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This easy homemade cherry pie recipe is made with fresh, sweet cherries bubbling in a thick rich filling with a hint of creamy almond flavor inside a flaky buttery crust. This delicious summer all-American pie will be a hit at your next 4th of July celebration.
I made a homemade cherry pie for our grandson Seth when he came to visit a couple of weeks ago. He prefers his cherry pie with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. It’s funny because David didn’t like cherry pie until I made one from scratch.
I used to tell David how much I love cherry pie, and every time I would mention it he’d always turn up his nose. For some reason, Mr. Pie Lover didn’t care for cherry pie, but yet he could rattle off a list of pies he loved, but NOT cherry.
I deprived myself of homemade cherry pie for 13 years too long. Enough was enough I bought fresh cherries to make cherry pie and I was going to eat it whether he helped me or not. After all, it was the 4th of July and it was the American thing to do.
After one bite, not only did David help me eat the homemade cherry pie, he also ate his words. To be fair, he said he had never had a cherry pie made from scratch. He had only had pie with some kind of canned pie filling from the store which was never good to him.
If you LOVE cherry pie, try this homemade cherry pie. If you DON’T like cherry pie, MAKE THIS PIE. I promise you will be a cherry pie fan after one taste!
Let’s make a cherry pie!
What Kind of Cherries Do I Use To Make Homemade Cherry Pie?
There are 5 different types of cherries: Bing, Rainier, Queen Anne, Montmorency, and Morello. You can most certainly use your favorite variety of cherry for making cherry pie. However, Bing and Rainier are the most common.
I always use Bing cherries when I make a cherry pie. A combination of the two maybe even better, but I haven’t tried that yet. Bing cherries are just so damn good!
How to Pit Cherries
I’ll be honest, pitting cherries sucks without a good cherry pitter. It takes quite a while to pit cherries using a single cherry pitter. If you love cherries and eating them fresh, I highly recommend getting a good cherry pitter.
The cherry pitter I have will pit 6 cherries at one time, which means you get six times the amount of pitted cherries which is a great time saver! You can find it HERE.
NOTE: The pits sometimes stay connected to the cherry and don’t always drop out into the catch tray at the bottom of the pitter, so double-check your pitted cherries when adding them to the bowl.
How to Pit Cherries Without a Cherry Pitter
If you don’t have a cherry pitter of any kind, you can choose one of these three options to pit cherries:
- Cut the pit out of the cherry with a knife. This is the most obvious way to get them out. However, the cherries will not be whole like they are in most cherry pie filling. I prefer the cherries in a cherry pie to be whole, so you get a wonderful bold cherry bite in each bite.
- Use a pastry bag tip for a piping bag. I have used this method before. I read about this method online. The instructions said to use a “star” tip, but I found the “V” shape tip for making leaves creates a slot for the cherry pit to go down into. This makes it easier to push the pit out of the cherry. Using the pastry tip is a little shaky at first, but once you get the hang of the technique the pits begin to pile up, just be careful with the sharp tip.
- Use a chopstick. Supposedly you can poke the larger end of a chopstick into the stem end of the cherry and push the pit out the other side. I had no luck with this technique whatsoever. Perhaps you can figure it out.
Steps for Pitting Cherries Without a Cherry Pitter
- Step 1: Place the cherries in a sieve or colander and rinse with cold running water.
- Step 2: Remove the stem.
- Step 3: Place the cherry, stem side down, on top of the pastry tip. Using even pressure, press gently down onto the pastry tip. The pit will push out through the top of the cherry.
Cherry juice will stain your fingers and your clothes. Do not wear anything that you care about people seeing in public when pitting cherries without a cherry pitter.
Wear rubber gloves to keep your fingers from being stained OR do what I did and keep rinsing them off after every 3 to 5 cherries. Allowing the juice to stay in place for too long makes the stain harder to remove.
Cherry Pie Filling – The Secret Ingredient
Besides the cherries, the filling is made of a few other simple ingredients, such as sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice. What makes this cherry pie extra special is the secret ingredient, almond extract.
Almond extract is delicious! It provides a bold sweet creamy and nutty flavor to the cherries and most stone fruit for that matter. Let me caution you, a ¼ teaspoon may seem like very little, but it is enough to flavor 6 cups of fresh cherries.
The Pie Crust
You will need (2) 8 to 10-inch pie crusts to make this pie. You have two options when it comes to the crust for this pie, it just depends on how involved you want to get.
Option #1: Make the pie crust from scratch. If you want to make homemade cherry pie completely from scratch, then you need to make the pie crust from scratch too. I highly recommend using this recipe for the Perfect Pie Crust I shared eons ago from Ina Garten. This recipe makes the best pie crust I have ever made. It’s a lot of work, but totally worth it in the end.
Option #2: Use frozen and refrigerated pie crust. I recommend using a frozen tinned deep dish pie crust such as Marie Callender’s for the bottom crust and Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crust for the top crust. Use a knife to cut the refrigerated pie crust into strips, or use a pastry wheel for a nice decorative touch.
There’s nothing like a tender flaky pie crust made from scratch. Unfortunately, a from-scratch recipe requires extra work and a lot of patience (not a virtue of mine). This is why I’m not a baker.
I always seem to rush pastry dough too much. It is never quite cold enough. I don’t give it time to rest and I probably overwork it too. Yes, I tend to make all these mistakes, knowing better. I guess I am optimistic enough to think I didn’t do anything wrong and get lucky. I’ve come to realize that pastry is too temperamental for me to want to mess with.
Frozen and refrigerated pie crust take a lot of steps from the pie making process. However, there is no doubt making your own crust is a lot better tasting. By using the store-bought stuff you are sacrificing flavor.
Additional Ingredients That Make This Cherry Pie Great
You’ll notice that this recipe says to “dot with butter”. This means to literally place “dots” of butter on top of the filling underneath the top crust. Adding dots of butter on top of the filling makes the pie extra rich and according to Sally’s Baking Addiction helps to prevent lots of bubbles from forming on the surface of the pie.
In the culinary arts, the term “egg wash” refers to a mixture of beaten eggs and some sort of liquid that is brushed onto food, such as pastry, before baking to add a golden color and sheen to the cooked pastry. It can also be used as glue to seal two edges of pastry together. I wrote more about egg wash HERE in this popular blog post.
If you want to add some sparkle to your pie crust, sprinkle it with coarse sugar. Coarse sugar is commonly used for decorating desserts. The granules of sugar are larger, which means they will not melt quickly when heated. I tried regular fine sugar. It cannot withstand the heat and melts without a trace.
Ice Cream or Whipping Cream:
Summer months scream for something cold, so I prefer a scoop of ice-cold vanilla ice cream for topping the pie. Although, feel free to top the pie with whipped cream if you prefer. Both are delicious but totally optional.
This is probably more information than you ever wanted to know about homemade cherry pie, but if you read all of this I feel confident that I have helped you make the best homemade cherry pie ever.
The official first day of summer is in just a few days. Celebrate it with a homemade cherry pie!
Homemade Cherry Pie
- 6 cups fresh cherries pitted
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter to dot
FOR THE CRUST
- 2 8-10 inch pie crusts Use your favorite pie dough recipe for 2 crust pie or see other option in the notes.
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar to sprinkle onto crust (optional)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
- Combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Stirring frequently, cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the filling mixture from the heat and stir in almond extract. Allow the filling to cool before using.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Use your favorite pie dough recipe. Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into a 10-inch pan. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Add top crust.
- Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional).
- Bake the pie for about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Allow the pie to cool several hours before serving with the optional vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Coarse Sugar: If you want to add some sparkle to your pie crust, sprinkle it with coarse sugar. Coarse sugar is commonly used for decorating desserts. The granules of sugar are larger, which means they will not melt quickly when heated. I tried regular fine sugar. It cannot withstand the heat and melts without a trace. I recommend getting some to have on hand like Bob’s Red Mill Decorative Sparkling Sugar. Get a bag HERE.
Ice Cream or Whipping Cream: Summer months scream for something cold, so I prefer a scoop of ice-cold vanilla ice cream for topping the pie. Although, feel free to top the pie with whipped cream if you prefer. Both are delicious but totally optional. Storage: Cherry pie is food-safe at room temperature for up to two days but will keep up to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator. Nutritional Information: Calories are based on pie ingredients without ice cream or whipped cream. See more about Nutrition HERE.