Sour cherries aren’t really in season this time of year, but they can often be found jarred. They lose their characteristic bright red coloring when they are jarred (I believe the bright red “cherry pie filling” that you can find cans of has added coloring to make them look as they do when they are freshly picked). Instead, these have a darker purple coloring, which I associate with the fall and winter. These cherries are preserved in a very light sugar syrup, so they retain their natural tartness without taking on too much extra sweetness.
The tartness of the sour cherries and the lack of a top crust keeps this pie very light tasting, compared with some of the other pies I’ve posted so far. With the depth of flavor this pie packs, you’d be surprised that it is so easy to make. It’s a bit more complicated to make with fresh unpitted cherries, but we’d have to save that excursion for summer anyway.
I was worried about this pie filling having too much spread when cut, so I used some tapioca-based gelatin to make it a bit firmer. I don’t think it was entirely necessary, but it is an option if you want the filling to hold up more on its own.
Sour Cherry Pie
Adapted from America Cooks
- 1 pastry dough
- 1 24oz jar of pitted sour cherries
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 packet of unflavored gelatin, optional, whatever kind you prefer
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press a pastry dough into a greased pie plate, leaving at least an inch overlap. Crimp edges if you desire. Use a fork to poke holes evenly around the dough to stop it from getting any large air bubbles. Bake the empty pie shell for 15 minutes.
- Strain cherry liquid into a saucepan. Set the cherries aside for the time being.
- If using gelatin, follow the instructions for your particular kind of gelatin, and dissolve it into the cool liquid.
- In the saucepan, whisk cornstarch and sugar into the room temperature liquid. Once the combination is smooth, turn the heat on low and cool, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and clear. Add the cherries. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
- Fill pie shell with cherry mixture. Allow to cool for about half an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator several hours before serving. If using gelatin, allow to set for the time recommended on the package. Serve chilled.
About this author: I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...