Have you ever had the opportunity to pick fresh cherries from a cherry tree and enjoy those in a fresh baked pie? The combination of fresh tart, pie cherries with sugar added, then baked in a melt-in-your-mouth buttery crust are such a wonderful summertime treat. Fresh Cherry Pie Recipe by Paula Deen is delicious!
Currently here in Michigan we have fresh pie cherries available currently. It is July and they are plump and a ripe juicy red at their peak. As long as I can remember, my parents have had a tart pie cherry tree. As kids we used to enjoy climbing it each summer to get cherries to make pie, coffee cake, jam and other such treats.
Picking Fresh Cherries
The other day, my kids and I had the wonderful opportunity to relive that experience together. I wanted to make the Fresh Cherry Pie Recipe by Paula Deen and so I called and asked if we could pick some of their delicious fresh cherries to use for the pie. Grateful they agreed, we got to work.
The tree is much larger now than I remember it being when I was a kid. To reach the cherries, I had to pull the branches down so the kids could reach them. We probably should have tried to find a ladder to use, but we didn’t. I estimate it took us about 15 minutes to pick enough cherries for two pies. I put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight because we picked them in the evening, and I didn’t want to stay up late to make the pie. But cherries can be used the same day they’re picked if you prefer.
Pitting Fresh Cherries
And then the real work started. It was time to pit every single cherry. First, I washed them under some cold water and spread them out to dry. I of course enlisted the kids to help with pitting the cherries. There are tools that you can buy to pit cherries, but we only do cherries about once a year, if that, so it seems more economical to just press forward and get it done.
Besides, pitting cherries together provides a great conversation time to be able to listen to the kids talk while we work. And so we did. As you’re working be sure to watch the cherries for brown spots and eliminate cherries where any “residents” have taken up space. My parents don’t spray their cherries so we threw away the ones that had “extra protein”.
For this pie you will need to have two crusts available. I like to make homemade pie crust because I think it tastes better. But if you don’t want to spend the time making pie crust, you will want to buy pre-made pie crust at the grocery store. This recipe uses a full crust on the bottom and a lattice crust on the top.
How To Make Paula Deen’s Fresh Cherry Pie Recipe
Once you have the cherries sorted, pitted and washed you’ve made good progress. That is the most time-consuming part. Now you’re ready to create the pie. If you’re making your own crust, you can follow these instructions. If you have a pre-made crust, just skip on down to the pie filling portion for instructions.
Pastry for Double Crust Pie
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
8 to 10 tablespoons cold water
Instructions for Pie Crust
1. Using a food processor or stand mixer, mix together 2 ¼ cups flour, ¾ tsp salt and 2/3 cup shortening. Slowly add 8 to 10 tablespoons of water depending on the consistency.
2. Mix until thoroughly blended and dough pieces are pea sized. Split the dough into two equal portions.
3. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands and a rolling pin to flatten 1 dough ball. Transfer to the pie plate. Repeat for the section dough ball, but set aside until filling has been added to the bottom crust.
4 cups Fresh Cherries
1 1/3 cups Sugar
4 drops Almond Extract
5 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
Instructions for Cherry Pie Filling
1. Mix together fresh cherries, sugar, almond extract and flour. Add to the pie shell. Cover with the top crust.
2. Pat the top crust with milk or cream to help it brown and then dust with sugar for flavor and appearance.
3. Bake at 425F for 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And enjoy!
Can I Use Frozen Cherries?
If I don’t have a place to get fresh pie cherries, or if fresh cherries are not in season, can I use frozen cherries? Yes. Frozen cherries will work fine. However, you might need to increase the amount of flour added to the pie filling because as the cherries thaw, they will give off more liquid than fresh cherries. You might also consider increasing the baking time if using frozen cherries. They will take longer to completely cook.
Sweet Cherry Pie
Can I make this recipe using sweet cherries rather than tart pie cherries? Yes. You can use this recipe for sweet cherries. However, the amount of sugar should be decreased to 1 cup (or less) to compensate for the already included sweet flavor of the naturally sweet cherries.
Crumble Topping Cherry Pie
When some people think of a cherry pie, they think of a crumble topping, rather than a lattice topping. To make a crumble topping, follow these instructions:
¾ cup old fashioned oats
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp butter
Mix oats, flour, sugar, salt and butter together until nice clumps form. Sprinkle over pie and bake.
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This is a recipe I came up with to replicate the real thing.