Friday the thirteenth is probably not the best day to be climbing a ladder, but it's time to pick the sour cherries so up the ladder I went. The cherries are another beautiful thing about summer on the farm. The sour cherry tree seems tiny when you look at it from the ground, and indeed much of it was cut away last fall because it was rotting. But once you climb up between the limbs, there are cherries upon cherries. Too many to pick, and most of the reddest and juiciest ones too high for anyone but the birds to reach.
In fact, the birds squawked and fought while I picked, eager for me to go inside to the pitting machine so they could continue their feast. This pitcher represents about 25 minutes of picking, enough for two sour cherry pies. My grandmother thinks that this might be one of the last years for this tree, as cherry trees only live so long before they give out. I told her she'd better plant another tree right quick! The pies she makes from these cherries have been a part of my summer equation for almost as long as I can remember. Her recipe is simple (and probably originally came from the back of some long-ago box of tapioca), but oh-so-delicious with fruit you've picked yourself.
Granna's Sour Cherry Pie
- 4 cups sour cherries
- 2 2/3 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 Tablespoons kirsch
- Double pie crust
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 - 2 Tablespoons cold butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix cherries, tapioca, sugar and kirsch together in a large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Pierce bottom pie crust and brush with beaten egg white. Bake for five minutes to set.
- Pour cherry mixture into pie crust and dot with butter.
- Affix top crust; vent.