The Best Cherry Pie Recipe Ever

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The Best Cherry Pie RecipeThere were a lot of yeses for my cherry pie recipe, so here it is!

Cherry pie is my all-time favorite dessert.

Chocolate is up there but doesn’t surpass a good homemade cherry pie in my mind. I used to request cherry pie instead of cake for my birthdays when I was growing up and still make it whenever I get the craving for the sweet-tart fruity goodness. Mmm…

I’ve fiddled with various recipes over the years and have finally settled on a version that is THE BEST CHERRY PIE RECIPE ever. Period. It is adapted from a combination of others—primarily from the recipes in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and The Best Recipe by the Cook’s Illustrated folks.

Updated 3/30/2014: I’ve tweaked the recipe a tad once again to make it even easier and better!

It’s a canned cherry pie recipe, as canned cherries are readily available year round and I don’t have a cherry tree in my backyard (even though I tried!). However, please note that this cherry pie recipe uses cherries canned in water NOT that dreadful canned cherry pie filling.

The Best Cherry Pie Recipe

Click here for the printable version of the Best Cherry Pie Recipe.

The Best Canned Cherry Pie RecipeFirst, make your pie crust

(I’ll forgive you if you want to buy yours premade, but it’s really not hard to make). Note: I used to use butter and Crisco and still think it makes the flakiest crust, but now use Earth Balance instead of Crisco just because it’s so much better for you. I buy it in sticks, like butter, from the natural foods store and keep them in the freezer. You can also make the pie crust with all butter and it turns out just fine.

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 8 tablespoons Earth Balance, or comparable vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 8 tablespoons ice water

Crust Instructions

1. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Cut butter into smaller pieces and add to food processor. Pulse a few times. Cut Earth Balance into smaller pieces and add to food processor. Pulse a few more times, until butter and Earth Balance are the size of peas or smaller. Transfer to a large bowl. (Note: You can do all this with a pastry blender instead if you don’t have a food processor.)

2. Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of ice water over the dough mixture at a time, mixing and pressing with a sturdy rubber spatula until the dough comes together. Divide into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap. (I usually dump the semi-formed dough onto plastic, wrap it up, then knead it with my hands a bit until it forms a ball, then flatten it somewhat into a disk.) Refrigerate until ready to use.

The Best Cherry Pie Made with Canned Tart Cherries

Next, make and assemble the pie:

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 cans tart cherries in water (I buy Oregon Fruit Products Red Tart Cherries which are often with the canned fruit rather than in the baking aisle of the grocery store; you can also order them online)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Filling and Pie Instructions

1. Make the pie filling by mixing the 3 cans of cherries plus the juice from 1 1/2 cans with sugar, cornstarch, salt, and almond extract in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the liquid is thick and bubbly (partially jelled). Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place on a lower rack (to catch any potential drips).

Making a Lattice Crust on Cherry Pie

3. Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll out the bottom pie crust. Arrange in pie pan. Pour your cooled pie filling in the pan.

4. Roll out the top crust. Use a sharp knife to cut the top crust into strips for a lattice crust or use a cookie cutter to make other designs.

Either drape your top crust over the pie, if you used a cookie cutter design, or weave your traditional lattice crust (if you need instructions for weaving the lattice, here’s a YouTube video).

5. Trim the edges of the top and bottom crust to 1/2 – 1 inch beyond the pie pan and then fold under. Either press around the perimeter with the tines of a fork or crimp it with your fingers.

6. If desired (and I always do), brush the crust with a beaten egg white (or cream) and sprinkle sugar on top.

7. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F then lower the oven temperature to 375 F and add a pie crust shield (or a foil tent with the center cut out) to protect the outer edges of the crust from burning. Bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust looks nicely browned and the juices bubble up thickly.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 3 hours or so before eating. This is the hard part but it really helps to have the filling gel properly. Plus it looks and smells so nice sitting on the table!

9. Eat and enjoy… This cherry pie is delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The Last Piece of Cherry Pie

Click here for the printable version of the Best Cherry Pie Recipe.

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Comments

  1. ann says

    Cherry pie wins in our house too. The almond extract is totally the key! I usually do my grandmothers crisco crust but will have to try your combination butter-shortening crust. Thanks.

  2. kate says

    Is that a typo or really 12 TBSP of butter and 8 TBSP of earth balance in one crust? Wowza, I suppose that would be tasty, but wow.

  3. Monique says

    Where do you get canned cherries in water? I have never seen that in New England. Yum, I love cherry pie!!

  4. says

    I’ve found them at both the whole foods stores and at the regular chain grocery stores. THey are generally with the canned fruit rather than in the baking aisle.

  5. says

    Do you think it would work with frozen cherries too? My dad often has a huge bucket of frozen cherries for the jam he makes. Also, due to my allergies (grr) I’d probably have to substitute something for the almond extract. I wonder if I could get away with imitation almond…

  6. says

    Yes, I’m sure it would work for fresh or frozen cherries. I’d probably thaw the cherries first (although I’ve never made a pie with frozen cherries — you might just need to experiment or talk to someone who has). I’d make sure there’s enough juice, but maybe fresh and frozen cherries would have more juice naturally that would cook out of them…
    Cherry pie is still great without almond extract.

  7. says

    instead of almond extract i usually throw in a splash of almond or cherry liquor. it adds that dubious cherry-almond flavor without that perfumy tinge that can come from a little too much xtract.
    your recipe looks great though. i think i will use it this christmas!

  8. Rox says

    i like that u use oregon cherries.. i live in cherry country in oregon.. so i am sure u are using the cherries from my town.. and cherry pie yummmmmy

  9. says

    Not sure, Courtney! Sorry. I’ve never tried it. I know people freeze pies all the time so I imagine this one freezes as well as the next one.

  10. [email protected] says

    What are the measurements for the cherries and the liquid if you don’t use the Oregon 14 oz cans? Thank you, it looks delicious!!!

  11. jennifer says

    i have two questions, as I have just put this pie in the oven. first, i was confused about the amount of canned juice. i had about a cup of liquid after draining two cans and measuring for one and a half of the total amount. then i mixed the filling and it sat for half an hour. i have a 9 1/2 inch pie dish. i had too much filling/liquid so used all the cherries and as much liquid as i could, but i am worried that the extra dissolved sugar and starch included in the waste should have gone into the pie. what did I do wrong? thanks, Jennifer

  12. [email protected] says

    It had way too much liquid with the amount of juice from the cans written in the recipe. I had to drain most of it out as the liquid was overflowing the top of the pie.