Sour Cherry Pie just might be the greatest of all fruit pies! I love the sweet/tart filling in contrast to the flaky pastry. It’s summer dessert perfection.
I love all pies, especially fruit pies. I waited more than 10 years for this pie. Seriously, I planted my sour cherry tree over a decade ago with visions of making cherry pies for my kids.
I keep the ingredients for the cherry pie filling simple because I don’t think the fruit needs any embellishment.
No need to add add lemon juice or zest as I do for many fruit desserts because the cherries are plenty tart naturally.
Some recipes add almond extract to cherry pie filling, but there is a natural hint of almond flavor in the cherry so I don’t think it’s needed.
Sour Cherry Pie Ingredient Notes
- Sour Cherries – Fresh cherries would always be my first choice, but they can be hard to come buy if they don’t grow in your area. You can look for frozen, canned or jarred cherries in a well stocked grocery store and, of course, you can buy them on-line.
- Sugar – Obviously sour cherries are quite tart. They need sugar to balance the flavor in the filling.
- Corn Starch – Sour cherries give off a lot of juice and the starch is needed to thicken that juice and bind the cherries together into a filling. The juice must come to a full boil to activate the starch. Precooking the starch helps avoid the problem of runny pie filling.
How to make Sour Cherry Pie
See the recipe card for exact ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
- Heat up the cherry juice in small saucepan.
- Add the cornstarch slurry and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cook until the juice thickens to a pudding consistency.
- Toss the thickened juice with the prepared cherries then pour the filling into the shell.
- Pour the cherry filling into the dough lined pie plate.
- For a plain top crust unroll the round of dough over the filling, crimp the edges and cut a vent hole in the top.
- For a lattice crust, cut the top crust into strips and weave them on top of the pie.
- Trim the sides and crimp the edges of the pie.
- Brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juice in the center of the pie is bubbling.
Storage and Serving
- Sour Cherry Pie needs to rest at least 2-3 hours after baking. If you cut the pie without giving it time to cool the filling will be too runny.
- Sour Cherry Pie will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. Left over slices can be frozen.
- Serve Sour Cherry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream, Buttermilk Ice Cream, Creme Fraiche Ice Cream or Malted Milk Ice Cream.
Sour cherry pie is made with tart cherries. Sour cherries are bright red, soft, juicy and, of course, more sour than sweet cherries. Sweet cherries are usually a dark red color, have a more meaty texture and, of course, are sweeter than sour cherries.
Montmorency are the most widely available fresh sour cherries in the US.
You can use any style of cherry pitter. Sour cherries are so soft that it’s very easy to pop the pit out by squeezing on the cherry.
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Sour Cherry Pie Recipe
- 1 recipe Perfect Pie Crust (divided in half and chilled)
- 3 pounds fresh sour cherries (pitted (or canned or frozen cherries))
- 16 oz granulated sugar (2 cups)
- 1 ¼ oz corn starch (5 tablespoons)
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- Roll one piece of the pie dough to line a 9" pie pan. Sprinkle the dough in the pan with a little flour.
- Roll the other 1/2 of the dough to a 12" round. Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour. Fold the dough in 1/2, sprinkle with flour and fold in 1/2 again. Place the folded dough into the pie pan. Wrap the pie pan in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while the filling is prepared.
For the Filling:
- Toss 3 pounds fresh sour cherries (pitted) with 16 oz granulated sugar and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- After 30 minutes drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Remove 1/2 cup of the juice and combine with 1 ¼ oz corn starch. Stir until smooth.
- Place the rest of the juice into a small saucepan and bring to a full boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil and thickens.
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the pitted cherries and toss to combine. Pour the cherries into the prepared pie crust. Brush the edge of the dough with egg wash.
- Unfold the dough for the top of the pie. For a plain crust lay the sheet of dough over the filling. To make a lattice crust cut the dough into 1/2" to 1" strips. Lay half the strips over the pie, the weave the other strips to form the lattice.
- Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. Place the pie on a sheet pan lined with parchment or foil to catch any overflowing juices. If you made a plain top cut an X in the center of the pie for the steam to release.
- Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 1 hour until the juices in the middle of the pie are actively bubbling. Let the pie cool at least 2-3 hours before slicing. The filling needs time to set.
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