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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