Recipe Review

Serious Eats’ Cherry Pie Recipe Taught Me Some Valuable Baking Lessons

published Jul 18, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

As I did my research for the best cherry pie recipe, I had to make a stop over at Serious Eats. The site’s carefully tested recipes and through explanation as to how they got there appeal to my methodical baker’s mind. Their cherry pie recipe is a fan favorite. It has an overwhelming number of five-star reviews, and one reviewer even said, “The BEST PIE ever! Do not deviate, do not fluctuate, obey the recipe, and glory will be yours.” With an endorsement with that, I had to give it a try.

Get the recipe: The Best Cherry Pie (With Fresh or Frozen Fruit) at Serious Eats

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

How to Make Serious Eats’ The Best Cherry Pie

First, make and prepare pie dough. Then combine cherries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and tapioca starch in a large bowl and stir. Next, pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and top with the remaining dough, making a lattice pattern. Chill the pie for 30 minutes. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and bake until the crust is golden-brown, about 1 hour. Tent the pie with foil and continue baking until the filling is bubbling, another 15 minutes. Cool the pie completely before serving with whipped cream or ice cream. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Serious Eats’ The Best Cherry Pie

I initially thought there might be too much tapioca starch in this recipe, but in the end I found that it gave the filling structure. It was slightly loose, but not runny. The flavor of the pie was well-balanced: not too sweet, and slightly tart. This pie let the cherries sing. It’s a decent slice of pie, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the best ever. 

It’s also worth noting this was the messiest pie to bake. With a lattice topping, the filling bubbled over, hardened around the crimped edges, and burned. What spilled over onto the sheet pan under the pie created a glue to the pie pan and sheet pan. Although that was a mess, it’s worth noting that this is a good reminder to bake your pies on a sheet pan so those bubbling juices don’t end up at the bottom of your oven.

When I first read the recipe I was a bit concerned about the glass pie pan, which I’m not a fan of because when I bake in glass I’ve noticed that the pie crust shrinks significantly. But I’m always up for being proven wrong, so I pressed forward with the recipe as written. In the end, the dough did shrink, which didn’t help with the exploding pie filling. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

If I Make Serious Eats’ The Best Cherry Pie Again

I didn’t see much benefit in using tapioca starch to thicken the filling. It was a familiar texture similar to tossing fruit in all-purpose flour or cornstarch to help thicken juices. With a similar outcome, I’m not sure splurging for tapioca starch is necessary when you can use a mainstay pantry item instead. Also, given the pie’s mess and the drastic pie dough shrinkage, I’d bake this pie in an aluminum pan if I made it again. 

Overall rating: 6/10