Cherry-Cranberry-Pear Pie: Summer and Fall in One Crust

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on November 5, 2012

You all know I’m a sour cherry hoarder. Friends and family can attest that I really do drag at least 12 pounds of cherries home from the orchard every summer, then divvy them up for jam, cocktails, pickling, tarts, and what is possibly the greatest dessert of all time: sour cherry-peach pie.


Sadly, the calendar and the weather are telling me very clearly that it’s November, not July, and the trees that once held bushels of cherries and peaches are bare. For we Northeasterners, we’re basically confined to nothing but apples and pears from here on out—until we spy the first peas, ramps, and strawberries that herald the return of spring.

But wait! There are cranberries, those zippy little beasties, filling baskets at farmer’s markets and popping up in the produce section. Cranberries are almost, if not quite, as soul-satisfying as my beloved sour cherries, bringing the sweetness and acidity I need in my life no matter the season.

fresh cranberries
And I’ve got an ace in the hole. At this very moment, two Ziploc bags lie in wait in the back of my freezer, keeping two pounds of sour cherries in suspended animation for one reason: the second-greatest pie of all time.

cherry cranberry pear pie
As much as I wanted to eat every last one of those sour cherries throughout July and August, I knew there would be payoff for freezing a few bunches for resurrection in the cold months of winter. I first put this pie on the Thanksgiving table in 2009, and its reception was strong and enthusiastic enough that I knew I’d found a new dessert tradition for my annual feast.

The sturdy, stalwart pears and zingy cranberries of autumn get a few fading rays of sunshine from the last of the warm-weather cherries. Summer, fall, and winter get tossed together in one pie crust. I’d be tempted to add a few tiny, jewel-like strawberries from the first months of spring if I had any, but I kind of think it’s perfect just the way it is.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

art and lemons November 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

Oh man, that pie is a looker. I’m supposed to be writing but I can’t resist a pie that boasts summer and fall goodness tucked in one flaky crust!

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Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies November 5, 2012 at 9:28 am

Picking those cherries with you is one of my favorite memories from this past summer. I’ve been saving my cherries too, partially because I remember this pie from last Thanksgiving! SO GOOD. Can’t wait to make it. :)

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Casey Barber Casey Barber November 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Amber, there will most definitely be a slice of pie with your name on it at this year’s Thanksgiving dessert buffet! Consider it claimed – aka virtually licked – by you as of right now.

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Shaina November 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

Truths: It is near impossible to get sour cherries in this part of the country. I’m on the hunt for a frozen source now.

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Casey Barber Casey Barber November 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Shaina, that’s terrible news. You’ll just have to come out to New Jersey and pick fresh cherries with Amber and me next summer.

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Sarah - A Beach Home Companion November 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

I trust you’ll still have a bag of sour cherries tucked in the back of the freezer next time I visit to make this pie? Hmmmm????

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Aimee @ Simple Bites November 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm

What a stunner, Casey! I haven’t had anything close to this, so I’m trying to imagine how great it is. I just might show up at Thanksgiving for a slice and find out.

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Casey Barber Casey Barber November 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

Aimee, your whole family is ALWAYS welcome at our Thanksgiving table – standing invitation. Even if you just come down from Montreal for dessert!

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Allison November 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

What an amazing looking pie! I used to think I didn’t like cherry pie – until last Thanksgiving that is. I’m a big fan now, thank goodness, and I think the cranberry cherry combo sounds divine!

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Tracy November 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

This looks seriously amazing. We had a terrible year for sour cherries this year, but I did manage to snag some for jam-making. I may have to set some aside though to make this pie!!

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