It’s been a weird season for fruit here. The cold spring has put some crops off by a couple of weeks, meaning here it is in mid July and we can still get fresh, sweet cherries in the market. I apologize in advance if cherries are no longer available where you are. I just thought this pie was too good not to share. Most commercial cherry pies, and the cherry pies my grandmother used to make for us growing up, are made with sour cherries, which are bright, bright red, and almost impossible to find fresh. Although we have generous neighbors with cherry trees, we’ve never thought to make a pie with sweet cherries until now. My friend Maria served me a piece of her homemade pie made with sweet cherries, and wow, I couldn’t wait to make one for myself. I think what makes it work is not adding too much sugar (the cherries are already naturally sweet), and including some almond extract. There’s something magical about the flavors combination of cherries and almonds (see our cherry clafouti). By the way, it helps to have a good cherry pitter. Those pits can be rather time consuming to remove.
We've used 1/2 cup of sugar for the filling, which results in a pie not overly sweet. You may want to use more or less sugar, depending on how sweet you would like your pie to be, and how sweet your cherries are.
- Pie dough for top and bottom 9 or 10-inch pie (see pie crust recipe)
- 5 cups sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 Tbsp of butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling
1 Place the pitted cherries, sugar, almond extract, lemon juice and corn starch in a large bowl. Toss until the cherries are well coated with the sugar and other ingredients.
2 On a lightly floured clean surface, roll out the bottom crust. Form it into a 9 or 10-inch pie pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edges so that they extend beyond the edge of the pie pan by 1 inch. Place in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.
3 Roll out the top crust to about the same size as the bottom crust. If you want to make a lattice top (it's pretty and it's easy to do) follow these instructions for making a lattice pie crust. Place the filling in the pie plate. Dot with small dabs of butter. Cover with the top crust. Trim the edges. Crimp to seal the edges together. Score the top crust with cuts so that the steam can escape while the pie is cooking (unnecessary if you are making a lattice crust). Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.
4 Optional egg wash In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water or milk. Use a pastry brush to brush over the top crust. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.
5 Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the pie in the middle rack, with a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any pie drippings. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 350°F and cook for 35 to 45 minutes longer, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is thick and bubbly.
Allow to cool completely before serving.