Sour Cherry Pie: A No-Fail Recipe for Fresh Cherries


The sour cherries — or tart cherries, as they’re sometimes known — are early this year! Usually they start appearing this week or next and last just until about the Fourth of July. This year, they’re already at a farmers market near you.

Last year, I made a video during sour cherry season, where I show you my favorite sour cherry pie recipe, and my no-fail pie crust recipe. You’ll want to watch til at least the 5:10 mark, where I demonstrate and my very special method of pitting cherries. Oh, and the oven almost explodes, too. Good times.

Here’s the video again. I you enjoy it, and please — if you make the pie, comment here and let me know how it turned out! If you have questions, post them — I’m happy to help.

By the way, in the video, I misspoke, calling the almond extract cherry extract. No, it is indeed almond extract, like in the recipe, which you’ll find after the jump.

After the jump, the recipes for No-Fail Pie Crust and Sour Cherry Pie.

No-Fail Pie Crust
Adapted from Saveur magazine, which said it was their adaptation of a pie from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Pie and Pastry Bible” (Scribner, 1998).
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
9 tablespoons cold cream cheese
12 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ice water
1 egg
Splash of milk
Sugar for sprinkling

Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces and put on a plate. Put the plate in the fridge. Place flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Use your fingers to pull chunks of cream cheese from the bar and throw into flour mixture. Pulse a couple of times until the mixture begins to resemble coarse meal. Add the cold butter to the bowl of the processor. Pulse until mixture is flecked with pea-sized pieces of butter. Sprinkle in vinegar and ice water, pulse a couple of more times. Pinch the mixture to see that it holds together. Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. It will not have come completely together yet. Quickly knead dough until smooth. Divide dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, flatten each into a disk and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

Roll larger dish onto a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch round, then ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Stir filling, then transfer to pastry. Roll remaining dough out into a 10-inch round. You may either cut into lattice or bake as a top crust. Beat egg with milk and brush over the top crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Sour Cherry Pie

1 recipe pie crust
4 cups sour cherries, washed, stemmed and pitted
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon butter, optional

Make the pie crust. Line a 9-inch pie pan with it.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine cherries, sugar, flour, almond extract, vanilla extract and vinegar in a bowl. Dot with butter, if you like. (I never do.)
Cover with a top crust and seal edges. Cut slits in the center to allow steam to escape. Brush it with the egg-milk mixture, if you like.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until pie filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.
Yield: 1 pie.


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. No offense, but I see there’s a lot of liquid in the bottom of your pie plate. The one and only time I made a cherry pie, it looked like that, and I considered it a runny failure. Is it supposed to be like that? If so, mine was a success after all! 😉

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