The best cherry pie is a cherry crumble pie, and this beauty tastes like the essence of summer: deep red cherries, warm carefree days, and the magic that happens when an all-butter crust and crumble hit a hot oven. With a hint of fresh thyme and almond extract to enhance the rich and jammy flavor of the fruit, now is the time to turn cherries into pie.
Served up slightly warm and topped with scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream, there’s simply no better (summer) dessert than cherry pie.
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1-2 Tbsp vodka
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp arrowroot starch (or 4 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 cups fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
- Prepare dough: Grate 1/4 cup butter into a small bowl; cut remaining 1/4 cup butter into small cubes and place in a second bowl; chill bowls in freezer for 15 minutes. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; place bowl in freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Chill buttermilk and vodka in freezer for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle cubed butter over chilled flour mixture and toss with a spatula to coat. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until the biggest pieces are the size of peas; fold in grated butter. Drizzle buttermilk over flour mixture; use a spatula to gather dough together until it forms large clumps. If needed, add vodka 1 tablespoon at a time, then gently knead just to form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and flatten slightly to form a disc. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days, or place in a freezer bag and freeze 1 to 2 months).
- Prepare crumble topping: Whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until large crumbs form. Chill until ready to use.
- Place dough on a floured board and dust dough with flour. Roll out dough (roll dough in one direction, then lift up dough and rotate a quarter turn and roll, then repeat) until dough is a 12 to 13-inch circle. If dough starts to stick, use a bench scraper to lift dough from board. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie pan (see note below); trim overhang to one inch and crimp edges. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Place a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil in the oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Prepare filling: Whisk together sugar, arrowroot starch, and salt in a large bowl. Add cherries, thyme, vanilla, and almond extract to sugar mixture and toss together until combined. Spoon filling into chilled bottom crust and sprinkle with crumble topping. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake for 65 minutes, until golden and filling is bubbling. Cool pie on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before serving (filling thickens as it cools).
Pie pan: I used a 9 x 1.5″ pie pan. Arrowroot starch is a natural thickener and creates a smooth, shiny sauce. Available online or in the natural foods section.