ON MY TWENTY-SECOND BIRTHDAY, A FRIEND OF MINE bought me a glass of scotch
at a bar. It was the first time I’d ever tasted the stiff stuff, and I could barely get it down. In fact, it took me the entire night to finish that one drink! Scotch is bracingly strong. For an easy-drinking cocktail, it’s best to blend it with sweet, fruity ingredients, such as cherries and lemons. Like someone who’s had a bit too much to drink, this pie can be a bit “wobbly kneed,” and you may not be able to cut perfect slices. No one I’ve served it to has ever complained.
FOR THE CRUST:
1½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes 1 tablespoon scotch whiskey 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE CHERRY FILLING:
3 (12-ounce) bags frozen sweet cherries ½ cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons tapioca flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch ¼ teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons scotch whiskey Freshly grated zest of a large lemon
FOR THE WALNUT CRUMBLE:
½ cup all-purpose flour ¾ cup chopped walnuts 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats ⅓ cup granulated sugar ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
TO MAKE THE CRUST, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a
food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubes of butter, a few at a time, and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the scotch and then the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Roll the dough out on a floured work surface into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the crust to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and adjust the rack to the bottom third.
TO MAKE THE FILLING, gently toss together the cherries, sugar, tapioca flour, cornstarch, salt, scotch, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.
TO MAKE THE WALNUT CRUMBLE, combine the flour, chopped walnuts, oats, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub the mixture with clean fingers until it forms moist clumps.
Remove the piecrust from the freezer and fill it with the cherry mixture. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and continue to bake another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling (if the edges of the crust are browning too quickly, tent them with aluminum foil). Cool the pie on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving.