Homemade cherry pie with tart cherries, fresh in season or canned, tossed simply with sugar and tapioca and baked in a perfectly flaky crust. Probably my favorite summer fruit pie!
When we lived in Chicago years ago, near Wrigley Field, I would get up early on Saturday mornings and go to the farmers market in Lincoln Park. This really was before farmers markets became plentiful and popular. I knew most of the vendors and often chit-chatted away with them about their produce and flowers.
I absolutely loved those Saturday mornings. And then, my friend and I would talk that weekend about what we found that week at the market. “Did you see the gladiolas? Sweet corn is in. They had cherries today!”
The “Fruit Man” was from Michigan. For a very short window, two weeks, maybe three, he had tart cherries. Gorgeous, unblemished, just picked tart cherries. I’d buy a couple containers and go home and make a cherry pie that day. If my oldest daughter, who was about three years old, saw the cherries on the counter, she would squeal “Cherry pie!!”.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Tart Cherries fresh seasonal tart cherries, available a short time during early summer. They can be hard to find and so I often use canned tart cherries. Key word here is tart, bright red cherries (not the sweet, deep red ones).
- Sugar, tapioca and a little butter to dot the filling use instant Minute Tapioca that comes in a small red box. I use tapioca to thicken all my fruit pies.
- Flour, butter and lard for the crust. I love lard and butter in pie crusts, it guarantees a tender, flaky and crispy crust. If you don’t have or want to use lard, chilled vegetable shortening will work. You could also use all butter. You’ll also need some ice water.
- Egg and milk or water for the egg wash to brush on the crust before baking, optional but makes it so pretty and extra crispy.
HOW TO MAKE TART CHERRY PIE FROM SCRATCH
Step 1: Make your crust, pulse ingredients in the food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add ice water a little at a time until a ball forms and holds together. Divide in two, wrap and chill.
Step 2: Make the filling. Toss cherries in large bowl with sugar and tapioca. Whisk together the egg wash and set aside.
Step 3: Roll out your pie dough, fill with cherry mixture and dot with butter. Place top dough layer on top, seal and crimp. Bake for about an hour until juices are thick and bubbly and crust is golden brown.
RECIPE NOTES AND TIPS
- The dough can be hard to work with sometimes, just add the water a little at a time until it comes together and chill. If it tears when rolling, just patch it, it’ll be fine.
- A nice flavor addition to the cherry pie filling is almond extract, just ¼ teaspoon.
- Lard and butter together makes a beautiful flaky pie crust, but shortening will work instead of lard, be sure to chill it. I’ve also done an all butter crust and that’s delicious, too.
- If using canned cherries, make sure they are labeled red tart cherries (not pie filling or sweet cherries).
So, go ahead and make a cherry pie if you see fresh tart cherries at the market, tis the season for cherries. If not, go ahead and used canned. My daughter still squeals when she sees her momma’s cherry pie on the counter. Happy summer! Kelly
You might also like these summer desserts and pies, too!
Homemade Cherry Pie
- 2½ cups unbleached, all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons sugar, more to sprinkle on finished top
- 1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher salt, even for baking)
- ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter (I actually like salted Kerrygold for this crust), cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ cup chilled lard, ½-inch pieces
- 5 tablespoons, at least, ice water
- 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash
- 4 cups canned tart cherries, drained (2 cans) or fresh tart cherries, washed and pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons tapioca use instant Minute Tapioca
- 1 tablespoon butter, to dot on top
- Make crust. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar and salt to blend. Add cubed butter and lard and pulse on/off until mixture resembles coarse meal. You should still see pieces of butter and lard. Transfer mixture to bowl and add 5 tablespoons of ice water. Mix with a fork until dough starts to clump together. If too dry, add more ice water by teaspoonfuls until you can gather dough into ball. Divide in half and flatten each half into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for AT LEAST 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425º. About 15 minutes or so before dough is ready to roll, make filling. In bowl, combine drained cherries, 1 cup sugar and tapioca. Set aside and let sit for 15 minutes.
- In small dish, whisk together egg and milk, set aside.
- Remove 1 disc of dough. Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Roll dough from center out, turning frequently and adding more flour if sticking. Transfer dough to glass pie dish and gently press into place. Trim excess dough but leave some overhang. Patch any holes or tears with dough scraps. Return to refrigerator while you roll the 2nd disc for the top.
- As with the bottom, roll the top disc into a large round to top the pie. Remove bottom crust in the plate from refrigerator. Fill with cherry mixture and then dot with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Carefully place top crust over filling. If you can, try rolling the dough around the pin and then unroll it over the filling. Trim excess dough and roll under edges and crimp, with a fork or flute with thumb and index finger. Brush top and edges with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Using a small knife, cut 4 or 5 slits in top crust to vent.
- Place pie on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 375º and continue baking until crust is browned and juices are bubbling, about 30-35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.