When you live in a cold climate like I do, any fruit we can grow seems extra special. My mother-in-law has two cherry trees on her acreage, and every year I look forward to harvesting those trees. Sour cherries have come a long way since the Nanking cherries of my youth. I love the newer U of S varieties. (Side note: did you know there’s 28 hardy fruits you can grow in zone 3?)
The bush with smaller cherries was ready a week earlier, so I made three and a half jars of jam with those. This year I ran my cherries through the mini blender, and I am much happier with how the jam turned out. This week the big cherries were ready, so that means it’s time for the annual pie!
Don’t be intimidated with the fancy crust. In this version, I use store bought pie crust and butter pastry to save time. If I wasn’t making this pie to be photographed, I would make my own pie crust.
Related: Sour Cherry Tarts
Homemade Pie Crust Recipe
Next up, the pie crust! My approximate recipe is 2/3 cup lard or butter to 2 cups flour and a little bit of cold water. Try not to over-mix your dough, as it gets tougher the more you work with it. If you want to make a lattice or fancy designs, I urge you to use boughten butter pastry dough, as I find that homemade dough is too difficult to work with when you’re making intricate designs.
Roll it out and add your cherries. In this photo I didn’t use my pie filling that I had pre done. If you’re going the same route, add sugar and flour to your cherries. (Sugar to taste, about 2 heaping tablespoons of flour for thickening. You could use cornstarch if you prefer.)
Seal up the edges with a fork when you’re done, and brush with milk and a sprinkling of sugar for browning. Bake at 350 for around 80-90 minutes and you’re done!
- 6 cups pitted sour cherries
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 heaping tbsp flour
- 2/3cup lard or butter
- 2 cups flour
- 3-6 tbsp cold water
- Pit sour cherries if you haven't done so already. The additional time in the recipe is how long you should allow yourself to pit the cherries.
- Combine cherries, sugar, and flour in a bowl.
- Combine pie ingredients in a large bowl. I personally prefer to mix with my hands, as I get a more well mixed and workable pie crust. Add more water if too dry, or more flour if too wet.
- Divide the dough into two balls.
- Roll out one pie dough ball and set into a 9 inch pie plate. Trim the edges with a knife.
- Pour cherry mixture into pie shell. If your plate is not very deep, you may only use 4 cups of the cherry mixture.
- Roll out the other pie dough ball and use to cover the pie. If you are not making a lattice crust, poke holes in the crust with a fork.
- Seal the dough by pressing a fork around the edges. Trim any excess with a knife.
- Bake for 375 degrees for approximately 60 minutes. The time will vary depending on your oven. The pie crust should be a golden brown when finished.
- Let cool slightly and top with whipped cream or ice cream.
This recipe used two cups of sugar, but you can easily change the amount to suit your own tastes. I would use 1 cup if you like sour foods, 2 cups for most people, and 3 cups if you're making these for kids or don't enjoy sour foods as much. I personally do 2 cups if I'm planning on serving them with whipped cream or ice cream, and 3 if I think I'll be eating them plain.
In this picture I used pre-made pie crust because I was making my pie fancy for the picture. If you want to make a fancy pie crust like this, you'll get better results if you use pre-made dough instead of the pie-crust recipe.
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Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.