I have always considered making a cherry pie to be a difficult task. Where do you even get the cherries if you don’t have your own cherry tree? Many of the cherries at the grocery store and farmers’ market are for eating not pie making. Do you have to use tart cherries or can you use sweet cherries? I had lots of questions. After a little research, I found some sweet answers. (Click here to jump to the recipe.)
Elusive sour (tart) cherries are the first choice for pie making it seems. They only have about a 3-week picking window in the summer, if the weather cooperates. And they are hard to find! But a great alternative to fresh cherries, meaning you can make cherry pie year round, is the canned dark Morello cherry. Many people in the U.S. are confused by the dark color of the Morello cherry since they associate sour cherries with a bright red color. But don’t let the dark color fool you because Morello cherries are indeed a sour cherry. I found some canned in a jar at Trader Joe’s. But if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, look for canned sour cherries (in juice) such as the Montmorency.
Make your own crust or buy a refrigerated crust from the grocery store. If you are going to cut fancy pastry shapes, buy 4 crusts. Using small cookie cutters, cut out shapes to place on the pie for the top crust.
Have fun and look for objects in the kitchen that you can use to cut shapes. Make small balls by rolling the dough between your palms.
Make an aluminum fold ring to protect the outer crust from over-browning. Start by pressing a sheet of aluminum fold against the top of your empty pan to mold the shape of your pan. Then cut the middle of the foil out and cut any excess aluminum foil off the sides to create a ring. Then make the pie and place your ring on it. Leave on this ring for the entire cooking time. Remember, the ring doesn’t have to be exact. It just needs to be big enough to protect the outer crust from excessive browning.
This recipe makes six mini pies (or 5 if you like a lot of cherries in each pie). You can also make one 9-inch pie.