This is a recipe my Mom found in a magazine during the first few months of my parents’ marriage when they were living in Moses Lake, Washington in 1956. I’ve never seen another recipe quite like it and of course, it is a family favorite.
If you can find frozen red tart cherries, you can use all frozen cherries or use a mixture of canned and frozen cherries for this filling.
520 g or 20 ounces (2 15 oz. cans) red tart cherries (not sweet or sweet dark), drained, reserve the cherry liquid
150 g or 3/4 cup sugar
35g or 1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
125 ml or 1/2 cup reserved cherry liquid
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (can also use or add 1 teaspoon Amaretto)
1-2 drops red food coloring (optional)
1-2 tablespoons butter, cubed
2 rounds of pie crust, preferably homemade
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a cookie sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Drain the cherries and save the liquid. While the mixture is cooling, roll out two pie crusts. Place one crust in the bottom of a regular (not deep dish) 9-inch pie plate.
- Mix together the sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan. Make sure there aren’t any lumps of flour (you can use a whisk if you like). Place the saucepan over medium heat. Stirring the flour and sugar mixture constantly, add 1/2 cup of the cherry liquid. Continue stirring until there are no lumps in the mixture. Continue heating the mixture, stirring occasionally with a heat-proof rubber spatula. [You can increase the heat to medium-high at this point, but do not walk away and stir more often.] Heat the mixture until it is just boiling. It should be thickened and coat the back the rubber spatula. Remove from the heat. If the mixture has gotten too thick, add a little more cherry liquid a teaspoon at a time. Let the mixture sit and cool a little.
- While the mixture is cooling, roll out two pie crusts. Place one crust in the bottom of a regular 9-inch pie plate.
- Stir the food coloring and almond extract (amaretto, if using) into the flour, sugar, cherry liquid mixture. Add the drained cherries to the mixture and gently mix together. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared pie crust. Dot the top of the cherries with the cubed butter. Top the pie with the second crust and crimp the edges.
- Cut steam vents in the top crust. Sprinkle the top crust with granulated sugar or raw sugar if desired. Place the pie on the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes
- The crust should be golden and you should see a little bubbling of the filling through the vent holes in the top crust.