I love cherry pie. It’s my favorite fruit pie flavor. I occasionally get a yen for a blueberry or blackberry pie, and am occasionally seduced to a slice of peach or apple as long as it comes with ice cream. But cherry pie remains my favorite.
Tart cherry pie, that is. I like Bings and Rainiers, but not cooked in pastry crust. For a real-deal cherry pie, it’s Montmorency cherries all the way.
Every year or two, I get a bucket or two of cherries from Northwest Tart Cherry in Mesa. This is a commercial orchard that only sells to individuals one day a year, on the farm, pick-up at unearthly hours of the morning. It’s the only non-organic crop I can. However, since the cherries come pre-picked, washed, stemmed and pitted, it is oh, so worth it to me. Eventually, we hope to have a couple of Montmorency trees here at our new homestead, but ‘til then, I’m getting my cherries at Northwest if I can. One bucket usually equals about 12 quarts of cherries.
I can them in quarts, in their own juice, with nothing added.
To make cherry pie filling, I pour off the juice into a small saucepan and whisk in 2 T. cornstarch and ½ c. sugar. The cornstarch must be added before the stove is turned on; it won’t mix into hot liquid well.
While that comes up to a boil, I get the pie crust ready. That post is here.
When the filling has come to a boil, it will become translucent.
Stir in the cherries, and it’s ready to go.
Pour into pie shell, and add top crust. I generally do a lattice-top with cherries, because they steam quite a bit while cooking. A solid top crust doesn’t seem to let off enough of the steam, so I do a lattice.
I bake my pies with a pie shield to keep the edges from burning. I also sprinkle the pie crust scraps with cinnamon and sugar, and bake them for ten minutes for an additional treat.
350° for about 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden. (The top can be sprinkled with sugar to make it brown more evenly.)
Cherry pie for dessert! It’s a beautiful thing.
Enough pie crust for a bottom and top crust. See recipe here.
1 quart tart cherries
2 T. cornstarch
1/3 – 2/3 c. sugar (to taste)
1/4 t. almond extract, optional
Drain cherry juice into saucepan. Whisk in cornstarch and sugar.
Bring to a boil, and stir till it thickens and becomes translucent. Turn off stove.
Add extract, if using. Mix in cherries.
Pour into bottom crust. Make lattice crust with top crust, or make multiple holes for venting. Protect edges of pie with pie shield or aluminum foil.
Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden.
You can serve it hot, but if you let it cool for a few hours then it will be a bit more set up and less runny.