Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sour Cherry Pie #30

Phew. We just BARELY caught the tail end of the sour cherry season here in New York. I saw them at the farmer's market a few days before we went to Seattle, searched for them the whole time we were in Seattle, and kept coming up empty-handed. It wasn't until the end of our trip that someone told us that sour cherries are just a East Coast variety. (Though, never fear non-easterners, there are many orchards throughout the country that grow sour just takes some research. I've heard that many people list their sour cherry crop on craigslist, so that could be a start.)

We were lucky enough to find these babies at ONE stand in the Union Square Farmer's Market after we got home (after a lots of searching, that is).

Finding the cherries was really only one step in this whole process too.

Then there was the saga of finding the cherry pitter (the success of that is due to Ryan).

Carrying the cherry pitter and the cherries all over Manhattan and then back to our apartment (Again, Ryan was on that).

Then pitting them (um...Ryan did that too)

Then putting together the ingredients and cooking them.

Phew. Well, at least it was worth it.

All and all, this was a great cherry pie. I don't have too many cherry pies under my belt (eating or making--no pun intended), but I've had that gloppy canned stuff and after tasting something like this, you shouldn't be allowed to call canned cherry fillings food...especially not pie fillings! 

Does that make me a snob?

Just to warn you, when this recipe says that the cherries produce "juice", THEY GET SOUPY. I mean it's kind of amazing how quickly and how much juice there is. However, the tapioca really gels the liquid right up once it starts cooking, so don't worry about it. I didn't add all the liquid (because I put a huge amount of cherries in our pie and the liquid just couldn't all fit. But if you were to add all the liquid, I don't think it would create a soupy pie in the end.

Anyway, long story short. Of all the cherry pies I've had, this recipe outdoes them all. I was very pleased with the taste and I'm counting down the days until NEXT sour cherry pie season.

Also, you should know, it was our one-year anniversary on Sunday when we made this pie (Yeah!). Since we served this pie at our wedding, we thought it was pretty appropriate to have it a year later. 

One other note, while Ryan was feaverously working to pit our cherries, I was working on another project and we were listening to This American Life. This particular show was about how people want significant dates to be perfect, as if it's symbolic of something.

So, being that my husband had done the majority of the work on this anniversary pie (not to mention that he is always cutting up fruit or taking pictures for this blog), I couldn't help but think how our little sour cherry pie could be a sweet anniversary symbol of the little team we are. And even at the risk of killing the mystic anyone might have about me being the pie guru of the family, you should know, that as much as these pies are FOR my husband, they could hardly be done WITHOUT my husband.

It's either that symbol or the one about me being a lazy wife...

...but I think I like the first one more.

Sour Cherry Pie
(adapted from Bubby's Pie Book)
5 to 6 ablesoons ice cold water
2 cups all-pirpose flour
1/2 teasoon salt
11 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

5 1/2 cups sour cherries
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca flakes
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on the top crust
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
pinch salt

Pit the cherries into a bowl and combine them and the juice the create with the tapioca so that it has a chance to soften.

Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch pie tin with the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust. Re-chill the pastry if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 450F

Add the sugar, butter, zest, extract, to the cherries. Toss briefly and fill the bottom crust with the mixture. Cover it with a lattice top crust or any variation on the top crust design. Trim and crimp; chill the pie for 10 minutes in the freezer. Sprinkle the top lightly with sugar. 

Bake the pie on a lipped baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until the crust looks dry, blistered, and blond. Turn the oven down to 375F , and bake for at least 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden brown and visible juices are thick and bubble slowly through the lattice top crust.

Cool the pie completely before cutting, at least a few hours. Serve it at room temperature, up to 3 days.


  1. Wow! That pie looks amazing! I may need to get to Union Square....ha. I have really never made a pie (besides pumpkin and a very simple apple) before in my life. I went blueberry picking in Long Island this weekend and got a TON of blueberries. I just need "that perfect" recipe. Any ideas? Maybe that could be your next pie..ha

  2. Ugh...I feel a little silly. I just realized that you indeed HAVE done a few pies with blueberries. I guess I could just try your cran/blueberry pie recipe and only put blueberries?

  3. Just wanted to let you know that I made this pie for Thanksgiving dinner today (first pie I've ever made from scratch) and it was FABULOUS, even with canned tart cherries. Yum!