Here’s my big problem with cherries – I love them so, so much in their pure form that I almost never bake or do anything with them because before I do, I end up eating them all.  I wait all year long for cherry season and when it is finally here, I eat them like nobody’s business.  Literally every day.  When I saw the recipe for this sweet cherry pie though, I needed to try it right away.  My sweet Ben went out and bought a double allotment of cherries the very next day so I had some to bake with and still plenty to eat.

This recipe does have a few odd techniques, like adding a plum to the mix and using ground up tapioca as a thickener.  I sometimes wonder if Cook’s Illustrated makes things more complicated than they need to be, but then the recipes always turn out perfectly so I guess they are right.  Same situation here – this was without a doubt the best cherry pie I have ever made (or tasted).  They do suggest grinding the tapioca in a coffee grinder or food processor, but I don’t have a coffee grinder and my food processor was temporarily out of commission at the time.  Instead, I put it in a plastic bag and tried to crush it with a rolling pin, but I don’t think it made any difference.  It didn’t even matter in the end because I couldn’t tell at all.  Next time I’m not sure I’ll bother with that step, but I do think the addition of the plum was important in adding a tart counterbalance to the sweet cherries.  Served with some homemade vanilla ice cream, this is a perfect summer dessert.


Double crust pie dough (or your preferred pie crust)
2 red plums, halved and pitted
6 cups pitted, halved sweet cherries (or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries), divided
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. instant tapioca, ground
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces

1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water


  • 01

    To make the filling, process the plums and 1 cup of the cherries in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 1 minute.  Strain the the puree through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids.  Add the remaining cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, tapioca and cinnamon to the bowl.  Mix well to combine; let stand for 15 minutes.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and place a baking sheet on an oven rack.  Line a 9-inch pie plate with a round of pie dough.  Transfer the cherry mixture to the dough-lined pie plate.  Scatter the butter pieces evenly over the fruit.  Top with the second round of pie dough.  Pinch the edges of the dough together in a fluted pattern.  Brush the top evenly with the egg wash.  Using a sharp paring knife, cut 8 evenly spaced slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.  Place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes.

  • 03

    Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350˚ F and continue baking about 30-40 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature so the filling has time to set up and thicken, 2-3 hours.  Slice and serve.