Mr. Washington's Cherry Pie

Recipe by Susan Reid

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 coops carry individually quick frozen sour cherries, which have a beautiful bright red color and unforgettable flavor.

35 mins
40 to 45 mins
1 hr 20 mins
one 9" pie
Mr. Washington's Cherry Pie - select to zoom
Mr. Washington's Cherry Pie - select to zoom
Mr. Washington's Cherry Pie - select to zoom


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Divide the dough into two pieces, making one chunk slightly larger. Roll the larger piece of dough 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. For frozen cherries, just place in a bowl as is. 

  3. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and Instant ClearJel 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 frozen cherries, 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.

  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.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Flour, cornstarch, tapioca, ClearJel… how much thickener should you use? For a practical look at all the options, see our Fruit Pie Thickeners Guide.

  • Let King Arthur's pastry pros show you how to bake your best pie ever: from flaky crust to perfect filling, we can help! Check out our Pie Baking Guide now.

  • Why is there such a range in volume for fruit pie filling from one recipe to the next? Some recipe writers simply like more fruit in their pie. And some fruits (think raspberries) shrink more than others (e.g., apples) during baking, so you need to start with greater volume to yield an amply-filled pie.