May 13th, 2017

(Coastal View, May 2017

Sour Cherry Deliciousness

 Things are warming up (unsurprisingly) here on the central coast as we head into summer, which means stone fruits are on the way! There’s one elusive little stone fruit I’m hankering to get my hands on for both syrups and pies that I look forward to each year. If you love a pucker-inducing tart flavor, then sour cherries are going to be a taste you’ll fall for. This tiny fruit is hard to find, and with a short growing season I often feel as though I’ve won the lottery ingredient wise when I come across them in a local fruit stall.

As a lover of road trips, I thought I’d take a drive up north last year to one of the only “U-Pick Em” sour cherry farms I could find in the CA bay area of Brentwood. Sour cherries have a brightly colored hue in comparison to the sweeter Bing cherry variety and are typically picked during the months of May and June.  I arrived at the farm spot early in the morning and was offered a 5 lb. wooden bucket and encouraged to pick cherries to my heart’s content. Priced at $3.50 a pound these little guys were abundant on the tree when I arrived and spent an hour or two filling as much of my bin as I could.

I packed up the car and started the drive back home to Carpinteria thinking of the recipes I’d use the two pounds I grabbed, knowing I’d have to use them quickly as they have a short life. Their unique flavor is a cross between a lemon and a sweet juicy Bing cherry varietal that adds a great twist to your favorite baked or savory recipes. Luckily if you can’t find the time for a road trip you can purchase these delicious little guys frozen at your local whole foods to enjoy. Here’s a pie recipe that will have you longing for the stone fruit season each year.


Sour Cherry Pie

Cook Time: 2 hr. 20 minutes

Serving: 8



·         2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

·         1 tablespoon sugar

·         3/4 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

·         5 tablespoons (or more) ice water


·         1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

·         3 tablespoons cornstarch

·         1/4 teaspoon salt

·         5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries

·         1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

·         1 tablespoon milk

Baking Process

For crust:

Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

For filling:

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges to serve, Enjoy!