pin and rolling the dough loosely around it, then unrolling it into the pan. Brush away any excess flour on the surface. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Roll out the other disc in the same fashion, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Make the cherry filling: In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in cherries. Add lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, and Kirsch and mix to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the lower third of the oven.
Spread cherry filling in an even layer onto pie crust, and dot with butter on top. If you choose to make a lattice pie, this is how you do it. Otherwise, place the second crust over the filling. Tuck any excess overhang pastry under the bottom crust, then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Make 4 slits in the center to let steam escape while baking. Brush the crust with a thin coating of milk or cream, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F/190C and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling through the slits, about 40-50 minutes longer. Cover the edges of the pie loosely with foil if it starts browning too much while baking.
Allow pie to cool for at least 4 hours before serving so that the filling can set. Store pie in the fridge for up to 3 days.