The holidays are fast approaching and cherry pie is a great way to bring a bit of the fun of summer into the desert table. This traditional cherry pie is great for serving fresh in cherry season or serving hot on a cool fall day.
The Art of Pie Crust
Every great pie begins with a stellar crust, and our recipe is no exception. The combination of cold butter, flour, and just a touch of sweetness creates a crust that’s both tender and crisp. Don’t forget the importance of patience and refrigeration – allowing the dough to rest ensures a pie crust that’s easy to handle and bakes up beautifully.
A Symphony of Flavors: The Cherry Filling
The star of our show is, of course, the cherry filling. Fresh or frozen cherries, tossed with sugar, a hint of almond extract, and a squeeze of lemon juice – these simple ingredients come together to create a symphony of sweet and tart flavors. The cornstarch thickens the filling just enough to make each slice perfectly sliceable.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS TRADITIONAL CHERRY PIE
For the Pie Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
For the Cherry Filling:
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten
How to make a traditional cherry pie
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
Add the cold butter cubes and use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Gradually add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
Divide the dough into two equal portions, shape them into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
In a large bowl, combine the pitted cherries, sugar, cornstarch, almond extract (if using), lemon juice, and salt.
Toss until the cherries are evenly coated. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes to allow the juices to release.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the chilled pie crust disks to fit a 9-inch pie dish.
Place the rolled-out crust into the pie dish, leaving any excess hanging over the edges.
Pour the cherry filling into the prepared pie crust.
Roll out the second pie crust disk and place it over the cherry filling.
Trim any excess crust hanging over the edges.
Press the edges of the top and bottom crusts together to seal. You can crimp the edges using a fork or your fingers for a decorative finish.
Use a sharp knife to make a few small slits or decorative vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.
Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. This will give the pie a beautiful golden brown finish.
Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
Allow the cherry pie to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.
Tips for Success
While our recipe is straightforward, a few tips can make the process even more enjoyable:
Fresh vs. Frozen Cherries: Both work beautifully, so use what you have available.
Crimping the Edges: Take a moment to crimp the edges of the crust. It’s a small detail that adds a touch of artistry to your creation.
Ventilation: Those decorative slits in the crust aren’t just for looks – they allow steam to escape, preventing a soggy bottom crust.
What to serve with fresh cherry pie
Vanilla Ice Cream:
The classic pairing! The warm cherry pie contrasts beautifully with the cold, creamy vanilla ice cream. The combination of flavors and temperatures is irresistible.
A dollop of freshly whipped cream adds a light and airy texture to each bite of cherry pie. You can sweeten the whipped cream with a bit of sugar and a splash of vanilla for extra flavor.
Custard or Crème Anglaise:
A rich and velvety custard sauce, such as crème anglaise, complements the sweetness of the cherry pie. Drizzle it over the pie or serve it on the side.
Cinnamon or Vanilla Sauce:
Create a simple cinnamon or vanilla-flavored sauce to drizzle over the cherry pie. This enhances the overall dessert experience with warm and comforting notes.
Yogurt or Sour Cream:
For a tangy contrast, serve cherry pie with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream. The slight acidity of these options can balance the sweetness of the pie.
In some regions, cherry pie is served with a mild, soft cheese like cream cheese or mascarpone. The creamy texture and subtle flavor of the cheese complement the pie without overpowering it.
Almond or Pistachio Ice Cream:
Experiment with unique ice cream flavors. Almond or pistachio ice cream can add a nutty dimension that pairs well with the cherry filling.
Serve the cherry pie alongside a selection of fresh berries, such as strawberries or raspberries. The combination of different berries can create a colorful and refreshing contrast.
Coffee or Tea:
A hot cup of coffee or tea, whether black or with a touch of cream, can provide a comforting and slightly bitter counterpoint to the sweetness of the cherry pie.
Sparkling Water or Champagne:
For a refreshing and effervescent option, serve cherry pie with sparkling water or champagne. The bubbles can cleanse the palate between bites.
In a world that moves quickly, taking the time to bake a classic cherry pie is a return to tradition, a celebration of simple pleasures, and a connection to the past. Share this recipe with loved ones, and create your own cherished moments around the table. Because in the end, a slice of homemade cherry pie is not just dessert – it’s a slice of tradition and a taste of love.