This is a super easy, crowd-pleasing cherry pie that is perfect for summer. We always use frozen cherries so that we can make this any time of year, but fresh cherries work great, too. (Hack to easily pit cherries: use an empty glass bottle and a metal straw, pushing the pit of the cherry into the bottle with the straw). If you decide to use fresh cherries, use a little less cornstarch—the filling won’t have as much liquid and won’t need to thicken more.
Once we started pre-heating the filling on this recipe, we never went back. Cooking the filling before baking makes the cherries a lot softer and the filling a lot thicker. You do not want to overcook it though; the filling should be sturdy, but not like jam.
We also use a dutch crumble top; this is a fan-favorite for my regular pie-eaters and is super easy. A classic pie crust or braided top tastes delicious, too. Do whichever you prefer!
Crust & Dutch Crumble Top:
1 pie crust
1 cup of four
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup of cold butter, cubed
5 cups frozen (or fresh, pitted) cherries
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch (less if using fresh cherries—1 1/2 -2 tablespoons)
Sprinkle of salt
1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, vanilla & almond extract, and lemon juice in a large pot over medium to high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken (it will take a little bit, ~8-10 minutes. If the mixture does not thicken after 10 minutes, add a dash more of cornstarch). Once it hits boiling, reduce temperature to low and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool to room temperature. While this cools, make Dutch crumble.
Combine all Dutch crumble ingredients (make sure butter is COLD) in a medium bowl using a large fork or pastry cutter. Blend together until a crumble forms.
Push pie crust into a pie pan, pinching the edges and pushing down on the bottom and sides to make sure there are no big air bubbles. Poke with a fork all over—this will help stop the pie from over-filling in the oven.
Once filling has cooled to room temperature, pour into the pie shell and place cubes of butter on top. Then cover the filling evenly with Dutch crumble top. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-50 minutes. Cool for 2 hours before serving alongside some vanilla ice cream or melted dark chocolate.