Cherry Pie with Fresh Tart Cherries

A pie is calling your name (and mine)! Glistening crimson sour cherries are beginning to appear in farmers markets. The season is short and you would not be remiss to pick up a few pints..

“Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy boy, Billy boy . . . ?”

You won't be able to resist the fresh tart cherries, glistening like the crown jewels, in this week’s farmers’ market. Plump, dead ripe, sour cherries, the beginning of a succulent cherry pie.  Not frozen, not jarred, not canned nor, in my opinion, not sweet cherries, but tart. If you ever wondered how cherry pie achieved its status in American food lore, this will clarify it all.


1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ t salt
1 T sugar
6 T unsalted cold butter cut into 1 T slices
2 T Crisco
3 to 4 T ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor until mixed.  Scatter butter  over flour mixture and pulse briefly. You should still see tiny bits of butter.  Pour 3 T ice water around bowl of processor. Pulse until dough holds together between thumb and fingers.  Add another tablespoon, if necessary, but don’t let ball form.  Place dough on work surface, pat together and press outward with heel of hand to incorporate butter into flour.   Form into a 6-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.  Repeat this process for a second disk.


3 pints fresh tart cherries
1 cup blueberries (adds a deeper color)
1 cup + 1 T sugar
4 T instant tapioca
¼ t salt
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/8 t almond extract
½ t pure vanilla extract
1 T cold butter
1 T milk and 1 T raw sugar to finish top crust

Pit cherries. Place in a 5-quart Dutch oven along with blueberries, sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, almond extract and vanilla extract.  Heat and stir on stovetop until sugar and tapioca are dissolved.  Cool. 

Roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie pan.  Trim to a 1-inch overhang.  Roll out second disk and cut into ten ¾-inch strips. Spoon filling into pie tin.  Arrange bits of butter on top.  Brush rim of pie dough with milk.  Place five strips of dough across pie at roughly ¾-inch intervals.  Place the other five across pie at an angle revealing diamond-shaped openings.  Press lightly at rim to adhere strips to rim.  Pinch off overhang of strips.  Then fold overhang of bottom crust over strips and flute edge. Brush strips and fluted edge with milk and then sprinkle raw sugar on dough. 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on bottom shelf of oven to catch any drips.  Then bake pie in lower third of oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn oven down to 325 and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juices bubble.  Cool thoroughly.  Serve with, what else, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Photos by sweetpaprika

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