It goes without saying that this is a sour cherry pie, because there’s no other kind of cherry pie. Not in the J. Pastry universe. Sour cherries, being more acidic, are much more interesting from a flavor standpoint. They also have thinner skins and more tender flesh, which means they bake down more readily. The result is a pie of a complexity and texture that sweet cherries can simply never deliver. Enough said.
So where were we? Right, pie. Every great pie starts with a home-made crust, and no they’re not hard to make. Roll yours in the same way I did here for peach pie. While the crust is resting, make your filling. Begin by assembling your ingredients. You’ll need a quart or more of sour cherries.
My father loved sour cherry pie so much he planted a cherry tree in our suburban back yard. His plan for Infinite Pie pretty much worked. The little tree produced the first year as I recall and ultimately grew to something like 20 feet. I can still remember how he draped it with nets in a vain attempt to avoid sharing his bounty with birds and squirrels. What can I say, he’s a greedy man. Oh the hours my twin sister and I spent pitting all those things…the stains on our hands — and our Catholic school uniforms! But mom’s pie was worth it. Here’s how it goes:
1 recipe standard pie crust
4 cups pitted sour cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
generous pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract