Fresh Focus: Sour Cherries…and Blueberries!

Landis sour cherriesCharlotte Fresh had a busy weekend! Saturday was a two-market day, with visits to the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market and to the Charlotte Regional Farmers’ Market.   (Will post about each market separately, later.)  I was on the hunt for some fruit because I had a craving for pie. The markets did not disappoint.

Cody Strawberry Farm - all cleaned outYou should be aware that strawberries are winding down right about now. Normally, we would have a little longer enjoyment of local strawberries, but the plants put out their yield all at once due to weather conditions this year, cutting the season short.   Not to fret – we should try to eat seasonally and according to the land; there is other fruit to be had.

cherry-blueberryOn Saturday, hubby and I scored some sour cherries at the Landis Gourmet Mushroom stand at Matthews, and later found there were more cherries at Windcrest Farms.   These farms are located within a 50 mile radius of Matthews.  Up at the Regional Farmer’s Market, we saw the first blueberries coming in from eastern N.C.   Even though we normally try to stay within a tighter growing radius, we reasoned they were from N.C. and couldn’t resist trying them out.  We picked some up from Ivanhoe Farms located in Ivanhoe, N.C. – about 175 miles from here, near Wilmington.  Their berries are tasty and will tide us over as our strawberries start to run low.  Incidentally, the folks at Ivanhoe said that our region is about 3 weeks away from blueberries, so we should start to see info on our pick-your-own dates coming in soon, and you’ll start to see blueberries at the markets with tighter radius requirements over the coming weeks.

So, what to do with sour cherries?  We made pie.  One for us, and one for someone special who received it yesterday.  I won’t give away our pie crust recipe because it was hubby’s grandma’s, so feel free to use your own, or adapt from this blog:

Recipe:  Charlotte Fresh’s Sour Cherry Custard Pie

Sour Cherry Custard Pie

Makes 2 pies

  • two 9-inch pie crusts, rolled out, placed in pie pans and crimped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 pints sour cherries, pitted (reserve juice from this process and set aside)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2/3 C flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Blind baking the crust:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place foil, shiny side down on top of pie crust, overhanging the edges and fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake for 20 min. Carefully remove foil and weights.  Prick crust all over with a fork.  Bake 5 min.  Whisk egg yolks with pinch of salt.  Brush insides of crust with egg yolk mixture (acts as a sealant).  Bake 1 min.  Crust is ready to fill.

While the crusts are blind baking, pour 1/3 to 1/2 C sugar over the pitted sour cherries in a large bowl.  Mix and let steep.  This will draw juices out of the cherries and make them less sour/bitter.  Taste cherries after a few minutes and add more sugar if needed.

In a separate large bowl, make the custard filling.  Starting with the butter, whisk in the eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and salt until smooth and thick.

Assembling the pies:  Drain the sour cherries, reserving the juice, with that from the pitting process, for recipe below.  Divide sour cherries between the two prepared crusts.  Arrange cherries evenly in a layer along the bottom of the crust.  Divide custard mixture between the two crusts and pour over the cherries.  Smooth to coat evenly.

Bake pies for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then 1 hour at 300 degrees.

Sour Cherry Cocktail

If you have leftover cherry juice, you can make the following cocktail like hubby did. Sour Cherry Cocktail

  • 1 part sugar-steeped sour cherry juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 1 part vodka
  • ice

Shake up juice, simple syrup, vodka and ice in a shaker until cold. Pour into glass and enjoy!


About charlottefresh

Helping Charlotte find fresh local food. Spread the word.
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