If I had to pick only one kind of pie to eat for the rest of my life I would not even hesitate, sour cherry pie. No, let me be a little more specific, homemade sour cherry pie. Not the kind of pie that has canned cherry pie filling… ummm, EVER! Pie filling made from real sour cherries, has brilliant flavor, and shares little similarities with it’s supposed canned counterpart. I find canned cherry pie filling overly sweet, artificially red with a likewise strangely off-putting consistency. Basically commercially canned pie filling is an insult to the fruit from which it comes.
So, I was thrilled to get my hands of fresh sour cherries last summer. Ok, I harassed a fruit farmer until he agreed to a produce trade, and I got a big old bucket of sour cherries, and I well, I still owe him corn and tomatoes Note to self: Fix that before next sour cherry season.
I sat on the porch and pitted all those cherries. My hand still cramps at just the thought of it. I did not have a cherry pitter so a MacGyver-ed a ball point pen into a passable pitter. Next year, assuming I get caught up in my produce trade, or the fruit farmer forgets I owe him stuff, I am going to get one of these things:
I am going to go out on a limb and am willing to bet this Cherry Pitter is worth $13.
All the harassing and pitting was well worth it in the end. Nothing can really compare to sinking your teeth into a slice of tart-sweet cherry pie, or a piece of rich Almond Cherry Kuchen bars in the dead of winter.
Sour Cherry Pie Filling
- 5 to 6 cups sour cherries canned or frozen.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter optional
Defrost frozen cherries reserving 2/3 cup of cherry juice, or drain the cans of cherries, reserving 2/3 cup of water from one of them. Place the cherries and reserved liquid in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the sugar and tapioca. Stir this into the cherries until everything is evenly combined.
Stir in the almond extract and salt. Let the filling sit for 20 minutes before using it to fill the pie shell.
TO PRE-COOK YOUR FILLING TO USE IN PLACE OF CANNED PIE FILLING IN RECIPES:
In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the tapioca and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in cherries almond extract, salt and optional butter. Remove from heat.
If using canned you will need 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of pitted red tart cherries in water
Recipe Slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour