Sour Cherry Pie – A Hand Picked, Homemade Summer Treat

This summer dish is such a fun treat.  Tart and sugary, with flavors perfect for this time of year, this nice sour bite will happily cut through a hot, humid day.

sour cherry pie

In Western New York, the local eats are amaze.  This place has the best food in the USA, I’m convinced.  Hello, Buffalo wings?  Chiavettas? Besides, think of how many Italians live here and you can instantly understand my POV.

A week-ish ago, Austin and I went to the backyard cherry tree and had a good ole time picking some of the red, ripe fruit.  The tree was so very generous this year, and without a ladder, we gathered SEVEN POUNDS of sour cherries.  Yes, I’ll clarify: this isn’t your regular ole Bing or Ranier cherry tree, it’s good ole SOUR cherries.

We took these bitter lil lovelies to Nick’s Grandma and she happily baked some pies for the family.

(Are you tracking all of the names and relations? Probably not.  Duggs, my husband, and I live with my cousin Nick – his Grandma, EZ, lives nearby and she’s our go-to pie baker, gardener, painter, hunter extraordinaire; mentioned her in this post).

me, having a lovely summer day

we started out slow, and then that bowl just filled right up!

If you don’t have a tree in your backyard (sadface), I’m not too sure where you can buy them.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them hanging out in the grocery store produce section – but you never know.  Farmer’s Markets, specialty shops, or perhaps a well-placed phone call to a store that can order them for you (like Publix will, my mightily blessed SouthEastern friends, oh how I miss Publix…) would do the trick?  Good luck and Godspeed.

Step 1: Acquire cherries. 

So yeah, step one has go to be getting the cherries.  We did this with an hour or so of picking.  Austin, being the spritely nine year old that he is, climbed up into the tree.  Me, being the 5’8 Godzilla that I am, just reached up and picked.

austin and i, the backyard tree, and tons of sour cherries!

Step 2:  Pit the cherries. 

This one is time consuming.  I suggest an ice cold beer (because picking cherries in the hot summer sun is a sweat-expiring experience) and a TV show or some jams.  Just pop the pits out of each and every cherry – pinch them and you can go pretty fast.

Step 3: Get your nearest Grandma-like figure to make you a pie.

Hahaha.  I kid, I kid.  EZ made the pies for us, yes.  I do, however, have the filling recipe she’s used for years.  For your baking pleasure:


  • 3 Tbs Tapioca
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • sour cherries, about 1.5 lbs per pie

Take your pitted cherries and just mix them with the above ingredients – the sugar, the lemon juice, and  the tapioca.  I asked EZ about the tapioca, and she said she gets the Jell-O brand, opens up the packet and measures out three tablespoons of the granules.  You can find it in the pudding section; she really strongly suggests using tapioca – it’s essential for the flavor.  And as a big fan of this pie, I’m saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This pie is amazing, so just do as your told.

Then you’ll just mix everything up.  Some cherries will mash up a bit, some will stay intact -this variety in texture is desired.

She didn’t give me a crust recipe (I didn’t ask for one) – but just use your favorite regular crust, put a bottom layer in the pie dish.  Then add your mixed filling.  Then, add a top layer of crust and sprinkle some more sugar on there if you’d like to.  Given the tart flavor of the cherries, I really encourage the sugar on top.

Then bake.  She said she bakes until the crust is the golden brown “done” color – about an hour in her oven, which she cautions, does not operate properly and as a normal new oven would or should.  So, yeah, this isn’t a scientific recipe, I know.  But you can guestimate, right?  I think like 350 or whatever the normal baking temp is, is good.  (Right?)

And then… ta daa!  Homemade sour cherry pie. 

finished pie, lovely!

Happy picking and eating y’all – if you attempt this one, let me know how it turns out.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr


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