This cherry pie recipe uses fresh cherries and a flaky homemade pie crust for a cherry pie that is easy to make and full of flavor.
First, you will need some important tools.
It is important to have the right tools to help with the success of this recipe. Getting the pie crust right, cooking the filling, and making it all come together successfully can be challenging.
Use a pastry cutter or food processor to combine the pie dough.
I always use a pastry cutter to make pie dough. A pastry cutter helps cut the butter by combining the ingredients with control. For best results, the ingredients need to stay cold, you want to cut the butter into the flour mixture without melting the butter. You want to have pockets of butter to remain so you will have a flaky crust.
Since it is important to keep the ingredients cold, I like to place my pastry cutter in the refrigerator ahead of time. This helps keep the ingredients cool and the butter solid. Using a food processor is good as well, it keeps the heat from your hands from melting the butter. If you use a food processor be careful not to overprocess.
Work with chilled pie dough.
It is important to keep the pie dough chilled throughout each step. When the dough is combined, wrap it and chill it in the refrigerator. After you roll it out, chill it again. Once you have the pie prepared and ready for the oven, chill in the refrigerator before placing it in the oven. This will help the dough remain workable, keep the butter chilled for a flaky crust, and hold its shape in the oven.
Bake this cherry pie in a glass pie dish.
I recommend using a glass pie dish instead of ceramic or metal for a 2-crust pie recipe. Glass is transparent and you can check the bottom of the crust to see if it is fully cooked. When you make a two-crust pie with a filling, you don’t blind bake it first to start the cooking process. Being able to see the bottom will allow you to ensure that the bottom portion of the crust is done.
You can use ceramic or metal pie dishes as I did for the photos in this image. I used a ceramic pie dish for this recipe mainly for photography purposes. The only downfall is that you won’t know if the bottom of the crust is fully cooked until you slice it up.
Use a pie shield.
This is an optional step but will prevent the edges from overcooking or burning. Place the pie shield on the pie after it is in the oven and the edges are set and start to brown. If you put the pie shield on too early it may stick to the crust or ruin the decorated edges.
How to make a cherry pie with a lattice top
There are a couple of ways to make a lattice crust. The most important tip is to make sure you are working with chilled dough.
For making a lattice crust:
- Roll out pie crust on parchment paper or floured work surface. I like to roll mine out on parchment paper that way I can transfer the finished product into the refrigerator to chill before adding it to the top of the pie.
- Once rolled out, use a pastry knife or regular knife to cut out strips of pie crust that are equal in length.
- Place the strips on parchment and let chill in the refrigerator.
- When the pie dish is lined with the bottom crust, and filled, remove the lattice crust strips from the refrigerator and gently arrange in an overlapping pattern alowing the tips of the strips to reach or overlap the edge. If the dough becomes warm and hard to handle, place it back the the refrigerator and chill.
- Press the edges of the lattice with the bottom crust edges, fold, and arrange how you like. You can trim the edges for a neat, smooth edge. You can also leave a little extra dough and form it into a crimped design.
Do you have to cook the cherry filling?
Yes, it is best to cook the cherry pie filling. I tried making a cherry pie without cooking the filling to see how it would come out. The image below will show you how it looked. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing. The filling didn’t set properly and fell apart when you cut into it.
The liquid for the filling won’t thicken as well in the oven, as you can see in the above and below pictures it had a runny center.
Do I have to make a lattice top?
No, you can simply roll out the top crust and place it on top of the pie. You will need to cut a few small holes or shapes on the top crust for steam to escape.
Sometimes it’s fun to simply roll out the dough and make cutouts.
Should you brush the top with an egg wash?
As you can see in the image above, I used an egg wash with heavy cream and added sugar sprinkles. Some people simply brush their pies with some milk. I have found great results with a crisp and flaky crust using one egg whisked with a splash of milk or heavy cream.
Brush the egg wash on the top of the pie crust with a pastry brush right before placing the pie in the oven, sprinkle with sanding sugar sprinkles, and bake. All of these solutions will help your pie have a crisp and golden appearance.
Can you use frozen cherries for cherry pie?
Yes, you can use frozen pitted cherries. To use frozen cherries, thaw them out completely, then cook as instructed. Be careful, frozen pitted cherries may still contain an occasional pit.
This is the result you want, a nice set center inside a flaky golden crust that can all hold its shape when cut and served.
Cherry Pie Recipe
For the pie crust:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice cold water
For the filling:
- 6 cups cherries pitted
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup water
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg
- splash of milk or heavy cream
- Sanding sugar for topping.
Begin by preparing the crust:
- In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, sugar, and whisk.
- Add cold butter in slices or cubes and begin to cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until it has a sand-like appearance.
- Slowly add water in small amounts and continue to cut the dough with a cutter until dough holds together when pinched.
- Form the dough into two small disks and wrap them with plastic wrap or parchment paper and set them the refrigerator to chill.
- While the pie crust is chilling begin to prepare the cherry filling.
For the Filling:
- Place 6 cups pitted cherries into a saucepan.
- Add lemon, vanilla, almond, corn starch, sugar, and water and stir.
- Turn heat to medium/high and bring to a light boil. As soon as the mixture is lightly boiling turn down the temperature to low and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until the cherry mixture thickens.
- Once it thickens, remove it from heat and let it cool.
To make the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add an egg and a splash of heavy cream or milk to a small bowl, whisk together, and set aside.
- While the filling is cooling, remove one of the crust disks from the refrigerator and place it on a floured surface.
- Begin to roll it out to about a 12″ circle.
- Place the circular rolled out dough onto a pie dish and push it to fit the dish. The sides should overlap, place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Remove the second disk out of the refrigerator and roll out onto a floured surface just as you did for the bottom crust.
- Prepare the crust how you wish. If you are doing a lattice top, cut the rolled dough into strips and place on a piece of parchment paper and set them in the refrigerator until ready to top. Same for a rolled-out top. Roll it out and if using cut outs simply make the cutouts and chill all of it before assembling.
- Take the bottom crust in the pie pan out of the refrigerator and add the cooled filling.
- Lay the top layer of crust over the filling and crimp the sides with the bottom layer. If you are making a lattice top, place the strips in an over and under patter sealing the ends of each strip to the bottom crust.
- You can make a smooth edge, use a fork to make an edge detail, or crimp the edges with your finger.
- If you are doing a simple rolled out top crust, make sure to slice a few holes on the top for steam to exit while it is cooking.
- Brush the top with the egg wash solution and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Place in the 400 degree F. oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is starting to brown.
- Add a pie shield if using and reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F. and continue to cook for 30-40 minutes. The crust should appear dark golden brown and the filling should be bubbling.
- If you use frozen cherries, thaw them completely before using.
- Placing a large cookie sheet or pan under the pie on the bottom rack of the oven will catch any juices from dripping onto the bottom of the oven.
Top the pie with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!