This fresh sweet cherry crumb pie, with a buttery crust, gets topped with an almond crumb topping making it the perfect summer dessert to make! Fresh cherries are best, but frozen cherries can also be used. My secret to a thick cherry filling is cooking the filling first.
Ok I’m going to say it – I have never been a fan of cherry pie. Wait before you judge me too quickly… Let me say that differently. I’ve never been a fan of cherry pie…made with that canned cherry filling. Except I didn’t know that it was cherry pie that I wasn’t a fan of but it was the filling made with canned cherries was what I didn’t like.
Because a cherry pie made with fresh cherries? Oh yes. I’m a fan. BIG fan. And when you top the cherry pie with a almond crumb topping before baking? Be. Still. My. Heart.
So if you’re saying, but Heather I hate cherry pie too! I think this recipe will also turn you into a fan.
- What Makes This Cherry Pie Great
- Cherry Crumb Pie Ingredients
- How To Make This Cherry Crumb Pie
- Serving Suggestions
- Make Ahead And Storage Instructions:
- More Recipes To Try
What Makes This Cherry Pie Great
- Fresh or frozen cherries! Yes I love using fresh cherries in this filling, but if you can’t get a hold of fresh, or don’t want to go to the pain of pitting fresh cherries then you go use frozen making this much easier to put together.
- Thick filling: A cherry pie filling can sometimes be a bit liquidy, but by cooking the filling down first it helps to thicken the filling so you end up with perfectly thick, juicy cherry filling.
- Make ahead: You can make the different components ahead of time breaking up the process, or make the whole pie and then freeze it baked or unbaked making a perfect make ahead dessert!
Cherry Crumb Pie Ingredients
Pie Filling Ingredients
What kind of cherries are best? I made this pie with 100% sweet dark red cherries and also with 50/50 dark red cherries and Rainier cherries. If you use 100% Rainier cherries, your filling may be on the sweeter side and will affect the color. If you’re using sour cherries then I would recommend increasing the sugar to 1 cup, or more, depending on how sweet you like your pie.
Pie Crust Ingredients
Almond Crumb Topping Ingredients
How To Make This Cherry Crumb Pie
There are three different component to this pie and it can be very time consuming! But don’t worry you break up the process over a couple days to make it a bit more manageable.
1. Make The Filling
This has to be cooked and cooled so I like to make this first. You can also make this and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
- Pit and chop the cherries. You can use a cherry pitter to make fast work of it. I use a cherry pitter that pits multiple cherries at once. Or you can use a single cherry pitter. If you don’t own a cherry pitter, then try popping the cherry pit out with a toothpick or the small end of a round pastry tip. Then half the cherries.
- Cook the filling. I then cook down the cherries on the stovetop, with cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar until the filling has thickened about 8 minutes. As it’s cooking down I like to smash some of the cherries down with a potato masher.
- Add the extracts. Remove the filling from the stovetop and stir in the extracts.
- Chill the filling. The filling needs to cool down before it can be added to the pie crust, so I transfer the filling to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until cool (about 1 hour or up to 24 hours).
Fresh or Frozen Cherries? I used fresh cherries in this pie, but frozen cherries also work. If you are using frozen cherries, then half them while frozen then thaw them out before cooking them down.
2. Make the pie crust
The pie crust has to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes (up to 3 days) before you try to roll it out. So I like to make this next, then let it rest in the fridge while I prepare the almond crumb topping. If the crust has been sitting for awhile in the fridge (like a day or more) let the pie crust sit for 10 minutes at room temperature to make it easier to roll out).
- Combine the flour and salt. In a food processor combine the flour and salt and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter. Scatter the butter over the top. You want to make sure it’s cubed and COLD.
- Pulse. Pulse until the butter and fat are pea-sized.
- Add water. Sprinkle in the water with the food processor running and stop until the mixture comes together and is crumbly. You want to then dump the contents onto plastic wrap and wrap up into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
BAKING 101: You want to make sure to use butter and water that is very cold. It’s important that the butter stays solid until it’s baked. The butter gets coated in the flour, shortening the gluten strands, helping to create a tender crust. And then when the pie crust, the cold butter will melt creating steam pushing the flour layers apart making for a flaky crust. So be sure to use cold butter and cold water so the butter doesn’t melt and get absorbed into the dough otherwise you will end up with a tough, chewy crust.
3. Make the crumb topping
While the pie crust is chilling I prepare the crumb topping. I refrigerate the crumb topping while I prepare the crust.
- Combine the almonds and sugar in food processor.
- Pulse in short burst to chop the almonds well. If you don’t own a food processor, then chop the almond first then stir together with the sugar. Add the flour and salt and pulse briefly to mix.
- Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
- Dump the crumbs into a bowl and rub between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Allergy To Almonds? No problem! Omit the almonds completely and replace with oats. Simply stir the oats, flour, sugar, and salt together and stir in the melted butter to create an easy crumb topping.
4. Roll Out The Pie Crust
Once the crust that has chilled I roll it out and place it inside the pie plate. I do like to let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge again to chill it once more, so I end up with a buttery flaky pie crust that doesn’t shrink when it bakes. While the pie crust is chilling, I preheat the oven and place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to also warm up that I set the pie on top while it bakes to help make sure I get a crispy bottom crust.
- Roll out pie crust and place in pie pan. Using a lightly floured surface and rolling pin, roll out the pie crust to a 12″ circle. Fold the pie crust in quarters or roll it over your rolling pin. Unfold (or unroll) the pie crust into your pie plate tuck into the bottom.
- Fold the edge under.
- Crimp the edges. Fold the edge under and flute the edges by pressing the crust between your index finger and thumb and index finger of your other hand.
- Chill the pie crust for 30 minutes.
Don’t Want To Crimp? Crimping can be a bit more difficult for beginner bakers, so if you’re new to baking pies and not ready to tackle the crimping you can decorate your pie crust edges in lots of easier ways. The easiest way it to press the crust edge down with a fork to make crimped edge. Or try one of these other fun ways to decorate your pie crust edge.
5. Finish assembling and bake
- Remove crust from fridge. Once it’s chilled it’s time to fill!
- Add filling. Spoon the chilled filling into the prepared pie crust.
- Sprinkle the crumb topping over. The topping may need to be broken up with because it will be cold.
- Bake! Last but not least, it’s time to bake the pie! I bake the pie for 30 minutes at a higher temperature then reduce the temperature.
Pie Edges Browning Too Quickly? If my pie crust is getting too dark on the edges I use a pie shield to help protect the edges. And if you don’t own a pie crust shield yet, you create an easy DIY pie shield with tin-foil.
A fresh cherry pie is great on its own however I think it’s always better when topped with a little something…
Make Ahead And Storage Instructions:
Yes you can make this pie and keep covered at room temperature up to 2 days ahead of time.
Yes you can freeze this pie, baked or unbaked, for up to 3 months. If baking a frozen pie, no need to thaw, just bake as normal but you will need to increase the baking time. And I do NOT recommend a glass pie plate as it could shatter going from freezer to oven.
If you don’t want to use almonds, or want a chunkier crumble, or maybe one that use oats you definitely have some options. This crumble on this pear cranberry pie is a thick oatmeal crumble. Or you could use this almond free brown sugar crumble on this blueberry pie!
More Recipes To Try
Cherry Crumb Pie
For the pie dough
- 1 ¼ cups (150 g) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons (141) g unsalted butter cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
- 3-5 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling
- 5-6 cups (800-960 g) cherries pitted and halved
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ cup (148 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
For the crumble topping
- ½ cup (43 g) slivered or sliced almonds optional
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter melted, cooled slightly
For the pie dough
- Process the salt, sugar, and flour in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter shortening over top and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (about 10 seconds). Scatter butter over top and pulse mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses.
- Sprinkle ice water one tablespoon at a time over the mixture. Pulse to combine, until dough sticks together.
- Put the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap (or dump into a clean dish towel and bring up edges and twist so it comes together then transfer to plastic wrap) and flatten into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 days. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
For the crumble topping
- In a food processor, combine sugar and almonds to chop up almonds. (If you don't own a food processor, chop the almonds, then stir in the sugar, flour and salt to combine. Then stir in butter until a crumbly mixture is formed).
- Add flour and salt and pulse to combine.
- Add butter and pulse to combine until mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate for up to 3 days when ready to use.
For the filling
- Place cherries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Use a potato masher to break down some of the cherries to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of the cherries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in extracts.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours to cool down.
- When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack and heat oven to 400°F.
- Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate.
- Sprinkle crumble topping over pie filling evenly.
Bake the pie
- Place pie on a heating baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juice bubbles and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Cover pie edge if they are getting too dark.
- Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
- Make ahead/storage: You can make this pie up to two days ahead of time. Keep covered at room temperature. Yes you can freeze this pie, baked or unbaked, for up to 3 months. If baking a frozen pie, no need to thaw, just bake as normal but you will need to increase the baking time. And I do NOT recommend a glass pie plate as it could shatter going from freezer to oven.
- Cherries: I made this pie with 100% sweet dark red cherries and also with 50/50 Bing cherries and Rainier cherries. If you’re using sour cherries then I would recommend increasing the sugar to 1 cup, or more, depending on how sweet you like your pie. I used fresh cherries in this pie, but frozen cherries also work. If you are using frozen cherries, then half them while frozen then thaw them out before cooking them down.
- Almonds: Omit the almonds completely in the crumb topping and replace with oats. Simply stir the oats, flour, sugar, and salt together and stir in the melted butter to create an easy crumb topping.
- Cornstarch: You can also use flour if need be.
- More crumble pie options: Try the oatmeal crumble from this pear cranberry pie or this brown sugar streusel topping from my blueberry pie!