I love fresh cherries. When in season, I buy buckets and buckets of them from the farmers’ market. Per baking lore, sour cherries are the variety used in pies. Unfortunately, in Southern California we only have sweet cherries.
The only time I’ve seen fresh sour cherries was when I picked them myself while on vacation in Upstate New York at Hick’s Orchard. If you’re ever in the Adirondacks near Lake George check them out. When in season, they have sour cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, plums, pears, and pumpkins.
The very first pie I baked was a Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust made with those cherries in the above picture. It was the cover recipe on the June 2008 issue of Bon Appetit. It was also the subject of one of my first blog posts. You can see my pie HERE. If you do have access to fresh sour cherries, make this pie because it was amazing.
I don’t know why it’s better to use sour/tart cherries in baking. Is it because the size (sweet cherries are larger)? Is it because the sweet/tart factor (you can always adjust added sugar)? Is it the liquid (sour cherries are more watery)? I’ve baked with both and have great results with both.
This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection is the Sour Cherry Pie with Pistachio Crumble. Melissa Murphy the author of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book and owner of the Sweet Melissa Pâtisseries says this recipe is her favorite. And I can see why. The crunch of the pistachios in the crumble topping adds texture to the sweetness of the cherry filling.
Because I wanted to use fresh, locally-grown cherries for my pie I used sweet cherries. I used two types: Rainier and Brooks. I also used my mini-pie plates.
The suggested piecrust was the Flaky Pie Dough. The recipe uses a higher proportion of shortening to achieve flakiness. It actually has more shortening than butter. So the crust was nice and flaky, it didn’t have a lot of taste. I prefer taste over flakiness. It also didn’t have any sugar. In retrospect, I should have added sugar.
I had extra pie filling and pistachio topping so I baked some cherry crumbles in ramekins which I topped with Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream. The recipe for the ice cream comes from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and is so delicious. The base is steeped with finely chopped toasted almonds and then coarsely chopped toasted almonds are added in the last two minutes of churning. Chopped candied cherries are folded in when the ice cream is done churning. To up the cherry flavoring in the ice cream, I added natural cherry extract. YUM. If you love almonds and love cherries, you will love this ice cream.
Thank you to Michelle of Flourchild for choosing this recipe as we bake our way through the book. It was a great choice. A definite winner that deserves a full-size bake from me another time. If you want the recipe you can find it on Michelle’s blog or HERE.