Gluten-free Cherry Pie

I have been away from baking for months. First it was my new job; building my practice took time and energy, and I treasured what I had left to recharge. Next, five months ago, I embarked on a diet that has been very successful, but that limited my choice of food. I just couldn’t bake what I couldn’t eat, it wasn’t enjoyable, and baking had lost its therapeutic magic.

Then it came this weekend. My daughter graduated from high school, and my younger son graduated from middle school – two important milestones that, even in a COVID world, deserved a celebration. So we gathered with our close family and threw a little brunch in our backyard.

As always, I asked my kids what they would like to have for dessert, and they both came up with their favorites. But I didn’t stop there. I then started wondering about what my in-laws would enjoy. Please, understand that we hadn’t hosted a gathering for months so the prospect of baking something that would please each guest was just very enticing.

Within a couple of weeks I planned, prepared, and baked. Pie and tart crusts were made in advance, and today everyone enjoyed their desserts – and some took them home too! In later posts I will share the recipes for the other baked goods, but this post is dedicated to my father-in-law’s favorite pie: Cherry Pie, gluten-free version.

I had never baked a cherry pie before. I own a few cookbooks on pies and tarts, so I looked for the best combination of all the recipes I could find. I discovered that a couple of recipes called for Clear Jel, and I decided to try it instead of cornstarch. Unfortunately, even after 20 years of being in the United States, I still think in metric, so I didn’t realize that I was buying 1.5 lbs of it … thank goodness I really liked the way it worked, leaving the filling less cloudy and not at all runny; Clear Jel is actually modified cornstarch. I also decided to do it right and use fresh sweet cherries, and so I bought a cherry pitter. My trash can looked like a massacre had just occurred, with all red splatters. I confess, I am a fan of the CSI series. Then I halved all the cherries to make sure that I had eliminated all the pits – which I recommend, since I found two that I had missed.

Finally, ready with my infallible double pie crust I made my father-in-law his cherry pie, gluten-free. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Gluten-free Cherry Pie

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: Dessert
Prep time

1

hour 
Cooking time

1

hour 

Ingredients

  • 1 Double gluten-free pie crust

  • 907 g Dark sweet cherries – I used fresh cherries but frozen would do well here – adjust the quantity to 850 g.

  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon Almond extract

  • 200 g Granulated sugar – 1 cup

  • 43 g Clearjel (or regular cornstarch) – 1/4 cup

  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt

  • pinch Nutmeg

  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy cream

  • As needed Demerara sugar

Directions

  • For the filling
  • Pit the cherries in a large saucepan. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts, granulated sugar, Clearjel (or cornstarch), salt and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly and heat over low/medium heat, bringing it to a boil and stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat and cook on low for 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before pouring into the prepared pie crust.
  • To assemble the pie
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Roll a disk of dough into a 12″ round. Transfer it to a 9″ pie pan and prick the bottom all over with a fork. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or freeze for 10.
  • Fill the lined pie plate with the cooled cherry filling.
  • On a floured work surface, roll the remaining dough into a 12″ round. Cut into strips for a lattice, or cut out shapes, whichever you like. Place the decorative top crust on the pie.
  • Brush the top crust with heavy cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling in the center. Remove the pie from the oven and cool it completely before slicing.

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