You’ve just got to smile at the thought of a bite of my sweet cherry pie balancing the flavors of fresh fruit accented with a spike of pomegranate liqueur all baked in a crisp, flaky pie crust. This is one delightful mouthful worth singing about.
And if you remember the song Cherry Pie (it’s fun to click and play the song while you make this recipe) by one-hit wonders Marvin and Johnny from the early 1950s, you have undoubtedly eaten more than your share of this iconic dessert pastry. Songs have been written about it, there are dozens of recipes online, and most every cookbook with a baking emphasis features it. Well, not to be outdone, I am adding my version here.
Cherries are not known for their appearance on the Louisiana food scene, but these days you can find them fresh in the produce aisles of most every food market. They don’t grow well in South Louisiana soil although I heard from one farmer in New Iberia that swears he is producing fruit every year. The temperate climate and lack of “chill hours” make the Deep South a difficult growing environment for cherries (grapes, too). That said, Southerners love cherries and make a variety of sweet and savory dishes with them.
Grown in a variety of states, I prefer the Bing variety versus the Rainier cherries. Bings are darker (red/black) with a classic balance of sweet and tart. The Rainiers are lighter in color (yellow/pink) and have a subtle taste profile. The Bing works well in my pie recipe, and when accented with a bit of pomegranate liqueur, it combines dark flavor in a bright and cheery filling for my pie.
Usually, I opt for a store-bought crust but not this time. I am falling back onto a tried and true recipe for pie dough that is surprisingly simple to make and ensures the flaky crust that is so important to this recipe. If done right, cherry pie should be a study in culinary contrast: sweet versus tart, smooth versus crunchy. This one reaches that perfect combination easily.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter, cut into chunks
- 5 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 4 cups fresh Bing cherries, stems and pits removed
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate liqueur
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt and combine. With a pastry cutter or tines of a fork, gradually cut in the cold butter and combine the mixture until it reaches the texture of coarse cornmeal.
- Gradually add the cold water until it is incorporated and roll the dough together with your hands to form a ball.
- Divide the ball into two smaller balls cover each with a wet paper towel to prevent drying out. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Make sure the cherry stems and pits have been removed and place the cherries into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice, butter, and pomegranate liqueur and mix with a large spoon. Using the back of the spoon, mash some of the cherries to release their juice. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the mixture and stir to combine. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- On a clean countertop or a large cutting board, sprinkle with flour and add one of the balls of dough. Flatten the dough ball down and begin rolling it out with a rolling pin dusted with flour. Roll into a 10-inch circle. In a 9-inch aluminum pie pan, add the sheet of dough and let the excess dough hand over the sides. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared pie dough.
- Using the same procedure as the first, roll out the second pie crust to approximately 10 inches. Gently add the second pie crust and using your fingers, pinch the edges together until they seal into a fluted pattern. Trim off any excess. Use a sharp knife to cut a hole in the center to vent the steam.
- In a small bowl, add the beaten egg and one tablespoon of water. Whisk to combine and brush the top and edges of the pie crust with the egg wash.
- Place the pie on a metal tray, center it in the preheated oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350ºF and bake until the crust is golden brown, about another 45 minutes. (Note: Keep an eye on the browning and cover with aluminum foil if darkening too much.)
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. The pie is best served at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE: If you like this Cajun cooking story and Cajun recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page. It’s quick and painless. You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new Cajun cooking stories and Cajun recipes are added. Thanks, George.