I have a tree that produces loads of beautiful red, cherries. The nursery man we bought it from said the cherries would be sweet and about the size of Bing cherries. They are that size, but they are very sour. They make wonderful jelly but, in order to make a pie that is edible, I have to add about twice the amount of sugar called for. Is there any way to treat the cherries to dimish the sour/bitter taste before making the pie filling?
Sounds like you have a sour cherry tree - I'm jealous! They are my absolute favorite fruit and IMO make the best pie of any cherry. Sour cherry pies do require a bit more sugar than sweet cherry pies, but if you are having to use double the amount of sugar called for in a recipe, your cherries are probably not ripe enough. Sour cherries shouldn't be picked until they come off the tree VERY easily - in my neck of the woods (NYC), they won't be ready for at least another 3 weeks, and probably closer to a month. They still won't be sweet, but they won't have that acrid puckery tannic flavor that underripe cherries have.
Are you using recipes for sour cherries or montmorency or "pie" cherries? Very few people seem to have access them so sweet cherries are often substituted.
And yes, I am jealous too. I adore sour cherry pie.
Yes, do make sure you're using recipes that specify tart or sour cherries, and make sure they're fully ripe so you don't find yourself trying to mask that awful chalky acridness. I still have a precious jar or two of sour cherry jam from the last time I had access to someone's sour cherries and it is absolutely glorious on a biscuit.
I agree with the others -- I'm jealous!
I agree with everything above. High quality vanilla ice cream on a freshly-baked sour cherry pie is one of the whole world's 10-greatest desserts.
For people like me with no access to fresh sour cherries, a passable filling can be made from Costco dried cherries reconstituted with the purest-possible sour cherry juice.
Sour cherry pie is awesome.
But if you want to cut some of that tartness, add some salt to your cherries when you macerate.