Last summer, shortly after our move back from Oregon, Chad and I had one of the best welcome home presents ever. Our sour cherry trees were covered with fruit and the birds weren’t eating them yet.
Years before, Chad had planted a few small cherry saplings – volunteers from his dad’s orchard – shortly after he moved to this farm. And now they are big enough to produce every year.
As soon as we realized the cherries were ripe, we got busy picking them.
We didn’t have a huge harvest (not nearly what we got from our apricots later that summer) but we had just enough for about four pies, plenty to get excited about.
While these cherries are tasty raw – Chad and I both enjoy sour flavors – they are called “pie cherries” after all, so I decided I better turn them into pie.
This was my first time making cherry pie, and the caveat was that my crust would have to be gluten free and corn-free.
I’ve gotten fairly comfortable making gluten free pie crust, which I find to be much more forgiving than some other gluten free baked goods.
First we had to pit the washed cherries. Not the easiest culinary task. I know they make gadgets to do this work for you, but I’ve never tried one, and don’t really mind this type of manual labor.
Then I added some sugar to the cherries to get their juices flowing and a small amount of arrowroot starch as a thickener (you can use cornstarch if you don’t have a corn sensitivity). I let the cherries macerate while I made my pie crusts.
I used brown rice and sorghum flour, butter, cold water, and a pinch of salt to make the crust. As far as gluten free flours go, I find sorghum flour to give the best taste and texture for pie crusts.
I formed my pie shells, pre-baked them, then took them out of the oven, and added the pie filling.
Here’s my recipe for Gluten Free Cherry Pie:
Gluten Free Cherry Pie
- 1.5 lbs tart pie cherries, washed, pitted, stems removed
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
- pinch salt
- 1 stick cold butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- approx. 1/4 cup cold water
1. MIX the cherries and sugar in a medium sized bowl. STIR in the arrowroot starch until dissolved. Let the cherry mixture sit while you make the crust.
2. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. BUTTER a 9″ pie pan.
3. In a large bowl, MIX the flours and salt with a fork or whisk.
4. DICE the butter into small pea-sized pieces. MIX the butter into the flour mixture. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until the entire mixture has a sandy consistency.
5. MIX the egg into the flour and butter mixture.
6. ADD just enough cold water to form your mixture into a dough. If you add too much water, add a little more flour.
7. MOLD the pie dough into the buttered pie pan. FLUTE the edges of the dough along the rim of the pie pan.
8. PRE-BAKE the pie crust for about 5 minutes.
9. REMOVE the pie crust from the oven. SPOON in the cherry mixture, and return the pie to the oven.
10. BAKE for 25 minutes.
I won’t be so presumptuous as to tell you how you should eat your pie but this was tasty warm, and one hundred times more tasty after being chilled. (Eat it chilled!)
This pie was so good that the morning after I made it, I woke up and declared I was having pie for breakfast.
It had a wonderful tart cherry taste, and a gorgeous texture – just what I want out of a pie.
In fact, looking back at my cooking notebook, the only comment I made about this recipe was “Perfection!”
Hope you agree!