Twice Baked Sour Cherry Pie

IMG_7711 For me sour cherry season is the highlight of the summer. This year they were selling for $10 a quart, it take 2 quarts to make a pie and well who only wants one cherry pie?

Their season is incredibly short.  3 maybe 4 weeks?

Last Friday I was at the Union Square green market and had picked out 2 quarts, a quart of Apricots and a pint of sweet Bing cherries.  While I was waiting to pay I noticed a large stack of flats of sour cherries behind the check out table.  My total choice of fruit was $38.  Before I paid I asked what a flat of sour cherries would go for.

“I’ll give you the wholesale price: $40 for the flat”


I returned the pint of sweet cherries and the 2 quarts of sour cherries I had picked out and  bought the flat and the apricots.  IMG_7695The above picture is the flat on my lap on the bus home.

A brazen little girl approached me and asked me if she could have a cherry.

“Sure, but these are not sweet cherries these are sour cherries that you cook with” I said as I handed her a prize cherry.

The minute she heard the word sour she dropped the cherry back into the flat and ran back to her mother, much to the amusement of the other people on the bus.IMG_7716Before I could make any wonderful cherry filled treat with my jackpot of cherries I had to pit them (ugh).  My friend Debby was a trooper and came over and helped me with 2 quarts.

The first mistake is only having one cherry pitter.

Stem, rinse, pit repeat. I spread it out over 3 days.

Even with a cherry pitter there is a bit of an art to making sure every cherry is pitted.  Sometimes pits can be tricky.

The first two quarts I pitted immediately became a pie. Melissa Clark’s: Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie to be exact.   She’s taken your basic pie recipe and made it with a butter rich pastry which she first blind bakes as you would a pâte brisée for a tart.  The end result is you don’t have soggy pie bottom.  And lets face it: who is a fan of soggy pie bottom?

The other thing I love about this recipe is the filling isn’t the overly sweet gloopy mess you get when you buy pie filling in a can or jar.   Of course if you want you could easily increase the sugar in this by up to a 1/3 of a cup.  But for my taste this is just perfect.  And don’t forget when you serve a slice the scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of Chantilly cream will also add sweetness.

Melissa Clark’s Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie

In the bowl of a food processor add: 1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour, a scant 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and pulse to combine.   Then add: 15 tablespoons of unsalted cold butter cut into chunks, pulse a few time until the butter is starting to incorporate with the flour mixture, but there are still visible chunks.

1 tablespoon at a time add ice-cold water, after each addition pulse.  It should take around 3-6 Tablespoons. Once the dough has come together remove from the food processor and divide into two pieces, 2/3 and 1/3.  Flatten into discs, wrap in parchment or recycled plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 F

On a lightly floured surface roll out the large piece of dough into a 12″ circle and 1/2″ thick (give or take).  Transfer it into a 9″ pie dish.  Line the dish with foil or parchment and fill with pie weights or beans.IMG_7698And bake for 30 minutes, the crust should be nicely golden.IMG_7703While it is baking make the filling.

In a large bowl add: a generous 6 cups of rinsed, pitted, sour cherries. Fold in 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 – 1 1/4 cups of sugar, 3 Tablespoons of instant tapioca (or organic corn starch really if need be you could use flour as well) and 1 Tablespoon of Kirsch (or Brandy).  Ms Clark processes her dry ingredients in a food processor to get consistent fine texture.  My experience with instant tapioca is that it isn’t necessary, up to you. If you use corn starch you certainly don’t need to.

Remove the cooked crust to a wire rack and turn the oven to 375 F. When the pie has cooled enough remove the weights and add the filling.IMG_7704
On a lightly floured surface roll out the smaller part of the rough and cut out rounds for the top.  Use different sizes and feel free to be as creative as you want.  I went with three sizes in a very simple pattern.IMG_7708Brush your creative masterpiece with heavy cream (about 3 Tablespoons) and sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar.  I had none so used organic cane sugar.

Bake until the top is nicely browned and the filling is thick and bubbling, about 50 minutes to an hour.IMG_7709Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 2 hours to allow the filling to set.  Serve at room temperature with sweetened whip cream or vanilla ice cream.IMG_7717The rest of the cherries got frozen. First on a sheet tray to prevent them from clouding together, then into freezer bags. In total after the pie I had about 4 1/4 pounds. IMG_7724Some of the things I plan to make with these over the coming months are Sour Cherry Almond Tart, Sour Cherry Pineapple upside-down Cake, Sour Cherry Chocolate Cake and of course crumble!

I saw sour cherries at the market today so if you hurry it’s not too late!

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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3 Responses to Twice Baked Sour Cherry Pie

  1. Mark,
    Great photos with this recipe! This looks too good not to try. Now I must find some cherries in Connecticut!

  2. Pingback: Sour Cherry Chocolate Crumble | Urbanfoodguy

  3. Pingback: Noyau Ice Cream | Urbanfoodguy

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