The Unexpected Ingredient That Will Elevate Cherry Pie Filling

When fall rolls around, everyone begins to crave certain seasonal foods. Maybe it's stuffing, caramel apples, brownies, or maybe it's the autumn classic: pie. There is just something about a buttery, flaky crust, sweet fruit filling, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream that takes people back to their childhoods. Yet, in the scheme of things, cherry pie goes relatively overlooked when compared to pumpkin, apple, and even peach.

The English credited the creation of the very first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I (via American Pie Council). And though we certainly don't believe the Queen made it herself, she certainly enjoyed it enough that people still eat it today. However, the cherries in a cherry pie tend to be quite tart because a majority of fillings use the traditional Montmorency cherry (via Gardening Know How). In addition, the Montmorency cherry has a remarkably rich red skin, perfect for making your dessert look colorful, and its flavor palette is a bridge between sweet and sour, which is what makes it ideal for pies.

That being said, for some, a classic tart cherry pie is a touch too sour, but there is a simple, surprising ingredient you can add to your filling to give it the sweet boost it needs!

A natural sweetener

When looking to offset tart notes, you must go for something sweeter. According to Foods Guy, pineapple is the secret ingredient your cherry pie needs. Now, don't go overboard, but pineapple and cherries actually go really well together. Just look at old-school ham blanketed with pineapple and cherries, candied fruit mixes, or pineapple and cherry dump cake recipes. Even cocktails such as the Painkiller slushy use this delectable combination of flavors.

But make no mistake, this is not a pineapple and cherry pie; it's just a cherry pie that has a splash of pineapple in it! The good news is that pineapple (especially the canned kind) has an incredibly powerful sweet flavor and will add a natural syrupy note to the dessert without overpowering it with more refined sugar. But if you're worried about your pie tasting too much like pineapple, don't worry; the flavor specialist site, Foodpairing, maintains that fresh pineapple has natural notes of caramel — this would add that flavor to your cherry pie, especially after baking.

Use pineapple sparingly and slowly when adding it into your pie mix (tasting as you go) until you're satisfied. You can choose to use pineapple juice or actual pieces (fresh or canned), but either way, start off small and be sure to listen to your taste buds, Foods Guy recommends.