Sour cherry pie is one of my all time favorites. Growing up there was a bakery across the street called Taylor’s that always had sour cherry pie with a crumble topping in the window. I still remember the taste, how revelatory it was, and how I never wanted to stop eating it. I’m not a big baker, but I’ve gotten pretty good at mixed berry pie that I make a few times each summer, usually in the Berkshires. Then last July I saw sour cherries at the farmer’s market and ventured into new territory, with the help of this recipe that our friend Rhonda cut out for me from the New York Times. I skipped most of the steps (no thank you to instant tapioca) but it came out insanely good.
So when Beth and I saw sour cherries at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda last week, I jumped up and down, did a little dance, and screamed “PIE!” Ok, I didn’t scream. Not in the middle of the market. But I did get very excited and proclaim that I would make a pie.
We also had some other exciting booty from our market visit. I waxed poetic about the fresh chickpeas already, I let them steal the spotlight. But they weren’t the only goodie we found that day. The same woman who was also selling chickpeas in the Damascus Gate market has another large box of black-studded white fruit. We couldn’t make out what they were. “They look like bugs,” declared Beth. She was right. “Ma ze?” We asked, pointing. “Tutim hadash,” new strawberries, she said. At least that’s what I thought she said. Our faces lit up with curiosity and excitement. She pointed into the crate, beckoning us to try them. Subtle, slightly sweet, juicy. We smiled big, wide smiles that come from tasting something new for the first time. She replied with an even bigger grin, happy to have shared this knowledge with us, and quickly began filling up a bag of this strange fruit.
We later realized she had not been saying “tutim hadash” but “tutim lavan,” which means white strawberries, not new. It turns out we had purchased white mulberries, which here they call white strawberries. Culinary mystery solved. Well, kind of. Now I needed to figure out what to do with them. After a few days there were many fallen soldiers in my pound of mulberries, and I knew I had to act fast. Mulberry lesson #1: they don’t keep long, even in the refrigerator, so enjoy them immediately.
I found this recipe for mulberry and sour cherry pie and realized I could give up some space in my precious pie to the mulberries. And so it was. Although that recipe gave me the gumption to move forward with this pie, I didn’t follow it in the slightest. I didn’t follow by beloved New York Times recipe either. I winged it. I used frozen puff pastry for crust (I had some leftover from making mustard batons), and I used very little sugar. But I enjoy the tart taste of sour cherries. If you like a sweeter pie, go ahead and add more. Just a little cornstarch helped hold the whole thing together. Divine.
Any kind of mulberry may be used, or they can be omitted all together in exchange for more cherries. And, while sour cherries are best, regular cherries would also work well here. In fact, you can throw any berry in here (for a mixed berry pie I’d add some lemon juice). For another awesome mulberry recipe, check out Beth’s Champagne and White Mulberry granita.
- 1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 2 cups pitted, halved sour cherries
- ½ cup white mulberries, halved
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out half the puff pastry and push into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the crust. Put in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. To avoid having it puff up too much, either place a foil-wrapped baking weight or brick on it, or poke at it once in a while (my very professional method). Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix together the cherries, mulberries, and sugar and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mix in the corn starch until you cannot see any white. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Roll out the other half of the puff pastry and lay on top. Trim and pinch down. Cut four slits in the top to allow air to come through. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (you'll probably want to turn the oven down to 350F, but mine needs to be this high), or until top is lightly browned and filling bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.