Old-fashioned fresh cherry pie

Old-fashioned fresh cherry pie
  • Serves icon Serves 8
  • Time icon Takes 55 min to make, 30-35 min to bake, plus chilling, cooling and resting

Want to know how to make a cherry pie? If you were a fan of Twin Peaks in the early Nineties you’ll remember Agent Dale Cooper’s love of cherry pie and coffee – this really is the classic all-American dessert, and the best way to make it with fresh cherries.


  • 1kg fresh cherries
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 100g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 1 tbsp kirsch or cherry brandy (optional)

For the pastry

  • 350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 150g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 large free-range egg yolks
  • Cold milk


  1. Make the pastry. You can use a food processor if you like. So, either rub or blitz the flour and butter until you have crumbs. Add the sugar, almonds and egg yolks and either knead or pulse into a dough – you might need a dash of cold milk to bind it together. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pit the cherries. Toss with a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour to a paste with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.
  3. Put the sugar in a wide pan, scrape in the vanilla seeds. Over a low heat dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and cook, without stirring, until you have a dark caramel. Lower the heat and add the cherries and liqueur, if using. At first the mixture will seem unpromising, but as the cherries cook and their juices run, it will loosen. Once you have a loose, dark compote, add the cornflour mix and stir until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and pop in a baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use to line a 20cm x 4cm deep pie dish or fluted tart tin. Fill with the compote.
  5. Roll out the rest of the pastry to make a lid, then brush the edge of the base with water. Lay the lid on top of the pie and crimp the edges to seal. Brush with a little cold milk.
  6. Transfer the pie to the hot baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes. Dust with caster sugar and serve while hot or cold with vanilla ice cream and, for a real American taste: ‘a damn fine cup of coffee.’


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