Best of Show Cherry Pie

Best of Show Cherry Pie

This is my Best of Show Cherry Pie that brought me my first blue ribbons. I was pretty excited when I learned it had been chosen Best of Show, too! 

Whoopee! It’s cherry pie time! I love this season of year. The days are long and warm. In fact, Western Washington is in the middle of a heat wave right now! This weekend Seattle was in the 90’s and it was pushing 80 in Port Angeles. I’m grateful for the ocean breeze that keeps Pie Cottage relatively cool even on the warmest of days. When it’s warm like it is now, and maybe where you are too, I try to get my baking done early in the morning before it gets too hot.

Doesn’t it seem so ironic that high summer fruit season is when the weather is more challenging for making doughs and rolling them out? I try to work as quickly as I can with my pastry so the fat in it won’t get the idea that it’s ok to melt. Keep everything chilled—especially yourself. We’ve talked about that before but always a good reminder. Yes?

Cherry Pie is one of the two pies that folks say that they like the best. It comes as no surprise to me that the other is Apple. I love to ask this question in informal polls across the country.

By the way, my favorite is Peach. I’ll be writing about that in a few weeks.

Anyway, be sure to put enough thickener into the filling so that you won’t have gloppy red soup. I like to use quick cooking tapioca. Here’s the one that I made today for my friends Jean and Roy.

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Best of Show Cherry Pie

I used some Montmorency cherries. You may be lucky enough to have a tree or a friend with a tree. Some count the days to when these cherries make their brief appearance at the Farmers Markets. Another variety that I love to use is Morello. Lovely, dark, and rich in flavor.

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Morello Cherries and Cherry Pie

Once you have them, they will keep for a few days refrigerated. But, I try to head home and dive right into pitting them and making my pies. After pitting them, if you are not going to use them right way, you can can them, or you might want to freeze them in a single layer on a cookie tin or sheet pan, and then pop them into dated plastic bags. They’ll last at least six months IF you can wait that long! When I make my filling, I treat the frozen cherries exactly the same as I do fresh and by that I mean, there’s no need to defrost them. Here’s my recipe.

And if you like it, please leave me a message or click on the like button for Facebook. It means a lot to me. :-)

Easy Cherry Pie
Recipe type: Sweet Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Bake time:
Total time:
Folks love this cherry pie. Double the recipe to make two full pies. You can freeze one to bake later, or bake them both and give one away!
  • 1 recipe for double crust pie dough
  • 6 cups sour cherries, fresh and pitted, canned and drained, or frozen (you won’t need to defrost them)
  • 1 cup sugar + a few teaspoons more for sprinkling the top
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • A very small grating of whole nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca (if you are brave, just use a good size handful)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter for dotting the top of the filling (if you forget this, it's fine...really!)
Egg White Wash
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water for an egg white wash
  1. Make dough, divide into two disks, wrap in plastic and chill.
  2. Put cherries, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, quick cooking tapioca, salt into a bowl and gently mix together until well coated.
  3. Roll out the bottom dough and place in your pie pan.
  4. Pour filling into crust. (Note: Cherries are a very juicy fruit so fill your pie pan to within ½ inch of the rim so they won’t boil over when baking.)
  5. Dot with butter and set aside.
  6. Roll out remaining dough and lay over the fruit, or cut strips and make a lattice top.
  7. Trim excess dough from edges and crimp.
  8. Brush crust with some egg white wash and sprinkle evenly and lightly with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.
  9. Place pie in refrigerator to chill while oven is preheating to 425° F.
  10. Bake at 425° F on the middle rack of the oven until crust is just golden, about 20 minutes.
  11. Reduce heat to 375° F; bake until golden brown and there is some steady bubbling in the filling, about 30-35 minutes more.
  12. Let cool before serving.

This recipe won best of show when I entered it at my county fair!

Share Art of the Pie


  1. says

    I used frozen cherries for a pie once, following a recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook, mixing the frozen cherries with the sugar, but my pie was so runny the cherries were swimming in the liquid. Do I need to heat the frozen cherries with the sugar first on the stove?

    • says

      For success with frozen or fresh sour cherries, I use 2-3 tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca. The tapioca much reach a temperature that is high enough to see steady bubbling through the vents or lattice, or you will have a very juicy pie. I hope this helps and thanks for checking in!

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing your pie dough recipe, can’t wait to try it!
    It’s been a while since I’ve had a box of the white fluffy stuff in the blue can in my baking pantry. I’ve been using mainly butter, which has not always proved satisfactory. We’ve eaten may tough, greasy crusts. My hubbie never complains, but I am certainly going to give yours a try. I do keep everything really cold, but I think it’s just too much butter.
    Looking for a local supplier of leaf lard … I am just learning about it and think it may be the answer. There are numerous websites that advertise it, but if you know of a sure bet, would really appreciate being pointed in their direction. Nice to meet someone who blogs in the same neighborhood! Really enjoying your site! Thanks a bunch!

      • Karela says

        I order mine from the same place. Great leaf lard. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your pie recipes! And even more than your pies, I enjoy your philosophy of being happy and spreading it around. :) I got a tip from Cook’s Illustrated regarding tapioca that I think works really well. They suggest using a spare coffee grinder to grind the tapioca into powder. I picked up a spare at a garage sale for $2 and I like the results in pies very much. I usually cook my cherries with sugar and cornstarch on the stove but I’m glad to find a reliable recipe that puts them in the crust uncooked. Thanks. I live in Michigan. If you ever have a cooking class here, I would love to hear about it. I make pie and I think they’re good pies but I am nervous about the crust. I would so love to be able to feel when it has just the right amount of moisture! Eeeek. And how do you get it to stay together so well when flipping, moving and lattice–ing? I don’t know if I roll it too thin. Anyway, if you ever have a class here and if I can afford it, I would love to come. How many people do you require for a class and what is the cost? Have a wonderful day.

  3. says

    Aha! Orange liqueur – what a wonderful addition. Thank you again and again, Kate for your friendship and pie tasting during our last few months in P.A. We will get together for another dinner party one day soon! Might even catch you on the road – wouldn’t that be fun!

  4. Deborah says

    The cherries that are available now in Edmonds, WA. seem to be the generic dark red ones and Rainiers. Can I use those in this pie and use less sugar?

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