I have had people tell me this looks hard to make, but trust me, it is not. There is just one little trick: roll the dough out into a rectangle and then move it to your baking sheet BEFORE you try to make the ladder. You can't move the ladder (and keep it's shape) after it is filled. This dough is the real secret to this recipe.
Preheat oven to 350°
1 cup butter softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
Mix ingredients with an electric mixer (the dough will be a little sticky before it is chilled). Divide dough in half (this recipe makes TWO ladders). Put each ball of dough in some plastic wrap and rough it into a large disk shape…cover well and refrigerate 1 hour (extremely important).
After an hour, remove from fridge and flour your counter top and rolling pin. Roll one of the disks into a rectangle about 15” x 10”. Pick up the crust rectangle (it will not break) and lay it on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Now I could describe, at length how to do this next step, but a picture will describe it much quicker:
Find the center of your crust rectangle, and spread your fruit filling in a 3” wide strip, long-wise, right down the center of the rectangle (keep the fruit about an inch away from each end of the ladder). Each ladder will take ½ can of commercial fruit filling.
Cut the dough, on both sides of the fruit, into equal strips, but be sure you stay about an inch away from the fruit filling. Pull the strips back over the fruit (one at a time) in a criss-cross fashion (the strips just lay on top of each other, don't crimp). The only part that is crimped is the very first strip (on each end of the ladder), it should be pinched together.
Bake the fruit ladder for 30-40 minutes (in a preheated 350 degree oven) or until lightly golden. Run a spatula under the ladder to make sure it is loose, and then slide it off onto a serving plate. Drizzle it with a simple powdered sugar glaze and decorate with nuts (I like candied nuts), sprinkles, or any decoration you like.
I have tried lots of different fruits, cherry, lemon, raspberry, blueberry, apple strawberry, blackberry, etc. Commercial pie filling works as well as home made.