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.
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.
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.
Want to learn how to make a lattice pie crust? Watch the video for step-by-step details!
- 1 batch foolproof pie crust, which makes 2 pie dough rounds
- 1 cup (7 ounces; 200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds Bartlett pears (about 4 pears)
- 2 pounds sour cherries, thawed if frozen and drained of excess juice
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash, or 2 tablespoons half and half
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roll one round of pie dough into a large round no more than 1/4-inch thick and place in a 9-inch pie plate.
- Dock the crust by pricking holes across the bottom of the crust with a fork or tip of a paring knife.
- Chill the pie crust in the refrigerator while you prep the filling.
- Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and salt together in a mixing bowl to dissolve any lumps.
- Core the pears and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Toss the pears, sour cherries, and cranberries together in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar mixture.
- Pour into the chilled pie crust.
- Roll out the second round of pie dough.
- Cut into strips to weave into a lattice pie crust, or leave whole for a full double crust pie.
- Top the pie with the second crust as desired (cutting slits in the top crust if making a full double crust), trimming the and crimping the pie edges.
- Brush the top crust with egg wash or half and half.
- Sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes more, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
- Cover the edges of the crust with foil if it starts to brown too much before the filling is set.
- Cool the pie completely on a wire rack before serving.
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