Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 45 minutes
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Here is an intensely buttery, crispy-crust pie that exudes loads of syrupy cherry nectar when you plunge in the knife. In a quirk of pie-making tradition, open-faced pies, like custards, chocolate cream or pumpkin chiffon, get the best crust — pre-baked shells that are flaky, crisp and golden. But fruit pies, baked with raw dough that is often pale and soggy, get short shrift. For a fruit-pie crust that is crunchy and flaky, with a buttery texture that absorbs the fruit’s juices without turning to mush, the secret is pre-baking the bottom crust, then adding the fruit, covering it with raw dough and baking it again.

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Yield:8 servings

  • cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, more for rolling out dough
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 15tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1cup sugar
  • 2 to 3tablespoons instant tapioca
  • ¼teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2pounds sour cherries (about 6 cups), rinsed and pitted
  • 1tablespoon kirsch or brandy
  • 3tablespoons heavy cream
  • Demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

496 calories; 24 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 67 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 38 grams sugars; 5 grams protein; 98 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    To make dough: in bowl of a food processor pulse together flour and salt just to combine. Add butter and pulse until chickpea-size pieces form. Add 3 to 6 tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixture just comes together. Separate dough into 2 disks, one using ⅔ dough, the other using the remaining. Wrap disks in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days) before rolling out and baking.

  2. Step


    Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place larger dough disk on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12-inch circle, about ⅜-inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Line dough with foil and weigh it down with pie weights. Bake until crust is light golden brown, about 30 minutes.

  3. While pie crust is baking, prepare filling. In bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, tapioca and cinnamon (use more tapioca if you prefer a thicker, more solid filling, and less if you like a looser, juicier filling). Run the motor until tapioca is finely ground. Place cherries in a bowl and add sugar and tapioca mixture. Drizzle in kirsch or brandy and toss gently to combine.

  4. Step


    When pie crust is ready, transfer it to a wire rack to cool slightly and reduce heat to 375 degrees. Remove foil and weights. Scrape cherry filling into pie crust.

  5. Step


    Place smaller disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it ⅜-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (or several round cookie cutters of different sizes) to cut out circles of dough. Arrange circles on top of cherry filling in a pattern of your choice.

  6. Step


    Brush top crust with cream and sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar. Bake until crust is dark golden brown and filling begins to bubble, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours, allowing filling to set before serving.




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Cooking Notes


This is hands down the best cherry pie recipe I've tried. The trick of twice-baking really pays off. I bake the cut-out top crusts separately on a baking sheet with heavy cream brushed and sprinkled with Demerara sugar. Then I top the filling with them after everything is cooled so cut-out crust will stay straight-flat and crisp, otherwise they become wavy over the bumpy filling.

Mary Beth

There is a better recipe on the site, Jacques Pepin's Sour Cherry Tart, which I've made many times. There's no pretty picture, but the recipe is simpler and better than this one, which I tried. Perhaps it would have worked all right with fresh sour cherries, but mine were frozen. They bubbled up and leaked beneath the crust before the pie was done, defeating the purpose of the double baking---and I'm an experienced pie maker. In retrospect, I would defrost the cherries first.


I haven't tried this, and the crust is probably quite crunchy, but I have never had a problem with soggy crust in a fruit pie if I bake in a Pyrex plate at 425°on the bottom shelf of the oven - not convection - for 20 minutes before turning down the heat to 350°. If your convection oven has a pie setting, use that, still bottom shelf, or you can switch from conventional to convection when you turn the heat down.


I've found that canned sour cherries taste fine, although they do not have the same brightness of color. The ones I've found come in 14+ ounce cans, so I consider one can of pitted sour cherries the weight equivalent of one pound of fresh sour cherries with their pits. I retain some but not all of the juice.


I agree, Keiko, the twice baked crust pays off. However, I prefer 1 T lemon juice and 1/2 t almond extract as the flavoring, instead of brandies. I will stick to this old recipe.


Wow, this is great. Used the technique with peaches and it was the best pie we have ever eaten. A keeper!

Pie crust tip: substitute 1/3 of the water in your pie crust dough with vodka, stored in the freezer. You won't taste the vodka and you can use an extra teaspoon to moisten the dough if it isn't quite coming together. That's because vodka doesn't react with the gluten in wheat flour; it's also super cold when you add it. Easy-to-handle dough *and* flaky crust!


Mix fresh or thawed frozen cherries with sugar, cinnamon, and Kirsch and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain the juice into a sauce pan, add thickener, and bring to a boil. Cook for a couple of minutes. Combine thickened juice with cherries and put into the crust. Thickening the juice reduces run-over without precooking the cherries, which preserves the texture.

Iris Brest

King Orchards in Michigan will ship IQF Balaton cherries, which are tart but solid (like Bing) and vastly better than Montmorency which is more widely available. And the people there are extremely nice and helpful.


Come up to the Finger Lakes around July 4 weekend. There are scads of u-pick sour cherry places on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake! We pit 'em and freeze in zip-bags, ready for pie-making all winter long.


I've made this several times, and it's a success. But in my experience, there is simply not enough dough to roll out the crust 3/8" thick-- nowhere near enough. I multiply the crust ingredients by 1.5 and that keeps the crust from being too thin (although still not 3/8", which is pretty thick).


This is exactly how I have been baking my pies for years. Never a soggy, underbaked bottom crust. I just want to add that an advantage of the pyrex plate is that you can look at the bottom from underneath .... when the bottom crust no longer looks doughy.... it is done.


Added 1T lemon juice, 1/4 t ground cardamom and 1/4 t almond extract to cherries. Dotted filling with 1T diced butter before covering with top crust.Lined bottom crust with 1/4 c almond flour combined w/ 1 T sugar before adding cherry filling.

George Burger

I'd say yes. If still frozen the cherries will release a lot of juice as they cook.


8/9/15 I really wanted to love this pie. I used heart cutouts for the top, and it looked adorable going into the oven. However.....upon serving, the texture of the crust ranged from soggy to rubbery to crisp. The only repeat for me will be the clever design of the top crust with a different recipe.


I love cherry pie but had never made one. Saw gorgeous sour cherries at the farmer's market and decided it was time. This pie was delicious. The crust came out beautifully and the filling tasted fantastic. I substituted corn starch as I didn't have tapioca and used vanilla extract instead of brandy for same reason. No problems.


I’ve made this about 3 times, and yes it’s a good pie, but Ive decided I really don’t like the tapioca. No matter how long I pulse the tapioca, I always end up w gritty, weirdly textured pie filling. I want to take that classic cherry pie filling and elevate it. This is not that. This is something else entirely; YMMV.

Liz Dalton

The instant tapioca (Reese brand) was a disaster. It didn't break down in the food processor. Fortunately, I had not yet put the filling in the pie crust. I tried cooking the tapioca in the cherry juices, but it still did not break down. So, the filling was a do-over and I thickened the filling with cornstarch.

Molly Watson

Way too much butter. Tasted strongly of butter.The side of the crust slipped down into the bottom of the pie pan because the large amount of butter made the crust too slippery to hold onto the pie pan.


Ok this crust is SO EASY and SO GOOD. I used sour cherry pie filling my friend had given me from a local orchard and blind baking the crust first ensured it was so crispy and butter and flaky. No soggy bottoms here! Will be returning to this recipe for a foolproof fruit pie crust over and over again.


I think they’re might be too much butter in the pie crust recipe or the 1st baking time is too long. I’ll need to watch the pie crust a little better the next time I make this as it burned on the edges for me in the initial bake.


Made this with sour cherries I picked at a NYT-sponsored event at Hallstedt Homestead, a local orchard near Traverse City MI. Thank you NYT! It was beautiful and delicious.

Carolyn Strecker

This is my second comment. I got cut off on my first. I am conflicted about the tapioca. The filling set up beautifully and tasted great. But it was cloudy and you could see and feel the tapioca pearls even though they were tiny. I would give real consideration to using cornstarch next time

Carolyn Strecker

This pie came out great. I used fresh sour cherries from the farm market that I had pitted and frozen a couple of weeks before. Two comments: Firstly, my top crust circles shrank and looked kind of silly on the pie. I ended up using a bit of leftover dough to make more circles to fill in the gaps. If I make the pie again I will follow another commenter’s advice to bake the circles separately and apply them to the pie after it’s baked. Secondly, I’m a bit conflicted about using tapioca.


I second baking only once in Pyrex on the bottom rack, starting at 425’ for 20 mins and the dropping to 350 for the remaining time. Definitely suggest some tinfoil in the bottom of the stove to catch drips.Thaw and strain frozen cherries thoroughly and you will still have a lot of juice after letting them sit in the Kirsch. Adding the full 3T of tapioca will help with the excess juice. I did a lattice crust w the cream & sugar topping, only used the tried & true Smitten Kitchen 102 recipe.


This is a great recipe. I appreciate how firm the pie filling was as some of mine historically haven't set up as well as this one. I did put a full upper crust on it as that is what my family prefers. I used frozen dark sweet cherries I got from Costco and it came out beautifully and not too sweet.

heavy cream?

Where does the heavy cream go? I see it in the ingredients but can’t find in in the preparation?

Twice-Baked Cherry Pie

Can be made with two cans pitted sour cherries (Oregon brand). Drain cherries reserving liquid. Weigh cherries and add in enough liquid to come to 1-½ to 1-¾ lbs. Increase tapioca to 3 Tbs. Add sugar/tapioca mixture as directed. Better to pre bake top decoration / crust on baking sheet to keep decorations flat. Take them out when they are just browning on edge. Be creative with top crust—circles, squares, stars, candy canes, ???


Had two quarts of sour cherries from the market, which looked to be about six cups pitted and supplemented with 4 apricots and 1 plum to fill the pie. I used 2.5 tbs of tapioca and the filling was still pretty liquid. *Very* tart (probably just my specific cherries) so I’d add more sugar next time if they’re the same level of tartness. Also tried adding maybe a 1/4 tsp of five spice but neither that nor the cinnamon really come through so I would maybe double both.


I added 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp almond extract as others suggested. I also used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all purpose flour for the crust (figured the nuttiness of wheat flour would balance the cherries nicely.) Turned out amazing. My husband said it was the best pie I’ve ever made.


I've made this 3 times using only ¾ cup of sugar. It's still plenty plenty sweet. Next time I'm going to see what happens at ½ cup. That Tbsp of Brandy is flavor magic!

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Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie Recipe (2024)


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