This sweet cherry pie, made with a filling of just fresh or frozen cherries, sugar, butter, and tapioca as well as a flaky crust, is a classic summer dessert. Here’s how to make it.
Spoiler Alert: This cherry pie recipe tends to elicit a lot of resoundingly laudatory comments. As in, A LOT. But our favorite has to be, “This pie tastes simple. Like cherries.” Because that’s exactly what we seek in a cherry pie. Save your almond extract for another recipe. You won’t need it here. This tastes like just cherries. Nothing else.–Beth M. Howard
For the crust
- Pastry dough for double-crust pie
For the cherry pie filling
- 5 to 6 cups pitted cherries (any variety, fresh or thawed frozen)
- 1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons instant tapioca or 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
Make the crust
- Prepare the pie dough and carefully fit it into a 9-inch pie plate.
Make the cherry pie filling
- In a large bowl, toss together the cherries, sugar, tapioca or cornstarch, and salt. (If your cherries are quite sweet, use 1/2 cup sugar; if your cherries are quite tart, use 1 cup sugar; if your cherries are just right, use 3/4 cup sugar, and if in doubt, use 3/4 cup sugar.)
- If using fresh cherries, let the pie filling sit for about 20 minutes. If using thawed frozen cherries, let the cherry pie filling sit for about 60 minutes.
- If your cherries released a lot of juices, dump the pie filling into a saucepan and gently simmer, stirring almost constantly, until the juices have thickened considerably, about 7 minutes.
Assemble the cherry pie
- Dump the cherry filling into the crust-lined pie plate. Sprinkle the butter evenly over the filling.
- Carefully drape the top crust over the top or make a lattice pie crust* (see Leite's Culinaria Note above). Trim and crimp the pastry edges.
- Lightly brush the entire surface of the crust with beaten egg. If not using a lattice crust, poke several vent holes in the top crust. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
- Bake the cherry pie at 425°F (220°C) for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 375°F (190°C) and bake until bubbling, at least another 30 minutes (and perhaps a little longer if you’re using frozen cherries). If the crust appears to be turning dark before the filling is done, loosely cover the pie with foil.
- Let the pie cool slightly before slicing and serving.
*How do I make a lattice top crust?If you like the look of the lattice top on this cherry pie, we've got you covered (get it?) with these helpful instructions. Go ahead and give it a try. That messy, ruby red cherry pie filling looks so pretty poking out from underneath. But we also happen to know that a crumble topping is pretty darn good on this pie, too.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is a lovely, simple cherry pie recipe. I love that it has no frills or fancy ingredients. The filling is just cherries and sugar—not even a vanilla seed in sight, let alone stuff like almond extract, lemon juice, or zest. We took this to a barbecue at a neighbor's house and everyone loved it, as did I. A mildly sweet pie crust worked perfectly with the full-flavored cherry filling.
I used frozen black cherries and followed the instructions to let them sit longer and to bake the pie longer. The frozen cherries weren't tart, so I used 3/4 cup sugar and the end result was perfect. (I got several compliments regarding how not cloyingly sweet the pie tasted.) The frozen cherries worked great in the filling and retained a firm texture that popped and contrasted with the flaky, buttery crust.
I used a 9-inch regular (not deep dish) pie plate. It worked well, even though I got a bit of boil over from the filling. Somehow that made the pie even more attractive, if messy. It's really important to put the pie on a rimmed baking sheet so that it catches any juices. I can almost guarantee that you would make a mess in the oven if you don't.
I've always suffered from a soggy bottom and a loose middle. My pies, that is, not my figure. (Well, on second thought, maybe both.) Until now. This simple pie has changed my cherry pie baking.
I used two 16-ounce bags of frozen cherries. I brought them to room temperature so that I could gauge their sweetness. They were quite lovely as they were, so I only added 1/2 cup sugar along with the cornstarch and salt.
I baked the pie longer than the time specified as I wanted to make sure that the filling was bubbly and the cornstarch was working its thickening magic. Due to the increased time in the oven, the edges of my pie were getting a tad brown, so I took a square of aluminum foil, cut a circle out of the center, and wrapped the frame of foil around the edges of the pie to serve as a pie shield.
Voilà! Cool, cut, and feel victorious. Then head for the gym.
Originally published July 2, 2014