The first time I tasted a no-bake fresh fruit pie was two years ago when I was visiting family in the United States. A guest brought my parents two fresh blueberry pies. Fresh fruit loses a lot of its nutritional value when it’s cooked or baked, but this pie was just a crust smeared with cream cheese and filled with fresh blueberries, with a very light glaze. We ate the leftovers for breakfast for most of a week because fresh fruit is totally guilt-free and healthy!
On my recent berry-picking excursion, I also picked fresh cherries and ended up bringing home almost two kilos (over 4 pounds) of them. As delicious as they, those are a lot of cherries to munch on! As I was pulling dusty, sun-kissed cherries off the trees and dropping them into my basket, I already began to envision this fresh cherry pie. Concentrated cherry taste with none of the fresh, delicious flavor baked out.
Searching for a recipe, most “fresh cherry pie” recipes I found were baked pies make with fresh cherries, and “no-bake cherry pie” gave me a lot of recipes for cheesecake with cherry pie filling. What I wanted was a pie that would just showcase, contain, and highlight the cherries’ natural sweetness, not mask it with creams and syrups. I wanted to recreate that blueberry pie in cherry form. Here is what I came up with:
The three parts of this pie are the crust, fresh cherries, and light glaze. For the crust, you could use your favorite basic pie crust recipe. I used the King Arthur no-roll oil pie crust, exchanging 80% whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. I baked it for fifteen minutes before filling, and its mild, slightly salty flavor complimented the sweet, fresh cherries very nicely. I call this a no-bake pie even though the crust is baked in order to distinguish it from traditional, baked cherry pies. The cherry-pitting is the most time-consuming step in this pie, especially if you don’t have a cherry pitter, but it is well worth it. The glaze I kept simple, with just some chopped cherries simmered with sugar, water, lemon juice, and vanilla while I filled the pie crust with the fresh cherries.
Take advantage of fresh cherries while they are in season. You will want to make this pie every year.
No-Bake Fresh Cherry Pie Recipe
Your favorite pie crust or this one from the King Arthur site:
2 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup cold water
4-5 cups fresh cherries, halved and pits removed
1/2 cup fresh cherries, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Crust: Mix dry ingredients. Then add wet ingredients and mix into a dough. Press evenly into a pie pan (9-in/23 cm). Make sure there are no holes. Bake at 180C/350F for 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden. Cool before filling.
- Put the glaze ingredients into a small saucepan on medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the cherries are cooked, stirring occasionally to avoid burning or sticking to the pot.
- While the glaze is simmering, cut up as many cherries as you can fit into the crust.
- Drizzle glaze over the cherries.
- Served chilled with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or on its own.