How to make a classic old-fashioned cherry pie

Cherries are at the height of the their season right now, so make the most of Melanie Johnson's recipe for cherry pie.

Glorious British cherries conjure up images of romantic orchards in which you could enjoy my old-fashioned cherry pie on a lazy summer’s afternoon.

Ingredients (serves six)

For the pastry

  • 200g cold unsalted butter
  • 500g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2–3tbspn iced water

For the filling

  • 600g stoned cherries
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 2tbspn corn starch (plain flour will also give a good result)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 20ml kirsch (optional)

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For the finishing touches

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1–2 tbsp brown sugar for sprinkling
  • Icing sugar and pistachio ice cream to serve


Combine the butter, flour, sugar and sea salt in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process again until just combined. If it seems a little dry, add the iced water.

Bring the dough together in your hands, then divide into two. Shape into discs and wrap separately in clingfilm. Put them in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. Remove one of the dough discs and roll it out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Line a 10in pie dish with it and trim the edges off, so there’s still room to attach the pie lid. Put the dish in the freezer while you prepare everything else.

Preheat your oven to 190˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6. In a large bowl, gently mix together all of the filling ingredients and set aside. Remove the second dough disc from the refrigerator and roll it out to the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut into even, wide strips.

Remove the pie dish from the freezer and pour in the filling. Arrange the wide strips over the top in a lattice pattern and use any remainder, including the earlier trimmings, to create a decorative edge — I made pastry plaits to edge my version.

At this stage the pie can be frozen, but once you’re ready to cook it brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle it with brown sugar. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the top is beautifully golden.

Serve hot, lightly dusted with icing sugar and with pistachio ice cream on the side.