How to make a divine fresh cherry pie

First, plant a tree and wait for ten or twelve years. Stick with sour or tart cherry varieties like ‘Montmorency’ because Oklahoma is no place for a sweet cherry tree. ‘Bing’ will go bang the first time we have a drought. Believe me, I know because I tried it. Sweet cherries like wetter and cooler places than the southern plains.

Then, sometimes, life is a bowl of cherries, and when it happens (only twice in 15 years due to late freezes), what do you do with all this sour cherry goodness?

Four cups of fresh Montmorency cherries from our tree

You make a magnificent cherry pie. Mine is gluten and dairy free too, but feel free to make your own pie crust.

I adapted my recipe from The Black Family Reunion Cookbook: Recipes and Food Memories, put out by the National Council of Negro Women. I picked up my copy in 1991, and it is simply one of the best southern cookbooks on my shelf. Their cherry pie is made from canned cherries, but you just change a thing or two. Also, the Classic Lemon Meringue Pie recipe is to die for. It is my sister’s favorite pie, and the recipe has a secret to the meringue to keep it from falling.

Fresh cherry pie.

Now, back to the cherry pie.

Fresh Sour Cherry Pie

Your double crust recipe. I used The Gluten-Free Pantry Perfect Pie Crust Mix, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6). It always turns out great. Just remember to roll it out between two pieces of plastic wrap. Leave one on, turn the pie plate upside down on top of it, support the plastic coated crust and then flip it back over. Otherwise, the crust is too tender and will fall apart.


4 cups sour cherries, washed, stemmed and pitted
1 cup sugar
1/3 cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon of Earth Balance non-dairy margarine or butter
3 to 4 drops of red food coloring

One egg yolk beaten with two tablespoons of almond milk
Sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, almond extract, vanilla extract and vinegar in a bowl. Let them sit until cherries start to juice. Spoon into unbaked pie shell. Top with butter or margarine if desired. Cover with top crust and flute edges. Cut slits in the center to allow steam to escape. Brush top crust with egg/almond milk and dust with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F for 45 minutes until pie filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.
Cool to barely warm or to room temperature before serving.

Would you like a slice?

If you can eat ice cream, this pie is very good served with a scoop. Now, you just need fireworks, and you’re ready for the 4th of July.

Bon Appetit!


  1. Rose says:

    Can you send me a piece?? Our neighbor has a cherry tree, and every other year he seems to have a bountiful harvest, so that I get to pick as many as I want. Pitting cherries is a very time-consuming job, but the first taste of that fresh cherry pie makes it all worth it!

  2. Hi, Dee! THANKS! I ordered the cookbook and I can’t wait to receive! Wow. A sneak peek into traditional Southern cooking–from black women, no less! LOVE it! I so appreciate your sharing that tip. And that cherry pie looks soooo delicious! Also anxious to try the lemon meringue pie recipe. I somehow lost my grandmother’s recipe (very unlike me) and it leaves a little pang in my heart. So hopefully the one you love will fill that little hole. xoxo

  3. chigiy says:

    Yum! I love cherry pie. I have lots of friends with gluten issues, so I will be sending this post to a few people. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Kclily says:

    Looks like I’ll skip planting a cherry tree. I will stick with apples! The pie sounds delicious. Have a happy 4th.

  5. Liza says:

    I just drooled a little bit on my keyboard.

  6. Beautiful pie! Very patriotic, I think. We have a couple of pear trees that produce very coarse pears, that I’ve never figured out how to use. They’re loaded again this year, since the blossoms didn’t freeze or blow away for once! You’ve inspired me to start looking for recipes. Any ideas?

    1. Kay says:

      A friend of mine always made fresh pear pie from her mother’s pear tree…awesome pie!

  7. Daricia says:

    I would be willing to wait 10 – 12 years for a piece of pie like that. Yum! We have the same situation here with peaches and late freezes. This year was good, so peach pie is looking good.

  8. marnie says:

    It’ only nine a.m. here but who says I can’t have a craving for pie:) Looks so good.

  9. Gloria Bonde says:

    Oh yum! so beautiful! I can only imagine how yummy it tastes! Dee, thank you so much for your comments on my blog about the Garden Tour. It was fun having so many visitors at one time!

  10. Leslie says:

    Cherry pie just might be my favorite…yours looks wonderful! I wish I had space for a cherry tree…

  11. Phillip says:

    This sounds so good, I will have to try it.

  12. Yummy!! Love that your “recipe” starts with planting the tree. 🙂

  13. Kelly says:

    Oh my word! I want a bite of that pie! Pie is my weakness of all desserts and your Fresh Sour Cherry Pie looks delicious! Those cherries!! mm mm mmm!
    I am thinking of a fresh peach pie this weekend although I don’t need it all since I am trying to drop some lbs. 🙁
    Today I have to start fighting black spot on my roses! They are nearly naked of leaves and I am so sad about it. If you have any quick solutions give me a shout.

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