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Watery Cherry Pie

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  • Bill F. Aug 28, 2002 11:06 PM
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This is something that has been bugging me for a long time. I baked a cherry pie using cherries I had picked the same day. I had to throw it out because the pie came out with almost a 1/4" of water on the bottom crust. Does anyone know what I did wrong. I love cherry pie and would like to get it right the next time. Thanks.

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  1. Did you use a thickener of any kind? I like potato starch best, but often it is flour.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Betty

      To tell you the truth, I don't remember if I used one or not. I believe I followed the recipe in the cookbook -- whatever it was -- but don't specifically remember the thickener. I take by your answer that if I left it out, that was definately the cause.

      1. re: Bill F.

        Minute Tapioca thickens a fruit pie nicely. I have had good results by using it in cherry pies.

        The recipe for using it in fruit pies is on the Quick Cooking Minute Tapioca box. Also some recipes specifically call for it. Try allrecipes.com for a good source of cherry pie recipes. Thanks for listening!

        1. re: Donna - MI

          I second the tapioca vote. Just be sure to let it soak in with the cherries a bit before baking so it blends. Nothin' worse that bits of white tapioca at the top of a cherry pie.

          1. re: liztowns

            I often use a recipe in Nick Malgieri's Perfect Pastry
            cookbook (I think that's the name) for cherry tarts and pies. It wisely requires that the fresh, pitted cherries be sauteed for about 10 minutes to release some of their juices. The cherries are then strained and allowed to cool down, while the reserved juices are brought to a boil with a little (two teaspoons?) of corn starch that has first been thoroughly whisked into a tablespoon or so of kirsch (or any cherry or almond liquer). The boiled juices nicely thicken (due to the cornstarch) and are then added to the cooled cherries. The cherries can then be added to any tart or pie shell for baking. In this way, the excess liquid is eliminated before the baking begins.

            1. re: ForkinMouth

              The Cook's Illustrated best cherry cobbler recipe also uses that technique-- thickening the juices with starch prior to assembling. In addition, the biscuit topping is baked separately, so that the bottom of the biscuits don't get soggy while baking on top of the cherries. The whole is assembled, then baked together for about 15 minutes to finish.

              I had trouble with sour cherry preserves, thickened with pectin, earlier this summer. The preserves turned out watery, even though I followed the recipe for proper amounts of fruit, sugar and pectin. What I discovered with a subsequent batch, however, was that when I chopped the cherries and strained out some of the juice prior to measuring seven cups of fruit, the preserves thickened nicely. The recipe said nothing about not including all of the juices that the fruit exuded.

              Perhaps you have super juicy cherries, and need to chop them roughly, then strain out some of the juice prior to making your pie.

              1. re: zora

                BTY, I was terribly disappointed with the Cooks cherry cobbler recipe - thought the addition of red wine completely muddied up the cherry flavor - and they were expensive morellos too. We made a huge pot of the cobbler - thank God my kids and their friends were around or it would have languished.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  I always thought the bottom of the biscuit layer was supposed to have the texture of a dumpling. I guess they weren't into that.

                  1. re: ironmom

                    During the fifteen minutes that the cobbler baked after assembly, the biscuits did absorb some of the fruit sauce. Not enough to become mushy, though.

                    1. re: zora

                      A completely different effect from the original, which I guess they didn't like.

                  2. re: jen kalb

                    Wow, I'd forgotten about that. I left out the red wine, since my daughter doesn't like it. I thought it was superb without the wine, although, as I recall, I added a splash of kirsch instead.

              2. re: liztowns
                j
                JK Grence(the Cosmic Jester)

                Another way to keep the tapioca from hardening on top is to set aside about a fourth of the pie filling, mix the tapioca into the rest, pour that into the pie crust, then top it with the tapioca-free filling.

              3. re: Donna - MI

                My favorite blueberry pie recipe (thank you Mr. Craig Claiborne) uses tapioca as well and the pie always turns out great. The filling is just the right consistency.

          2. Some fruit pie recipes don't call for any thickener. Some people like it that way and consider it "juicy", not "watery". So if your recipe doesn't call for thickener, find one that does, because obviously you don't like it that way.

            Nor do I.

            1. d
              david in NOLa

              I agree with the post below suggesting that a lack of thickener is the mose likely problem.

              But I also wonder about the cherries themselves. What variety? Have you ever made a pie from these cherries before? Is it possible for them to be too fresh? Fruits lose moisture after they're picked.

              2 Replies
              1. re: david in NOLa

                I don't know the variety of the cherries and had not made a cherry pie before, but I also wondered whether there was too much moisture in them. I probably made the pie about 8 hours or a little less after picking them. Do you know if there is some way to remove moisture or excess moisture in them before baking, such as leaving them out for a few days or putting them in a very low oven?

                1. re: Bill F.

                  Cook's Magazine sprinkled sugar over cut peaches, which drew off much of the excess liquid while apparently intensifying the flavor.

                  You would have to have the cherries cut in half to do this.