This is the Best Sour Cherry Pie I have ever had so far. It is a fantastic recipe to make for the holidays. If you want to bring summer flavors to a Thanksgiving meal, this is the perfect occasion to make this pie.
Perfect Pie for the Holidays
Thanksgiving is traditionally an indulgent meal where butter, bacon, and other rich ingredients are used to make the delicious side dishes that accompany the turkey.
If you think about what we usually eat for Thanksgiving, there is not much acidity in these dishes to balance out the fats and the starch we use.
Acid does the essential job of balancing flavors, which makes it indispensable for cooking delicious food.
This pie has precisely that! The sour cherries are tart, which means acidic. Therefore, they bring the ultimatum balance to a rich meal.
I used tart cherries in syrup, a product that I usually buy in ethnic stores, but depending on the area where you live, you might be able to find the jars in your regular grocery store.
The beauty of the recipe is that it uses the entire jar of cherries with the syrup also. The syrup is used to thicken the filling for the pie.
I love recipes where nothing is wasted, like this Walnut Cake With Egg Yolk Glaze recipe, for example, an old one from Transylvania.
Also, the crust for this pie is one of the best ones out there. The crust is flaky but delicious and sturdy enough not to fall apart.
It is made with butter and cream cheese, which adds flavor and beautiful layers to the pastry.
Interestingly, this crust also has some white wine vinegar, which is an ingredient I only saw in the recipes from Eastern Europe, the old ones.
I grew up with sour cherries. In Eastern Europe, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and many other European countries, tart cherries are a key ingredient in desserts.
They are also delicious in main courses, salads, jams and jellies, and also beverages.
Too bad that sour cherries are not sold fresh in our grocery stores. You can only find them frozen, canned, or dried for use throughout the year.
How to decorate
Roasted almonds decorate this pie, and almond flavor is added to the filling because, as we all know, cherries and almonds are excellent friends.
Anyway, the recipe overall is very easy to make, and I see it as a success to end a glorious meal during the holidays.
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Best Sour Cherry Pie
Make the Crust:
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 /2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 6 ounces cold cream cheese cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ice water
- 3 cups Sour cherries jarred 1 ½ jars fruit +1 ½ cup juice from the jars
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
For the topping:
- ½ cup blanched sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon beaten egg white
Prepare the crust:
- Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add butter and pulse few times until the mixture resembles pea size pieces.
- Add the cream cheese and pulse few more times until the dough comes together.
- Add the vinegar(or the lemon juice)and the ice water. Pulse few more times until the dough is moist.
- Shape the dough into a disk, wrap and refrigerate until firm for at least one hour or overnight.
How To Make The Filling:
- In a medium bowl place the cherries. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk ¼ cup cherry juice from the jar with sugar and cornstarch.
- Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups cherry juice and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Cook, whisking constantly until thick and glossy, about 30 seconds.
- Pour over cherries. Add the almond extract and gently fold to combine.
How To Assemble The Pie:
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Place a baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven.
- Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface.
- Ease the dough into a 9-inch pie dish.
- Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp with a fork or just using your fingers.
- Refrigerate the crust again until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Add the filling to the cold crust. Place the pie dish on the hot baking sheet inside the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and continue baking until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes. (If the crust tend to brown too fast, cover the edges of the pie with foil). When done, transfer to a rack.
Make the topping:
- Combine almonds, sugar and egg white in a medium bowl.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture in a single layer. Bake on the upper oven rack, stirring halfway through, until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Let cool completely, then break into small clusters. Sprinkle around the edge of the warm pie. Let cool completely, so the sour cherry filling sets.