Stick With Frozen Cherries Over Fresh For Pie

Deciding whether to go use fresh or frozen fruit isn't something we need to think about most times of the year; but that changes in the summer, when cherries are actually in season. Even though fresh cherries are readily available, are frozen cherries still a better choice? If you're into sweet, jammy fruit pies, the answer is a wholehearted yes. After all, something magical happens when fruit meets a flaky, mouthwatering pastry crust; and, depending on your taste preference, a well-made sour or sweet cherry pie could be one of the best examples of this dessert.

Frozen cherries have one advantage that fresh fruit doesn't — because they've been sitting in your freezer for some time, they're more willing to give up their juices than fresh cherries are, giving your pie filling a richer fruit texture. Using frozen cherries may also be especially helpful if you're a bit short on time and don't have the bandwidth to cook your cherry pie filling in advance. But, as James Beard award-winning writer Stella Parks warns via Serious Eats, frozen fruit doesn't actually contain more liquid than fresh fruit does; it just seems that way because cherry juices appear earlier in the cooking process. Given this, adding extra liquid isn't advisable.

Tips for baking with frozen cherry filling

The rewards are great if you bake with frozen cherries, but there are a few tips you need to remember in order to ensure your pastry is a success. Depending on what your recipe calls for, you may want to thaw the frozen fruit until it's at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit before starting out. Using frozen cherries may also mean you need to add up to 15 minutes of baking time, which give you a crust that isn't just extra crisp, but also one that can resist the extra moisture frozen fruit can produce. You might also want to give some thought to your crust since that's where the moisture is likely to go as the pie bakes.

As with other fruit-filled pastries, and in order to keep your cherry pies from developing a soggy bottom, you'll want to blind-bake your crusts. You can also add an invisible layer in the form of beaten egg white or corn syrup to create a barrier; or make your crust thicker, which will make it more sturdy.

So, the next time you hit the market, you might want to pick up more cherries than you need. Future you will be happy you did.