Does anyone else find it odd that National Cherry Pie Day is celebrated in February when cherries aren’t in season? I personally think that cherry pie is best made with cherries picked right from the tree. These cherry streusel pies made with frozen cherries are a great alternative however. Plus, you can make this recipe all year round!
What do you need to make mini cherry streusel pies with frozen cherry filling?
- Four 5″ pie pans
- All butter pie crust
- Frozen dark sweet cherries
- Granulated sugar
- Corn starch
- Lemon juice
- Almond extract
- Brown sugar
- More granulated sugar
- All purpose flour
- Salted butter
That might seem like a long list of ingredients, but don’t worry these pies are easy to put together!
Start with the crust!
Whether you are using a store bought pie dough or a home made pie dough you should chill the dough once it has been rolled out and placed in the pans. Once you have cut the dough and lined your pie pans lightly cover them with plastic wrap and place in the fridge will you make the filling and streusel.
During the rolling, cutting and fluting steps the butter in the dough softens which is not ideal. It is the cold chunks of butter in the pie dough that gives the pie crust those nice flakey layers. Adding the pie crust back into the fridge before assembling and baking the pies will help ensure your crust is as flakey as possible and not and oily mess. This step can also be done the day before you intend to assemble the pie.
My favorite all butter pie crust comes from Everyday Pie. Kelli’s recipe makes two pie crusts. You will only need one for this recipe. Fine Cooking also has a great tutorial on YouTube that walks you through how to flute a pie. I am still working on mastering this technique, but this video was definitely helpful.
Making the cherry pie filling with frozen cherries
There isn’t much difference between making cherry pie filling with fresh or frozen cherries. They both require cherries, cornstarch, and sugar. I also like to add lemon juice and almond extract in my filling. Either way I recommend cooking the filling prior to filling the pie shell. Cooking the filling helps you control the ‘wetness’ of the filling. This reduces any surprises in the cooking time and helps avoid a soggy bottom crust.
When using frozen cherries you want to thaw the fruit before measuring them. Frozen cherries hold a lot of liquid that will be released as they thaw. This means thawed cherries will have less volume than their previously frozen selves. Three cups of cherries measured when frozen will likely reduce to two cups once thawed. Once the cherries have thawed you will also want to drain them to avoid excess liquid in the filling. If you prefer to add the cherry juices to the pie filling you will need to increase the corn starch accordingly to help thicken the mixture.
After your cherries are thawed, drained and measured throw everything together in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over a medium heat. Once the mixture is boiling reduce the heat to low and continue to stir until the mixture thickens.
The final and MOST IMPORTANT step when making the cherry pie filling is to let it cool before adding it to the pie crust. This is one step that you absolutely do not want to skip. Adding hot or warm filling to the crust will cause the chunk of butter in the dough to melt resulting in a greasy flat mess, rather than a beautiful flakey crust. The pie filling can also be made a day in advance of baking.
Assembling the pies
As we have already discussed, we want everything to be COLD when we assemble the pies. The crust, the filling, even the streusel! The assembly of the pies is very simple.
- Add cherry pie filling
- Top with streusel
Baking the pies
These pies bake at 375°F for around 35 minutes. You will want to set the rack to the in the lower third of the oven. This well help the bottom crust get that nice golden brown color without the top rim becoming too dark.
You will also want to place the pie pans on a cookie sheet while baking. This will catch any filling that bubbles over. Set the cookie sheet in the oven before you preheat the oven so that it is hot when you set the pies on it. Preheating the cookie sheet will also help ensure the bottom of the crust bakes nice and golden.
You will know the cherry pies are baked when the crusts are golden and the filling is bubbling through the cracks in the streusel. Let the pies cool for 10 minutes before removing them from their pans.
Looking to mix up your pie rotation?
Try my savory bacon and egg pie. Perfect for a weekend brunch, or easy weeknight dinner.
Did you make this recipe? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on instagram.
Cherry Streusel Pies – Made With Frozen Cherries
These mini cherry pies with streusel topping are made using frozen sweet cherries making them the perfect choice for anytime of year.
Cherry Pie Filling
On a lightly floured surface roll out crust to 1/8" thickness
Cut four 6 1/2" circles of dough and transfer to four 5" pie pans
Flute the pie crust
Lightly cover the dough lined pie pans with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare and cool your filling
Cherry Pie Filling
Mix defrosted and drained cherries, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan over medium heat
Bring mixture to a boil stirring frequently
Reduce heat to low and cook until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes
Stir in almond extract and transfer filling to a bowl to cool
Mix sugars, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl
Add cold butter and cut into mixture using a for or pastry knife until it resembles course crumbs
Assembling the Pies
Place a cookie sheet on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 375F
Once filling has completely cooled spoon mixture evenly into the four prepared pie pans
Top cherry filling with streusel and bake on preheated cookie sheet for 35 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling
Let pies cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing
Measure the cherries after they have defrosted as they will lose volume as they thaw
Ensure cherry filling is cooled before adding to the pie. Adding warm filling to the pie can cause the butter in the pie dough to melt.
If you are using sour cherries you will need to adjust the amount of sugar accordingly