Our friends gave us cherries from their tree a few days ago, inspiring this delicious recipe. Fresh, local produce is the highlight of summer for me—I love the idea of food that is only hours from the vine. I am not opposed to using canned fruit for recipes like this, especially if I do not have the time to pit, peel, or prepare fresh fruits. However, when I get the chance to have cherries picked at their peak, that is an easy “yes” regardless of the extra prep.
When you make a fruit filling at home you have more control over the consistency and sugar content. Fruit ripened on the tree requires less sugary syrup. By using less sugar and water in the recipe, you end up with more fruit and less filler. Even when I do use canned fruit, I use Comstock More Fruit Pie Filling and remove much of the syrup through a colander.
Any pie crust recipe or ready-made crust can be used in place of the butter crust. However, a butter crust has superior flavor and avoids the trans-fats of shortening used in most pie crust recipes and store-bought varieties. Butter crusts are a little more delicate to work with during the summer, requiring some refrigerator time to maintain its workability, but the extra effort is well worth it. For an even healthier alternative, this crust can also be adapted to use all white whole wheat flour.