Sour Cherry Pie Filling

July 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Posted in pies & tarts, sweet things | 22 Comments

sour cherry pie filling

My freezer becomes a bit neglected in the summer.  Actually, I cram a whole lot of stuff into it, but apart from ice cream, not a whole lot of stuff manages to find its way back out…intentionally, that is.  The other day, after a couple of quarts of frozen chicken stock decided to fling themselves from the freezer when I opened the door (ouch–my foot!), I decided to do a little root-around in there, and I came across my neglected pie dough “collection.”  I am often making mini pies and tarts, and stashing what remains from a whole batch of dough in the icebox.  If you’re reading this blog, why do I bet that you do, too?!?

I thought that a smart way to use up some of these frozen bits and pieces would be to combine them with something fresh and in season.  Sour cherry time is here, although it’ll be over before I can blink, so I knew I had to get myself to the Greenmarket ASAP.  I broke out my cherry pitter, and made up a recipe of Nick Malgieri’s “Once-A-Year Cherry Pie” filling.  Rather than using his crust, I eeny, meeny, miny, moe’d my dough collection and used some hazelnut linzer scraps that I brought home from work ages ago.  You could use a regular sweet dough or a flaky one…heck, probably even a chocolate dough, if you like that combo.  Go see what you have hiding in the freezer!

Sour Cherry Pie Filling – makes enough for a 9-inch pie
from a recipe by Nick Malgieri

3 pints fresh sour cherries, stemmed, rinsed and picked over
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

-To make the filling, pit the cherries over a bowl. Use a cherry pitter, or slash the side of each one with a stainless steel paring knife and squeeze gently to extract the pits. Put the cherries in a bowl as they are pitted.

-When all the cherries have been pitted drain the juices from the bowl into a non-reactive saucepan and add 1 cup of the cherries and the sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is very liquid–about 5 minutes.

-Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk the cherry and sugar mixture into it. Return to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat, until it comes to a boil thickens and becomes clear. If it does not become clear, continue to cook over low heat an additional few minutes until it does.

-Pour into a large bowl and stir in the remaining filling ingredients, except the cherries then add the remaining cherries.

-Now you are ready to use it as a filling for your favorite pie dough!  Bake until the filling bubbles and the dough is golden, at whatever temperature you normally use for your particular dough.


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  1. Haha oh yes, I always have to clean out my freezer as well 😉

    Mmm, perfect pie filling!!

  2. delicious! great way of using those pastry leftovers. I would be more then happy to try a slice 🙂

  3. Too funny – that sounds just like my freezer (and if truth were told, the refrigerator too!). The pie is lovely and any thing with sour cherries makes me think of all those times I cussed that tree in the backyard – oh how i miss that tree now! Thanks for sharing……

  4. I’m so jealous that you get fresh sour cherries. No such luck here in Southern California. Your pie looks great and yes I have freezer full of scraps.

  5. i do not bake enough with cherries. i think cherry pie is up there with my favorite desserts, too. thanks for this delicious post.

  6. Oh yum! I love cherry pie more than anything! Your recipe is a winner for sure.

  7. Great job using your freezer stash to put this together! It looks delicious!

  8. i have to work on my trellis design on pies..

  9. This looks SO good! My mouth is watering 🙂


  10. Hooray! I have a bunch of fresh sour cherries in my fridge my neighbor let me pick off his tree. I was just thinking I needed a recipe for pie filling. 🙂 I think I’ll make a bunch and freeze it.

    Oh and YEAH, just loaded my garage chest freezer with my side of beef, and had to fit the overflow into my fridge’s freezer. I am constantly being attacked by chubs of hamburger and broth bags! LOL I’m getting very good and hopping out of the way 😉

  11. Hi Steph!

    I gotta tell you- you always seem to find a way to make me smile! I had to laugh as I read this post, because I couldn’t begin to tell you how many “Oh, I’ll do something with that later…” doughs I have taking up room in my TWO freezers! It drives my mom crazy- that is until I find a half-batch of pate brisee and pull together a quick quiche for a light dinner, saving her from ordering take-out one night. And I’ve had the inevitable avalanche of frozen foods come crashing down on my toes more than a few times, too!

    Also, just have to thank you SO much for recommending that article- I picked up a copy of the magazine yesterday, and it really helped alleviate a lot of my fears and simplified the whole canning process. My first batch of Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves are “processing” right now! I’ll let you know how they come out! Oh, and if you ever are looking for the tools that are helpful with canning, I found them at Walmart for a very reasonable price, and they sell the mason jars there as well! Now that I’m getting into this whole jam making thing, I’m definitely up for any other recipe suggestions you have. I’d love to try some more while summer produce is still at its peak!

    Hope you’re having a fabulous and relaxing weekend, and I hope to talk to you soon 🙂


  12. I’ve only made hazelnut linzer pastry once before. It was absolutely delicious – though admittedly, difficult to work with. I actually completely forgot about it until now. I want to make some more pastry again soon – and yes, I stash leftovers in the freezer, too!

  13. How I long for a large freezer where I could actually have space to do that!

  14. YES! Homemade cherry pie filling is the best thing ever! 😀

  15. I do the same with pie dough! This looks delish – gotta love a cherry pie.

  16. Hey I love that pan too. Made the brioche plum thing in it with peaches. But, back to your eeenie meanie thing too cute and isn’t it such a good feeling to use your resources? I love doing that although I’m not really good at it. Think I’m going to work on that one. Great post, great smiles 😉 and why does the chicken stock always sit precariously on the edge of the shelf? mine too.

  17. No cherries in my freezer but you name it and I bet it is there. My husband asks if I cook for the freezer or for us. I am not sure what the answer it.

    I love fresh food but when I come home from work, exhausted, I love my freezer and the gems that exit from it.

  18. I sure wish my freezer held some hazelnut linzer tart dough; yum! I need to find some sour cherries, pronto!

  19. ohhhh, I love sour cherry filling! looks great!

  20. Fantastic looking tart! Our sour cherry season was a blip this year. I made a crumble but not a pie. Sigh. I guess I’ll have to wait for next year to replicate this gorgeous tart.

  21. I just found your beautiful site! The recipes seem so “cozy”, if you know what I mean. 🙂 I’m anxious to try making some of these homey recipes, especially the cherry pie filling I found as I was scrolling around, drooling! I just recently bought, and devoured, a nice big bag of cherries and wish I had them now. Thank you for your gorgeous pictures and delightful recipes. I’ll sure save this website on my favorites.

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