Growing up, cherry pie was my least favorite kind of pie. Give me pecan, lemon, banana cream, chocolate, key lime, pumpkin…ANYTHING but cherry.
Why you ask? Three words:
Cherry pie filling. From the can. The sickeningly sweet, mushy canned cherry pie filling.
My taste buds have since repented, but only because of THIS cherry pie. This incredible, you-make-the-filling cherry pie. Oh, sweet Suzie…
I love the tang of the tart cherries, the clear almond flavor that comes through, the “not-too-sweet”-ness of the filling, the crust that melts in your mouth, and…wow…I get chills just thinking about it. I loved it so much I made my poor Uncle Sam and Aunt Amy make lots of them for my wedding reception…in addition to Uncle Sam making my gorgeous wedding cake… It’s a miracle they’re still speaking to me/my family…bless them.
If you are ever going to make a cherry pie, please make this one. Don’t waste your time with anything else. No other recipe will ever be good enough again. Also, praise my Aunt Amy and Uncle Sam for coming up with this recipe.
***A note on the cherries***
You DO NOT want to buy cherry pie filling. Don’t do it. Please. You’re looking for pitted red tart cherries packed in water. They weren’t at my regular market, but I was able to find them at one of the bigger chains, and, ironically enough, they were only selling the “store brand.” (Being a college newlywed…I usually only buy the store brand of canned things anyway). This is what you’re looking for. Pay attention. It makes all the difference.
Cherry Almond Pie
2 pie crusts (1 double crust)
2 (14.5oz) cans pitted red tart cherries, well drained, reserving 3/4c cherry liquid
1/2c dried tart cherries
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp red food coloring (optional)
optional: egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp milk), coarse sugar (known as turbinado or sugar in the raw)
In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch and 3/4c sugar. Stir in reserved cherry liquid. Stirring constantly with a whisk, bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute while mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter, almond, and food coloring. Remove from heat. Fold in all cherries. Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Cover with top crust, doing a lattice if you feel fancy. Brush the top of the crust with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or till golden.
Allow pie to completely cool before serving for best results. This will take several hours, but will allow the filling to set properly.