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Mar 7, 2003 08:46 PM

Top Notch Sour Cherry Pie?

  • r

I was in NYC a few weeks ago, and I went to Bubbie's in (I think) Tribecca. Maybe I just really had a weak spot that night, but the sour cherry pie was outstanding.

Where can one get a sour cerry pie or at least a slice of one around northern virginia or DC?



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  1. Interesting-- all cherry pie is made with sour cherries. Sweet cherries, bing and Queen Ann types aren't good for pie. There are two basic varieties of sour cherries--Morello and Montmorency. One of them is white inside, the other is red. I can't remember which is which. At this time of year, any cherry pie is going to be made with canned (or frozen) fruit. Perhaps the pie place Joe Heflin knows about, which is in the Reston-Herndon vicinity, has decent cherry pie at this time of year. But for really good FRESH sour cherry pie, you'll have to wait until cherry season in June or early July. There are a few pick-your-own places nearby in VA and MD (Homestead Farm in Poolesville is one), and good local restaurants will feature fresh cherry desserts. If you want to try making a sour cherry pie with canned fruit, Trader Joe's sells sour cherries in light syrup in a glass jar that are high quality and not expensive. Cooks Illustrated did an article about cherry cobbler last year that discussed making it with canned cherries. They tried a bunch of different brands and TJ's was their favorite. Trader Joe's also sells dried cherries, both bing and sour types.

    5 Replies
    1. re: zora

      I have been away from the DC area for a while now and don't know whether this is still true but it might be worth looking into. Southern States Cooperatives used to have frozen fruit sales twice a year. Bulk quantities of fruit had to be ordered and paid for in advance then picked up as soon as the truck came in. All of this was worth the trouble as they sold five-pound boxes of individually quick-frozen pitted Montmorency cherries (the sour red kind for pies), both red and black raspberries, blackberries, both wild and cultured blueberries, pineapple chunks, and other fruits not easy to find. I see online that there are Southern States retail outlets in Vienna VA, and Spencerville, Poolesville, Brandywine, and Upper Marlboro MD. Quality was excellent.

      1. re: N Tocus

        Too bad I don't have room for a raspberries...mmm. I picked wild ones in W. VA a couple of years ago and made the best wild blackcap pancakes I've ever eaten.

        1. re: zora

          When I don't make cherry pie with the cherries I've picked myself (in Montgomery County), I use canned cherries packed in water, sold at Giant or Safeway. You drain them, and for two 1 lb. cans, sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and 2T brandy,and let stand for an hour. You then drain them and save the syrup, which is then poured, having been cooked and thickened with some cornstarch, over the cherries in your pie. You can add 1/4 t. almond extract. When it's not fresh cherry season, this makes a delicous pie.

          It's fun and easy to pick cherries, BTW, but a very short season. You have to seize the moment. Usually it's me and lots of Iranians and Azeris, who prize sour cherries.

          1. re: zora

            A moment of nostalgia: Never mind West Virginia--I used to pick great black raspberries and snack on them on my way from my apartment to the Metro station, walking through the woods that used to occupy what is now the Fashion Center at Pentagon City.

            1. re: Harlan

              We've picked bowls and bowls of blackberries in Rock Creek Park, in the heart of the city... not sure I want to give up the exact location, but if you hunt along Piney Branch road near 16th, you'll find them.

              We've also found chanterelles and hen of the woods mushrooms in the same area.

      2. i have not tried it yet but have noticed sour cherry pies for sale (latice crust!) at the south end of E Market (outside, farmers line) on both Saturday and SUnday. It is the stand that borders C street, across from Cap Hill Books (excellent used book shop btw). The guy that runs the stand is named Dan and he sells hot apple cider (and usually has a fake turtle floating in a baby pool for some reason). Anyway: Dan carries some amazing baked good that he picks up from a Mennonite bakery in Pennsylvania. When he has cupcakes they are the worlds BREATEST, like hostess cupcakes that have died and gone to heaven (and had faux creamy center extracted). Anyway: sour cherry pies can be procured and tried...and the best 7 layer bars I've ever had are tehre too...and soft molasses cookies. As for pies in general, scroll the board to read about Mom's APple Pie in Leesburg. I'm suyre in season they will carry cherry pie.
        Zora -- thanks for the TJ tip. Am now jonesing to make a cherry pie. p