Cherry Crumb Pie is a crazy-delicious, seasonal treat. Did you know that cherries and almonds are natural flavor partners? Chunky brown sugar-almond topping and tangy cherries are a match made in heaven.
If you have access to fresh sour cherries, drop everything and make this pie! If you don’t have access to fresh cherries, go ahead and use frozen or jarred cherries. You can even use sweet cherries in this pie.
I may have mentioned 1 or 1010223039 times that I have a sour cherry tree in my back yard. I swear I planted that tree specifically so I could make sour cherry pie. I love cherry pie that much.
Beyond the classic Sour Cherry Pie, I’ve also created recipes for Sour Cherry Almond Hand Pies, Sour Cherry Cobbler, Rustic Sour Cherry Cake and Sour Cherry Preserves and New York Cheesecake with, you guessed it, Sour Cherry Topping.
- Cherries – Fresh sour cherries would always be my first choice for this pie. But they can be hard to come buy if they don’t grow in your area. You can look for frozen, canned or jarred sour cherries in a well stocked grocery store and, of course, you can buy them on-line. Otherwise, you can use sweet cherries in the filling. If you use sweet cherries reduce the sugar to 8 oz (1 cup) and add the juice of 1 lemon to the filling.
- Sugar – Obviously sour cherries are quite tart. They need sugar to balance the flavor in the filling. Reduce the amount of sugar if you use sweet cherries.
- 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.
- Brown Sugar/Granulated Sugar – Using a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar creates a crumble topping that is soft yet crisp. Molasses in the brown sugar has a lovely flavor and softens the crumb. Granulated sugar is drier and helps the crumble stay crisp. You can make the crumble topping with all brown sugar or all granulated sugar. The flavor and texture will be different, but it will work.
- Almond Flour/Almond Extract – The pit of a cherry has an almond flavor so cherries and almonds are natural flavor partners.
- Butter – Use cool butter for best crumble texture.
How to make a Cherry Crumb Pie:
- Macerate the cherries in sugar for 30 minutes to draw out the juice.
- Whisk the cherry juice with cornstarch
- Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling cherry juice. Whisk until thickened.
- Toss the thickened cherry juice with the pitted cherries.
- The crumb topping will look like wet sand. It should clump together easily.
- Break the clumps of topping over the cherry filling.
- Bake the pie in a 350°F oven until the juice are bubbling.
Pastry Chef Tips for making Cherry Crumb Pie:
- Macerate the cherries then precook the juice with the starch before the pie goes into the oven. Because the juice is already thickened by the starch, your pie filling won’t be runny. Visit the Peach Crumb Pie post to learn about the science behind macerating the fruit.
- Even though you only need one crust, make a full recipe of Perfect Pie Dough and freeze the other half to use another day.
- This recipe makes a generous layer of crumb topping. You can make half or 3/4 of the topping if you prefer a thinner layer of crumbs.
- Place a sheet of aluminum foil under the pie to catch any juice that boils over.
Storage and Serving
- Cherry Crumb 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.
- The Pie will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. Left over slices can be frozen.
- Serve Cherry Crumb Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream, Buttermilk Ice Cream, Creme Fraiche Ice Cream or Malted Milk Ice Cream.
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Cherry Almond Crumb Pie Recipe
- 7 ½ oz all purpose flour (1 ½ cups)
- 2 oz almond flour (½ cup)
- 8 oz brown sugar (1 cup)
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon real almond extract (adjust to taste)
- 6 oz unsalted butter (softened to room temp)
- Roll the pie dough to line a 9" deep dish pie pan. Refrigerate the shell while the filling is prepared.
- Toss 3 lbs sour cherries (pitted) with 12 oz granulated sugar and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Transfer the cherries to a large bowl and set aside.
- Whisk a ½ cup of the cherry juice with 2 oz corn starch until smooth.
- Place the remaining juice and ¼ teaspoon table salt in a small saucepan. Bring the juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling juice in a steady stream. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil and thickens to a pudding-like texture.
- Remove the thickened juice from the heat and immediately pour it over the pitted cherries. Toss to combine. Pour the cherries into the prepared pie crust. Use a scissors to trim the dough, leaving about 1/2" of dough beyond the edge of the pan. Fold the dough over and pinch the crust to form a fluted edge.
Assemble and Bake the Pie
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Combine the 7 ½ oz all purpose flour, 2 oz almond flour, 8 oz brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon table salt, and ½ teaspoon real almond extract in a mixer bowl. Mix on low speed to combine.
- With the mixer running, add 6 oz unsalted butter, a tablespoon at a time. Mix on low speed until it looks like wet sand.
- Grab a handful of the topping and squeeze it together to form a large clump. Break the large clump into smaller clumps over the cherry filling. Continue sprinkling the clumps of crumb topping to cover the filling. (see note)
- Bake about 1 hour until the juices in the middle of the pie are bubbling. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature. The pie will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days.
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