Flavor of week: Sour Cherries
July is an exciting time for produce, especially fruits! All my local favorites come back this month, some (sadly) for just a few short weeks. There’s a lot to write about in the way of flavors right about now. There’s peaches, gooseberries, currants, black raspberries (YES!) and sour cherries (WHOO-HOO!). I’ll write about black raspberries a couple of weeks down the line when they are at their prime, at which point, they also seem to quickly disappear. Cherries have always been a favorite of mine. As a child it was dark sweet cherries, then around twelve, I discovered the surprising yellow Rainers. As an adult, I started shifting towards sour, and greatly began to appreciate the balanced sweet and tart flavor of bright red Bings. My whole experience as a child with sour cherries was the stuff out of the can, which I found quite cloying and overly sweetened. Still, my mind wandered to the bright little cherries perched on tables at the farmers market. I knew I was missing out. Of course, now, I spend most of the summer thinking about when they will come into season.
I just canned some maraschino cherries, old-school style…. not that Red 40 stuff in the jars. I’ll tell you how they come out in 2 weeks! But now, I’ll share a wonderful and absolutely scrumptious sour cherry pie recipe. What makes it so great is that it keeps much of the tartness of the cherries, but is sweetened by the amazing crumb topping. Use whichever pastry crust you prefer. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!
Sour Cherry Pie
1 pie crust dough
4 Cups of fresh sour cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 Cup sugar (use less if you like)
3 Tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca
1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 Cup raw chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl throw filling ingredients together. You can add whatever spices or extracts you like.
Roll out pie dough onto an 8-inch pie plate. Pour cherry mixture neatly into the pie plate and spread evenly.
In another bowl, toss topping ingredients together. Either with a fork or you hands, work the mixture so that the butter is absorbed into the mixture. I also like to add some oats to the mixture. Feel free to add spices, etc to this topping.
Spoon crumb topping mixture over the cherries and pop the pie into the oven for about 50 minutes. Cover with foil if it browns too quickly.