Presidential Cherry Pie

In honor of George (of course), the following recipe uses canned, frozen or bottled sour cherries. Canned cherry pie filling is a bright-red, gelatinous substance that bears only faint resemblance to the fruit from which it supposedly springs. Bakers who’ve used sour cherries know they’re well worth the effort. Hopefully your store carries these cherries; they’re a tawny red, rather than neon-colored. Many co-ops carry individually quick frozen sour cherries, which have a beautiful bright red color and unforgettable flavor.


  • One prepared double pie crust or your favorite recipe or
  • 5 to 6 cups sour cherries, packed in water or individually quick frozen
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca or 1/2 cup Pie Filling Enhancer
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional


1) Divide the dough in half, and roll one half into a 13″ circle. Transfer the circle to a 9″ pie pan.

2) Drain the cans of cherries, reserving 2/3 cup of water from one of them. Place the cherries and reserved liquid in a large mixing bowl.

3) Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca or Pie Filling Enhancer. Stir this into the cherries until everything is evenly combined.

4) Stir in the almond extract and salt. If you’re using tapioca, let the filling sit for 20 minutes before using it to fill the pie shell.

5) Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pan, and dot with butter, if desired.

6) Roll out the second crust and place it on top of the filling. Cut a design (two cherries? a hatchet?) into the top to vent steam, and squeeze/seal the top and bottom crusts together, fluting with your fingers or a fork. You may also choose to make a woven lattice crust.

7) Place the pie on a parchment-lined (to catch any spills) baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

8) Remove the pie from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing, so the filling can set.