Your mouth will be watering as soon as you take this Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Pie out of the oven to cool. It is a delightful mix of tart and sweet with flavors and textures that leave you craving your next bite.
You can enjoy this pie any time of year by using frozen fruit, but it is especially delicious in late spring when it's rhubarb season and you can get fresh produce for your homemade pie filling.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Nostalgic: Isn't rhubarb such a nostalgic flavor? It seems everyone has a story of someone from their childhood who made a memorable rhubarb recipe. Many times those dishes are paired with strawberries, from strawberry preserves to strawberry rhubarb pie. But the truth is, rhubarb is incredible with many sweet fruits. And the sweet cherries in this pie balance the rhubarb's tart flavor and make it a deliciously perfect dessert for the early summer celebrations.
- Easy Homemade Recipe: You'll love making this simple old-fashioned cherry rhubarb pie. While it does require an oven (try my No Bake Cherry Pie if you don't want to turn your oven on), it is still super easy! The filling is made from scratch by mixing a few ingredients together in a bowl - so simple!
What is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a vegetable that resembles pink or red celery. It grows in cooler climates and you might even find it growing wild in regions where grapes and cranberries are also common. The leaves are poisonous, but the rhubarb stalks are edible and delicious! The color of the vegetable turns dark pink as it ripens.
The flavor is like a tart citrus bite similar to a lemon, yet it has its own distinctive taste, similar to a cranberry. It can be eaten raw but be ready for the pucker! Most people choose to eat it cooked with some sugar to take the tartness factor down a bit.
In most places, fresh rhubarb is in season from April to June.
- Sweet Cherries - The plump texture of the cherries is a delightful contrast to the rhubarb and using sweet cherries balances the tart rhubarb. If you like a tart flavor then you can use sour cherries and rely on the sugar to add sweetness.
- Rhubarb - Fresh rhubarb is perfect for this dessert when it is in season, but frozen rhubarb works well too! If using fresh then you want to have more of the dark pink coloring than green, as the less ripe (green) stalks are more tart.
- Quick Cooking Tapioca: This acts as a thickening agent for the filling. If you do not have tapioca then substitute an equal amount of cornstarch. It won't be quite as thick as the tapioca but it still makes a great filling. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar before adding in fruit to avoid lumps.
- Lemon Juice - You won't need much, but I always use fresh lemon juice instead of bottled. It is a much better flavor, and the acidity adds to the texture and flavors of fresh fruit pies. Orange juice can be substituted if you do not have fresh lemons.
- Pie Crust - This pie uses a double pie crust (top and bottom). You can use your favorite homemade crust recipe or use store-bought. I highly recommend this all butter vodka pie crust for the flakiest, best-tasting crust!
Step One: Mix the Filling
- Combine the sweet cherries, chopped rhubarb, sugar, and tapioca in a large bowl and stir until everything is well coated and combined.
Step Two: Add Lemon Juice
- Next, stir in the lemon juice and salt.
- Allow the pie filling to rest for about 15 minutes so that the fruit macerates and the filling thickens.
Step Three: Prepare the Crust
- While your filling is resting, prepare the bottom crust on your pie pan. Roll it into a 12-inch circle and press it into a 9-inch pie plate.
- Allow the edges of the pie dough to hang over the sides of the plate.
- You can place the crust in the freezer while the filling is thickening. Cold dough helps the crust to be flaky. Just don't leave it in there longer than fifteen minutes or it will freeze.
- Once your cherry pie filling is ready, pour it into the prepared pie shell.
- Place the top crust over it or add strips of crust for a lattice. Then pull the overhanging bottom crust up and pinch the edges to seal it together.
- If you are using a full top crust then cut 3 small slits in the top to allow the steam to escape as it bakes.
Step Four: Bake
- Place the rhubarb cherry pie in a preheated oven to bake for about an hour.
- It's a good idea to place a baking sheet under fruit pies while they bake, in case the filling spills over. I have never had that happen with this recipe but it is better to be safe than to have filling burning in the bottom of your oven.
- Once fully baked the crust will be golden brown and the filling will be bubbly.
- Let it cool for at least an hour to allow the filling to thicken.
- Frozen rhubarb has more water in it than fresh rhubarb, so if you want to use frozen then you will first need to thaw it, discard the excess liquid, and pat the rhubarb dry before adding to the filling.
- You can place a pie crust circle, weave a lattice crust, or even use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into shapes and place it on top of the filling for your top crust.
- It's essential to have some slits or gaps in your top pie crust so that steam can escape while the pie bakes. Otherwise, it can puff up with moisture trapped inside. It will fall and crumble once removed from the oven.
- If the edges of your crust are getting done too fast can cover them with a pie shield. Or place thin strips of aluminum foil over the edges. These methods prevent the crust from continuing to brown.
- Brush an egg wash over the crust before baking if you want a shinier crust. Simply whisk together an egg with two tablespoons of water or milk for the wash. You can also sprinkle coarse sugar over the crust for an extra touch.
- Top the pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The creaminess of ice cream is one of the best combinations with a sweet fruit pie.
Fruit pies can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. When stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to 4 days.
Allowing the pie to cool will help it to thicken and set. If you serve it right away then you will have a very juicy pie that will fall apart as you serve it. If you want to serve it warm then it is recommended to reheat the pie after it has cooled.
Sour cherries are tart red cherries. Sour cherries and sweet cherries are two varieties of cherry. The flesh texture, juiciness, and flavor will be different with each variety, but equally delicious. When using fresh cherries the critical thing to make sure of is that you remove the hard pit in the middle while you are washing them and preparing them.
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Sweet Cherry Rhubarb PieRecipe by:
- 3 cups sweet cherries pitted and quartered
- 2 cups rhubarb fresh or frozen, ½-inch pieces (about 5 stalks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- Pie Crust (top and bottom)
- Mix the sweet cherries, rhubarb, granulated sugar, and tapioca in a large bowl.
- Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Let sit for 15 minutes in order for the tapioca to thicken the filling.
- While the filling is sitting, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a pie plate with pie crust and trim to ½-inch over the edge. Place the crust in the freezer to stay cold until the filling is ready (no more than 15 minutes or your crust may start to freeze).
- Pour the cherry rhubarb filling into the crust. Use your second pie crust to form a lattice on the top of the pie, or place the whole crust on top of the pie, cutting 3 slits to allow the steam to escape. Press the edges of the crust together to seal.
- Bake in the oven 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F (177°C) for for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour, allowing the filling to set.
- An equal amount of cornstarch can be used in place of the tapioca. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar before mixing with the fruit, to prevent lumps.
- You can use orange juice instead of lemon juice if you do not have lemons on hand.
- If using frozen fruit, allow it to thaw, then drain it before mixing the filling.
- Place a pie shield over the crust after 30 minutes of baking to help keep it from burning.
- For a glossy crust, brush the top with an egg wash mixture (1 egg with 2 tablespoons of water or milk) before baking.
- Store at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.