Tart Cherry Pie with Homemade Butter Pie Crust

Support my blog by sharing!

This recipe features fresh cherries in a homemade pie crust that is made with butter, salt, water, and flour. Don’t let a homemade pie crust intimidate you, it is a lot easier than it seems! This recipe will give you step-by-step guidance to make the best summertime dessert. 

My backyard is full of trees and plants that the previous owners planted, and it has taken me a few years to learn what some of the fruits even are! The first time I tried the cherries for our cherry trees, I was so confused because they were so tart! I honestly didn’t do anything with them for a few years because I didn’t know what to do with them. I finally did some Googling and realized that they are meant for baking and now I look forward to cherry season every year!

After using the fresh sour cherries in a pie for the first time, I fell in love! Which is where the inspiration for this recipe came from. I also have a Sour Cherry Crisp on my blog as well. That recipe has a cherry layer with a butter, oat crisp topping. Pies can be a labor of love, so if you are looking for something easy and quick, you will love that crisp recipe!

Picking tart cherries

Why should you use tart cherries in pies and other baked goods 

The tartness in the sour cherries balances out the sweetness and sugars in baked goods, making them the perfect kind of cherries for this application. They also are juicer and softer than regular cherries. Tart cherries are not great eaten raw, but they make a wonderful addition to pies, tarts, and crisps, which is why they are also known as pie cherries. 

Homemade Pie Crust from scratch 

The quality of ingredients is really important to me which is why I started to learn how to cook from scratch. I learned it is either really expensive to buy brands that use good-for-you ingredients, or you just have to learn how to do it yourself! 

I have to admit I was really intimidated by making pie crust from scratch. But looking at the ingredients of pie dough that you find at regular grocery stores, I was determined! 

When making pies, you can either use butter or shortening. However, shortening is full of preservatives and highly inflammatory seed oils (no thank you!!), so I learned to make mine with butter. All you need to make a delicious pie crust is butter, flour, salt, and water. That’s it! 

To make things super easy, you combine all of the ingredients for the pie crust in a food processor. I was shocked at how easily it came together!

The key to a good pie crust

The pie crust is super simple, but there is one thing that makes a huge difference and will make or break the pie crust. The most important part is cold butter. You need super cold butter! That is what helps create a flaky pie crust! Be sure to keep the butter, and the pie dough very cold. There are a few things that will help ensure that: 

  1. Add the butter to the freezer for at least 15 minutes before making the dough
  2. Use ice-cold water when making the dough
  3. Do not skip out on refrigerating the dough after it has been assembled 
  4. Let the cherry pie filling cool before adding it to the pie crust

A great pie doesn’t have to look perfect

My next piece of advice is to not let perfection prevent you from starting! My pies certainly are not winning any contests at the state fair for how they look. However, they taste fantastic! And let’s be honest, pies baked with love and look a little imperfect will always taste better than cookie-cutter pies you can buy from the store! 

The hardest part about making a pretty pie is creating a pretty crust. I just can’t nail the perfectly crimped edges along the pie. My lack of creating the perfect-looking pie prevented me from sharing this recipe for a while. But I finally realized that maybe my imperfect pies will help inspire you, too! 

This video has helped me learn the technique, but I am far from perfect. And that’s okay! 

Tools to make tart cherry pie

  • Kitchen Scale- I recommend measuring out the flour using a kitchen scale to ensure that the measurement is exact. 
  • Food processor – Instead of using your hands or a pastry blender, a food processor makes assembling the pie dough so easy! This is the food processor I have, I love it because it doubles as a blender!
  • Rolling Pin to evenly roll out the dough
  • Pie Pan – you can use any 9-inch pie pan, but I love this one by Pyrex
  • (Optional) Cherry pitterI have a cherry pitter that works great with sweet cherries, but in my opinion, tart cherries are just too soft and juicy for a cherry pitter. I use a toothpick and just pop out the pit. I find this to be the easiest way to keep the cherries intact!

Ingredients for Tart Cherry Pie

Pie crust
  • Butter – For pie crust, I use unsalted butter. You will need to make sure it is very, very cold for a flaky crust. So do not skip that step!
  • Salt- I use Redmond Real Salt. 
  • Flour- I use unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Water- You will need ice-cold water. Either use water that has ice cubes in it or get water from the refrigerator that is very, very cold to ensure that you do not melt the butter. 
  • Egg- you will brush the top of the pie with an egg wash to promote a golden brown color 
Cherry filling
  • Tart cherries- Fresh tart cherries that have been pitted
  • Sugar- I like to use cane sugar when baking because it is slightly less processed than granulated white sugar. 
  • Corn starch- To thicken the filling
  • Water- to add to the cornstarch before adding to the cherries. 
  • Vanilla Extract- The vanilla enhances the flavor of the sugar and tartness of the cherries. 

Instructions on how to make a tart cherry pie

To make the pie crust:

Cube the butter and then add to the freezer for 15 minutes. This will ensure that your butter stays cold when you work with it. 

I recommend measuring out your flour using a kitchen scale so that you can ensure exact measurements. Add the flour, salt, and cold butter to your food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse sand. 

Take your cold water, add about 1/3 of it to the mixture, and pulse. Repeat again with another 1/3 of the water, and then again with the remainder. At this point, the pie crust should pull away from the sides and start to form a ball. If it still hasn’t done this, add 1 more tablespoon of water at a time until it pulls away from the sides.

Remove the dough from the food processor and push it together fully using your hands. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form it into a small disk shape. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least one hour. DO NOT skip this step because it helps ensure that the butter stays really cold which is crucial for a flaky pie crust. 

To make the pie filling:

Combine cherries and sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook until the cherries start to release their juices.  

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water and stir until all the clumps in the cornstarch are out. Add to the cherry mixture and stir until fully combined. Keep over the heat until the cherries start to thicken. 

Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla extract. Let the cherry filling cool while the dough is chilling in the fridge. 

To assemble the pie:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for a couple of minutes so it will soften a little bit to make it easier to roll out

Add the dough to a lightly floured surface, and roll out using a rolling pin that has also been lightly coated in flour. Roll the dough out into a circle until it is about 12 inches in diameter. You want the dough to be bigger than the pie pan. 

Using your rolling pin, lift the dough up and wrap it around the rolling pin and then transfer it to the pie pan, pressing it to the bottom and the sides of the pan. 

Pour the sour cherry pie filling into the pie pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. 

Repeat rolling the second dough out and add to the top of the pie for the top crust.

Cut the excess pie dough off on the outside of the crust. Then, tuck the edges of the crust underneath itself to seal it up, and then flute the edges. 

Add one egg and one tablespoon of water to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Brush the egg wash on top of the pie crust. Add 4 cuts to the pie crust on top for vents to allow steam to exit the pie while baking.

Add the pie to the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cherry filling is bubbling. Check the pie halfway through and if the edges are becoming too brown you can tent the edges with foil. 

Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it. The longer the pie cools, the thicker the filling will be. Add a scoop of ice cream on top if desired and enjoy!

How to store a cherry pie

You can store the pie at room temperature for two days, or if stored in the fridge it will last for up to 4-5 days. Be sure to cover it with plastic wrap or add it to an airtight container. 

Common questions about cherry pies

Can you use frozen cherries for pie filling?

Yes, you can use frozen cherries for the filling! With some trial and error, I have found that frozen cherries have a lot more liquid and can easily yield a runny pie filling. In order to avoid that you can either add more corn starch to thicken the pie filling more, or you can let the cherries defrost and then drain out the excess liquid before making the filling. 

Can you freeze leftover pie filling?

Technically yes, you can freeze the filling. However, corn starch does not hold up in the freezer and will lose its thickness. You can counteract this by reheating the filling when you are ready to use it and adding more corn starch to thicken it back up. 

Can I use flour to thicken the pie filling instead of corn starch?

If you prefer to use flour, you can substitute for the corn starch. However, corn starch has more thickening power than flour so you will need to double the amount of flour for the same thicken power as the corn starch.

Tart Cherry Pie with Homemade Butter Pie Crust

Tart Cherry Pie with Homemade Butter Pie Crust

Yield: 8 Slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (290 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup ice cold water (Plus 1-2 T more)
  • 1 Egg

Cherry Filling

  • 6 cups pitted tart cherries
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

To make the pie crust:

  1. Cube the butter and then add to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and cold butter to your food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse sand. 
  3. Take the cold water, add about 1/3 of it to the mixture, and pulse. Repeat again with another 1/3 of the water, and then again with the remainder. At this point, the pie crust should pull away from the sides and start to form a ball. If it still hasn't done this, add 1 more tablespoon of water at a time until it pulls away from the sides.
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor and push it together fully using your hands. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form it into a small disk shape. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.

To make the cherry filling:

  1. Combine cherries and sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook until the cherries start to release their juices.  
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water and stir until all the clumps in the cornstarch are out. Add to the cherry mixture and stir until fully combined. Keep over the heat until the cherries start to thicken. 
  3. Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla extract. Let the cherry filling cool while the dough is chilling in the fridge. 

To assemble the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for a couple of minutes so it will soften a little bit to make it easier to roll out
  3. Add the dough to a lightly floured surface, and roll out using a rolling pin that has also been lightly coated in flour. Roll the dough out into a circle until it is about 12 inches in diameter. You want the dough to be bigger than the pie pan. 
  4. Using your rolling pin, lift the dough up and wrap it around the rolling pin and then transfer it to the pie pan, pressing it to the bottom and the sides of the pan. 
  5. Pour the sour cherry pie filling into the pie pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. 
  6. Repeat rolling the second dough out and add to the top of the pie for the top crust.
  7. Cut the excess pie dough off on the outside of the crust. Then, tuck the edges of the crust underneath itself to seal it up, and then flute the edges. 
  8. Add one egg and one tablespoon of water to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Brush the egg wash on top of the pie crust. Add 4 cuts to the pie crust on top for vents to allow steam to exit the pie while baking.
  9. Add the pie to the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cherry filling is bubbling. Check the pie halfway through and if the edges are becoming too brown you can tent the edges with foil. 
  10. Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it. The longer the pie cools, the thicker the filling will be.

Notes

I recommend measuring out your flour using a kitchen scale so that you can ensure exact measurements.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure here. I only share products that I use and love. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *