James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Amaretti Sour Cherry Pie

Greg Patent

Pie cherries, the sour kind, are best for this pie. One tree variety, Montmorency, in Missoula, Montana, are loaded with beautifully ripe fruit right now. I buy them at farmers markets and turn these sour ruby-colored gems into pie. And what a pie this American classic is. It’s got an Italian twist from the addition of a few crushed amaretti cookies.

The cookie crumbs and a bit of almond extract accent the cherriness of the pie. When you buy amaretti, they come wrapped two to a little package. You’ll need three packages for this recipe. Serve the pie plain, or with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen vanilla yogurt. If you can’t find fresh sour pie cherries, canned ones will work just fine in this pie. Drain them well first. Also check the frozen fruit section in your market. Fresh Rainier cherries, which have a delicious background tartness, will also be great in this pie.

Happy baking!

For this recipe, Greg uses King Arthur flour. You can order King Arthur flour and flavorings through Greg’s King Arthur Affiliate site, which helps pay the costs of this website!

Amaretti Sour Cherry Pie

A classic American Pie with an Italian twist of crushed amaretti cookies.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings -8 servings



  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 10 ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold 1 stick, cut into 8 even pieces
  • 1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, cold cut into 8 even pieces
  • 7 tablespoons ice water plus more, if needed

Cherry Filling

  • 2 pounds fresh sour pie cherries pitted (about 5 cups)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 double amaretti cookies crushed (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


To Make the Pastry

  • To make the pie crust, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
    Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry
    blender until the butter is in fairly large pieces, about 1/2-inch.
    Add the vegetable shortening and, using a chopping motion with the
    pastry blender, cut the fats into the flour until the mix
    resembles coarse crumbs. Stop occasionally to scrape off any bits
    of fat stuck between the blades of the pastry blender.
  • Sprinkle in the ice water gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time,
    while tossing the flour and fats with a table fork. Add only enough water
    to bind the pastry together. Do not add so much that it becomes
    wet or pasty.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a floured
    canvas pastry cloth works best). Divide the dough into two pieces,
    one slightly larger than the other. Gently flatten each half to a 5-
    inch circle on plastic wrap. Wrap securely and refrigerate for about
    1 hour. Longer is okay.
  • Roll the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13-
    inch circle. Place the dough into an ovenproof glass 9-inch pie plate
    without stretching the dough. Lift and nudge the dough from its
    edge going all the way around the pie plate to be sure the dough fits snugly on the
    bottom and side of the pan. Leave the excess dough hanging over the edge of the plate
    for now. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Preparing the Filling and Baking the Pie

  • To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the 3/4 cup
    sugar, tapioca, and salt. Add the cherries (with any accumulated
    juices), crushed amaretti cookies, and almond extract and fold everything together
    gently to combine well; set aside 15 minutes. This is to make sure the tapioca has time to
    hydrate so that it will be able to thicken the filling as the pie bakes.
  • Adjust an oven rack to the lowest postion and set a heavy baking sheet on the rack.
    Preheat the oven to 450˚F .
  • Roll the second piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface to
    an 11-inch circle. Don't worry about rough edges at this point.
    Spoon the cherry filling into the chilled bottom crust, and distribute the
    pieces of butter evenly over it. Brush the edges of the overhanging
    pastry lightly with water. Carefully place the second circle of pastry
    on top of the cherries, centering it as best you can. Press the edges of dough together
    firmly, and use kitchen shears to trim away the excess dough, leaving 1/2inch of
    overhang. Fold this double thickness of pastry under itself to form a standing rim, and
  • Cut 4 to 6 slits in the top of the pastry in a spoke pattern with the tip of a small, sharp
    knife. Brush the top of the pie and edge of the crust with water and sprinkle with the 1
    tablespoon sugar.
  • Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at
    450˚F. Reduce the temperature to 375˚F and continue baking another 50 to 60 minutes
    or until the crust is golden brown, and the thickened juices bubble up through the slits.
  • Cool the pie several hours on a wire rack before serving. You may refrigerate the pie for
    an hour or two to make sure the filling has set. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and
    bring to room temperature before serving.
Keyword Pie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating