Why eat cherry pie in February? Our expectations weren't high — seasonality and all that — but Sweet Lady Jane has been doing this classic bakery thing since 1988. And frozen cherries mean it's more than possible to bake a summer fruit pie in February without importing fruit from faraway lands (see also, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle).

Up close and personal: Sweet Lady Jane's Cherry Pie; Credit: D. Galarza

Up close and personal: Sweet Lady Jane's Cherry Pie; Credit: D. Galarza

This cherry pie starts with a classic crust and a 4-inch deep dish pie pan, 12 inches across. It's a whole lot of pie. And with it, a lot of potential for failure. A brittle, too-flaky crust wouldn't contain the filling. An overly juicy filling without enough starch to bind it and the crust would sag. But no one wants a dense, tough crust or a dry, too sweet pie either.

Lucky for us, Sweet Lady Jane created a pie for all seasons. This crust hints at sugar cookies and holds a filling that remains tart and somewhat jammy, despite its volume. Sweet Lady Jane uses sour cherries from Northern California for this monster of a pie. The thing can be a challenge to cut, but its taste more than makes up for the mess. It's mostly sweet, like a fresh Bing cherry, but has a hiccup of lemon juice to bring out the cherries' natural acidity. The sparkly sugared crust is appetizing. Golden brown, it sets off a crimson fruit that beckons.

February or not, this is a pie to eat now. The price is a bit shocking, but it's a steal compared to buying the entire mass of pie at $52 (which includes a monogrammed and reusable pie tin). Plus, how do you put a price on perfection? This weekend, when it will be 75 and sunny again, you might hit up Sweet Lady Jane for a taste of summer, several months early.

Eat This Now: Cherry Pie from Sweet Lady Jane ($7 a slice)

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