Twin Peaks Cherry Pie

22 July 2012

Post image for Twin Peaks Cherry Pie

To me, nothing sounds more American than a cherry pie. If you have read the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, you will no doubt be familiar with (if not envious of) Stephanie’s calorie-infused, sugar-laden diet. This bounty-hunter’s voracious appetite spans from savoury delights like Popeye’s spicy fried chicken and biscuits to an endless array of snacks featuring donuts, waffles, Pop-Tarts and Twinkies. It is through reading books like these and growing up watching American TV shows and movies that I was introduced to the delectable world of American diner desserts, featuring banana cream pie, pumpkin pie and, of course, cherry pie.

So when the opportunity arose in the past few years to travel to the US for extended periods of work, I finally had the occasion to actually seek out these classic American desserts and see if their taste was anything close to what I had imagined them to be.

My first taste of a cherry pie was at a colleague’s home when she brought out a selection of slices of pie for dessert, producing a perfect sampling board for my husband and I. My first bite into the cherry pie revealed that the filling was almost like a jam or compote, though absent of any bits of fruit. I loved the wobbly, ruby red filling and was surprised to find that it wasn’t too sweet. And as our host admitted to having bought dessert that evening, I secretly wondered if perhaps a homemade cherry pie could taste even better, possibly with more of a fruity filling.

Despite being a true American dessert, this cherry pie recipe actually comes from a popular Swedish cook, Leila Lindholm, from her book, One More Slice. Lindholm seems to be as smitten as I am with American diner desserts and her cherry pie recipe takes inspiration from the cult TV series of the early 90s, Twin Peaks, in which one of the show’s characters, Agent Cooper (played by the dashing Kyle MacLachlan), habitually ordered a slice of cherry pie with his coffee whenever he visited the local diner. Now that I have had a taste of a cherry pie, I can see why one can become rather fixated with this classic dessert.

Leila Lindholm’s Twin Peaks Cherry Pie is comprised simply of a cherry compote which has been thickened with cornflour and enhanced with the flavourings of a vanilla bean, and encased in a lovely shortcrust pastry. As the filling is generously made with fresh cherries, it is perhaps best to make this pie when cherries are at the peak of their season and are, therefore, priced more reasonably. I daresay you could make this pie with frozen cherries but it is always best to use fresh if that option is available to you.

The most time-consuming part of this recipe is to stone the cherries. If you have a special cherry or olive pitter, that would come in handy here. Otherwise, you could remove the stones by slicing a cheek off the cherries and try to extract the stones that way. Either way, you will have to handle each and every cherry individually, unless you have a more fancy gadget that can stone a lot of cherries in one go.

Once the task of stoning the cherries is out of the way, the filling is quite easy to make and the vanilla partners wonderfully with the sweetness of the cherries. The only cherry pie I have tried was comprised mostly of a thickened red cherry juice and had very few pieces of fruit throughout. So how chunky you want your pie is up to you – if you like the filling to be more smooth, cook the filling for longer to allow the fruit to break down more. The cornflour is what will ultimately thicken the cherry filling, preventing it from making the pastry go soggy and also giving the filling some body when you cut into the pie.

The pastry itself is super quick and easy to make. What surprised me most was that it did not shrink at all upon baking. Once cooked, it was light, buttery and crumbly – just the type of pastry you want in a pie. I think I will be returning to this pastry recipe again and again in the future. In fact, Lindholm has a whole chapter devoted to American pie desserts in One More Slice that I foresee some more Americana-inspired desserts in the very near future.

The end product was a pretty quick and easy pie which tastes just as it is described, packed full of cherries and little else. The pie is delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, but I wouldn’t refuse a slice of cold cherry pie either.

A brief word of warning before you view the recipe photos below … there are quite a few to get through! I got a bit carried away with the camera …

A Few Notes

* The measurements given above are as per the original recipe from Leila Lindholm.

* For US measurements, or to see the original recipe in full, please visit Leila Lindholm’s website.

* I used a 22 cm tart tin for this cherry pie. The recipe produced enough pastry for this size tart tin with some leftover.

* I bought 1.8 kg of cherries to make this pie and, after removing the stones, stems and any dodgy fruit, I was left with a mere 1.1 kg of cherries. I nevertheless proceeded to make the cherry filling as per the recipe which turned out very well, despite having less cherries than required.

* For my 22 cm tart tin, I needed only half of the cherry filling.

* I kept the remaining cherry filling in the fridge and made another cherry pie several days later when we had some friends over for dinner. The pie was made a few hours in advance of baking and I kept it, uncovered, in the fridge. When it was time to sit down to the main course, I quickly brushed the pie with the egg wash and sprinkled it with sugar, before popping the pie into the oven and serving it warm at the table for dessert. This time, the only change I made to the recipe was to sprinkle the pie with granulated white sugar instead of demerera sugar, and I found that I preferred the former. The granulated white sugar is perhaps more common on pies and it gave the crust a lovely sweetness against the slightly tart cherry filling.

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Vy 22 July 2012 at 8:04 pm

Looks delicious! I hope I can get some cherries in time to make it for my husband!

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:27 am

If cherries are in season where you are at the moment, it would be well worth making this pie :-) I made it twice in one week – that’s how good it is!

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Caroline 22 July 2012 at 9:20 pm

Oh my, this is unbelievably gorgeous!! I love cherry pies but have never tried to make one myself…with this great recipe, I think it’s finally time I try one! Thanks for posting!

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:29 am

Thanks, Caroline! I was quite surprised by how easy this recipe was. Once the cherries are stoned and the filling is made, the rest was pretty quick. Hope you’ll give it a try whilst cherries are still in season.

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Hannah 22 July 2012 at 10:39 pm

Oh my goodness what are you doing to me, I’m trying to diet! This looks devine, I will surely try it!

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:30 am

LOL!! Well, I think you could argue that this pie is full of goodness, given that it is full of fruit ;-) If you’re a Twin Peaks fan, I think you need to try this recipe!

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Louise Sutton 22 July 2012 at 11:28 pm

Having been a big fan of Twin Peaks, how could I go past this ? It looks wonderful, I can’t wait to try it. Love your blog Thahn!

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:32 am

G’day Louise!! Lovely to hear from you here. I think any fan of Twin Peaks will appreciate a cherry pie and this recipe is a keeper :-) Hope you are well, xx

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Dina 23 July 2012 at 4:06 am

what a gorgeous pie! i love the crust. it looks like the perfect cherry pie.

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:34 am

Thanks, Dina. The pastry here was a dream to make and work with and produced a really lovely crust all over. I will definitely be using this pastry recipe again and again.

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The Patterned Plate 23 July 2012 at 6:51 am

Oh. My. God. That’s a damn fine pie if I ever saw one! The pastry looks perfect and the filling is lush!!! I adore all the process photos Thanh, so neat, haha! Stellar post, am clawing at the screen!

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The Patterned Plate 23 July 2012 at 6:52 am

Think my favourite shot is the one where there the filling has leaked out from between the pastry. Fantastic!

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:38 am

Aww, thanks Carrie! Despite being a quick and simple recipe, I didn’t realise how many different steps this recipe required until I was done photographing. Lo and behold, I had to remove about 5 photos and combine the steps here and there. So after all of the photos that I took, I was quite relieved by how well the pie turned out :-) I can’t remember the last time I baked pastry and it didn’t shrink, so I think this particular recipe is perfect because how the pie is shaped once it goes in the oven is how it will look coming out. Plus it tastes really delicious! I’m looking forward to trying more of Leila Lindholm’s recipes.

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Paula 23 July 2012 at 8:52 am

Hey!!! That’s funny!!! I have read some Stephanie Plum’s!! What about the hamster and granny?? They’re funny books for summer, so the connection you have made with the pie and the book is very summery to me :P

I love cherries, so this pie is one I like a lot. But I have always make it “open”, and I like your covered version. Nice colour with the touch of sugar! :)

Great step by step, and wonderful photos, I love them!!!!!!!!

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 9:45 am

Oh yay, another Stephanie Plum fan!! I agree that the books are great to read over the summer when you need something light and funny. I have a bit of catching up to do, though … I think I am only up to 12 or 13. Have you seen the movie which was released recently for “One for the Money”? I haven’t yet.

You could certainly make this cherry pie “open” with perhaps strips of pastry over the top in a lattice pattern. I probably should have done that with the second pie for something different!

And I’m glad to hear that you like my photos, even if there were probably too many in this post ;-)

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Paula 17 August 2012 at 4:07 pm

Wow, this summer vacation my boyf went for a few days to the beach, back to my parents home, and we saw One for the money, the film!! I didn’t even know that it was already, so many years waiting for it, until you said it in the comment.
I made some sandwiches (yea, a meat pie would be more consequent), and this pie to see the film, and we enjoy all! So, thanks for the recipe, and thanks for the mention about the film!! It was funny, you have to see it!! But I thought Ranger would be a little different :P

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eat, little bird 17 August 2012 at 4:56 pm

Ah you’ve seen the movie?! I showed my husband the trailer and he wasn’t interested in seeing it at all! So I will have to watch it one evening when he is away. I would be curious to see which actor plays which character from the book. Now that you have mentioned Ranger, I will be even more curious!

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Paula 18 August 2012 at 10:22 am

He’s one of the actors from CSI (I think Miami, but I’m not sure…). He goes well with the role, but with the description of the book about Ranger, I had another idea :P
Must confess the actor looks more handsome than the book, for me :P
If you make this pie, like I did, to see the film, everybody would see it, I used that game :P

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eat, little bird 18 August 2012 at 11:21 am

Now I really want to see the movie! :-) Good idea … I will bribe my husband with some food ;-)

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Jennifer @ Delicieux 23 July 2012 at 8:53 am

Thanh your pie looks absolutely gorgeous and the pastry is so perfect. I love the sound of this pastry too, especially if it doesn’t shrink.

I haven’t tried cherry pie before, but it’s actually on the list of things to do when we are on our honeymoon in the US in September.

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 10:45 am

Have a fabulous time in the US for your honeymoon! We also had our honeymoon in the US and loved every minute of it. It’s such a fun and diverse country to visit. Having now sampled a long list of American desserts which I could only previously imagine the taste, I feel more comfortable recreating them at home. Strangely, I don’t have too many cookbooks by American chefs, something I should rectify soon! But I love that Leila Lindholm also seems to be quite inspired by American desserts and, given that this recipe worked out so well for me, I can’t wait to try more of her recipes.

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Sam-I-am 23 July 2012 at 9:17 am

You just make me want to copy you in the aim of seeming as original in thought and finess as you! LOVE the post and all that is in it! :)

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 10:46 am

Thanks, Sam! I thought of you when I was making this pie because I know that you and I both love a particular cake with cherries … something I hope to post shortly :-)

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Rushi 23 July 2012 at 10:45 am

Oooooh yum!!! That looks divine. By the time I got to the end of the post I was drooling :D

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eat, little bird 23 July 2012 at 10:48 am

LOL!! I take that as a compliment ;-) Despite having eaten 2 cherry pies last week (shared, of course!), I wish I could have one more slice!

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Julia Levy 23 July 2012 at 9:09 pm

I’m a Stephanie fan too, all the way up to Explosive 18, read the lot and all the ones in-between too!

I’m not however a fan of cooked cherries but your pie looks amazing and cuts so well. And such a rich coloured pastry. Everyone says ‘as american as apple pie’ but really it’s the cherry pie isn’t it. My mum bought a fabulous pie dish in the States years ago with pictures of cherries and a recipe in, lovely.

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eat, little bird 24 July 2012 at 9:23 am

Ooh someone else I can chat to about the Plum books! :-) I think I have most of the books in the series but somehow lost momentum a few summers ago. I have a lot of catching up to do! But I like that they are quick and easy reads.

I wasn’t exactly sure if I was going to like cooked cherries, especially since I absolutely love them in their natural state. So I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about buying so many cherries and “experimenting” with them for this recipe. But one taste of the cherry compote when it was made and I was sold :-)

I also came across quite a few cute pie dishes in the US and desperately wanted to buy them, but do you know if the pies still come out crispy when baked in a ceramic pie dish? This was my main hesitation.

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Julia Levy 24 July 2012 at 11:36 pm

Ina Garten does her pies in ceramic dishes so I’d say yes for a crisp bottom. Also my mum’s quiches have crisp bottoms. Can’t hurt to try.

Last year we had so many cherries of our tree in desperation i made jam, yuck!!! Everyone else loved it but me!

Jo’s now hooked on SP and is on Seven Up. Did you know One for the money cake out as a movie last year? Kathryn Heigle (of 27 dresses) played Stephanie!

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eat, little bird 25 July 2012 at 5:31 pm

Ah true, my quiches also have fairly crisp bottoms. Bummer – should have bought those pie dishes when I saw them! ;-)

You have a cherry tree?? Lucky you! I would, for sure, try this cherry pie. Though, I would be more tempted just to eat the cherries fresh.

I haven’t seen the movie yet but it’s on my list!

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Nicola 23 July 2012 at 11:22 pm

I’m watching Twin Peaks right now! Just discovered it was on the Horror channel so couldn’t resist, I haven’t seen it in years. Cherries are my absolute favourite fruit and I adore cherry pie! My gran used to make it for me but I’ve never made one myself because my husband hates cherries with a passion (boo!) Maybe one day I will find an excuse to make one :-) By the way I love One more Slice, it’s a brilliant book! The nutella brownies are delicious :-)

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eat, little bird 24 July 2012 at 9:25 am

The Horror channel?! Ooh you are brave! I briefly considered downloading the series the other day to re-watch them and then decided not to … I think I’m still a scaredy cat!

Those nutella brownies do sound really good … off to look up the recipe now! Thanks for the tip!

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Ira Rodrigues 29 July 2012 at 5:24 pm

How I wish I could eat this dessert one day…
Looking at your fresh cherry alike looking at a basket of diamonds :) and if i make a cheery pie like yours it would the same like making a dessert of most precious jewel that because those cherries are pricey in Bali, 100g for 15bucks :(

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eat, little bird 29 July 2012 at 6:29 pm

Yikes! That’s incredibly expensive! Cherries are not cheap in Switzerland either, but there is some local supply, as well as from neighbouring France. So during the peak of their season, the price of cherries are not too indulgent. But after so many years of living here, one realises that everything is expensive in Switzerland ;-) I was hesitant to cook with such an expensive ingredient, but the risk paid off as this cherry pie is really, really worth it. Hopefully you will get to try this dessert one day … maybe plan a trip to the US? ;-)

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Jo 30 July 2012 at 12:34 pm

My hubby adores cherry pie – apparently it was the one pud his dad would make & he’d do it from scratch. I must make this – he’d be so thrilled to have a childhood favourite again. Perhaps something to make for our up and coming wedding anniversary :0)

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eat, little bird 6 August 2012 at 12:04 pm

Wow, his dad used to make cherry pie from scratch?! I’m impressed! In some respects, I feel a pie is a wintry dessert but cherries are only in season in summer … I might give this recipe a try with frozen cherries when the weather gets cooler. I’ve already made two this summer which has been quite indulgent, but they are so delicious!

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NYinRome 11 August 2012 at 10:21 am

I love it! Think I need to check out this book….thanks for bringing it to my attention. The photos are so perfect, cherries are still available here….hmmmm…if I could only muster up the courage to turn my oven on.
It’s always a pleasure to read and oggle your blog, :D

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eat, little bird 13 August 2012 at 8:45 pm

Thank you!! I know what you mean about the heat at the moment. Thankfully, it is usually short-lived where I am so I try to enjoy every moment of it :-) Cherries are still abundant here at the moment too and it takes willpower to not eat them just as they are!

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Petra 8 September 2012 at 12:54 am

Why not take the pips out when you cooked them a couple of minutes? Might make it easier. I love all Leilas recepies :).

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eat, little bird 10 September 2012 at 4:48 pm

That’s a good idea! Although, fishing out the pips after cooking them a little might be fiddly as well, but it would certainly be a good option if you don’t have a cherry pitter. I have yet to try more of Leila’s recipes but I’m looking forward to it.

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deecochran 25 September 2012 at 5:42 pm

Your recipes are just beautiful! I love the way you make “pictures” out of them, and most sound just delish! =)

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eat, little bird 28 September 2012 at 8:33 pm

Thank you! I have a lot of fun making these recipe photos so I’m glad that you enjoy them :-)

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Aoife 18 February 2013 at 10:37 pm

I’m a novice baker, but I’ve been asked by a family friend to make the birthday cake for her Twin Peaks themed party – this is the clearly perfect recipe! I’ve never made any kind of pie before, and not used cherries in my baking. You’ve been it seem very straightforward and I look forward to trying this recipe out (:

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eat, little bird 19 February 2013 at 5:05 pm

Good luck! This is a really delicious pie which I hope you and everyone else will enjoy.

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Aoife 4 April 2013 at 4:56 pm

I recently rediscovered this site, and wanted to share my experience with this recipe!

I made this February (and I live in Scotland) so finding fresh cherries proved to be incredibly difficult. I was only able to get half the required amount in fresh cherries, so I used jarred cherries for the other half. They mix of different cherries was delicious – the jarred cherries had been in syrup and gave the filling a deliciously sweet taste, I think if I used this method next time I wouldn’t add as much lemon juice, as it kind of counteracted the sweetness of the soaked cherries and wound up overwhelming the filling a little.

My crust, sadly, didn’t look half as nice as your does but I liked the finish the sugar gave to it.

I never actually got to try the finished product, as it was for someone else, but I’ve been told it was delicious. I really, really enjoyed making this and I’ll definitely be using this recipe in the future.

Thanks for sharing! (:

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eat, little bird 12 April 2013 at 2:47 pm

Thank you for popping back to leave your feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe, although I wish you would have been able to try a slice :-) Using different types of cherries in this recipe sounds interesting and I’m glad to hear that it worked. I can’t wait for cherries to be back in season so I can make this pie again!

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Lala 28 March 2013 at 10:06 am

I’m baking it on Easter, can’t wait! Looks amazing <3

btw; Where did you get this amazing font? :)

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Telita 10 June 2013 at 3:44 am

I’m baking this!

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Gabrielė 21 June 2013 at 4:10 pm

i’m totaly baking this, but firstly i would like to ask if the cherries are sweet or are they sour in your recipe ?

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eat, little bird 21 June 2013 at 11:17 pm

Hello,
I used fresh sweet cherries in this recipe. I hope you will enjoy this delicious pie!

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Csilla 23 June 2013 at 9:46 am

This recipe looks wonderful! I am so gonna make this today! :) I am also infatuated with American diner and all kinds of desserts, even though I know they are not the super fancy French desserts. Maybe that is exactly the charm of them :) Simple and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

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eat, little bird 23 June 2013 at 12:49 pm

This cherry pie is really lovely and, I think, perhaps better than what you can find in most American diners ;-) It’s cherry season at the moment and I’m planning on making this pie again very soon. I can’t wait!

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Kristine Hansen 3 July 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi “eat, little bird”, I was wondering, is it possible to make half a portion, was a bit short when it came to the cherries?:)

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eat, little bird 4 July 2013 at 10:58 am

Yes, I think you could. For my size pie tin, I ended up with double the amount of cherry filling that I needed. I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

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Sally 23 August 2013 at 5:09 pm

I’ve just moved from London to Kent, ‘the garden of England’ where this year the cherry trees have been laiden for weeks. I’ve been buying an old fashioned variety Braeburn blacks, which are deep red and luscious. My son found your blog and made this one very hot evening; the pastry looking unpromising by the time he got it in the oven! But it emerged picture perfect! No soggy bottom. Crisp and totally delicious and the pastry didn’t shrink. We eeked it out between 3 of us over 3!! Meals. Goodness knows how. Thank you. Lovely blog and photos.
I’m about to try a savoury dish from you but a bit stuck for choice!

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eat, little bird 24 August 2013 at 10:30 pm

Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! I’m so happy to hear that your son’s cherry pie turned out deliciously. I don’t know if cherries are usually so abundant at this time of the year, but I still see them sold at the farmers’ markets each week here. I bought a batch of cherries the other week which were a bit past their prime so I turned them into this cherry pie and was reminded of how much I love this simple recipe. Enjoy browsing the recipes here :-)

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Faye 21 January 2014 at 6:44 pm

Hi eat, little bird,
Just wondering if I could you frozen cherries, fresh ones are not in season and very expensive here in the UK. I thought as long as you drain them as they thawed it would be ok?
Thankyou
Faye

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eat, little bird 21 January 2014 at 10:57 pm

Hi Faye,
I think frozen cherries would work fine in this recipe. You could probably cook them from frozen, although they might just take a bit more time to cook. If there is more liquid than you would have with normal cherries, I would just add more cornflour (mixed with lemon juice) to thicken the mixture sufficiently. I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

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