Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cherries from heaven

Why, oh why, of all times, did I forget to bring my camera on the morning I picked cherries straight from a tree for the first time in my life?

I recently visited a local U-Pick farm to find pie cherries.  To be honest, I didn't even know what a cherry tree looked like.  We didn't have many cherry trees in northern Iowa where I grew up.

I arrived at the farm right when it was opening at 8 a.m.  Let me tell you, there is nothing prettier than a cherry tree, heavy with little red jewels of fruit, sparkling with droplets of dew catching the early morning light. Why, oh why, did I forget my camera?

When I got home, I told my husband that heaven must be lined with cherry trees.  The trees were so beautiful!

I picked half an ice cream bucket full of tart cherries.  A few hours later, I was back in my kitchen, wishing that I had ordered a cherry pitter on BEFORE I brought the cherries home.

I read once that you can pit cherries with a chopstick or skewer.  Since I have neither of these in my home, I improvised and used the tip of a paring knife to push the pit through the stem end of the cherry.

It took me two hours (!!!) to pit 8 cups of cherries.  It was getting close to bedtime, so I hurried to get a pie in the oven before it got to late.  Unfortunately, I had a terrible time rolling the pie crust; it wanted to stick to the rolling pin.  So I gave up on trying to roll the crust out thin, like my husband prefers, and just made do.

The pie looked pretty coming out of the oven, but the crust turned out a little dry and crumbly.  I made sure to measure out the cherries and let the filling bubble up in the oven to ensure that the filling would set this time, not like my recent disaster with rhubarb pie.

I have never made a cherry pie using tart cherries.  But I instantly fell in love when I took my first bite of the pie.  The cherries offered just the right amount of tartness, and they weren't gloppy like the canned cherry pie filling.

I think I have discovered my new favorite pie!


Sour cherry pie
From 14th edition of the Iowa State Fair Cookbook

  • 4 C. sour cherries
  • 1-1/3 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. tapioca
  • 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp. butter or margarine
  • Sugar
  • Pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie

Mix cherries, sugar, tapioca and almond flavoring; let stand 15 minutes.  Pour filling over bottom crust.  Dot with butter.  Cover with top crust and crimp edges.  Cut steam vents.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes longer, until bubbly.


  1. Yummy, it looks really good! Don't you just hate it when you forget your camera? It so funny that you don't have a skewer or chopstick in the house. I bet I use chopsticks everyday in my kitchen. I have so many in my kitchen tool caddy...I use them constantly! and a drawer full of skewers (they come like that, the bamboo ones anyway).

    I just love tart cherries and black sweet cherries. In the summer up in Michigan we would stop and gets some cherries and eat them in the car spitting the pits out the window!

  2. Some day, I hope to travel to Michigan to see all the cherry trees. I hear it's beautiful up there.

  3. Mmmmm, fresh sour cherry pie is amazing, and yours looks just right. Cherry season is not too far away again now!


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