This pie reminds me of  summers spent in the sour cherry tree tops in the Croatian countryside as a child staining clothes beyond repair whilst gorging on the delicious tangy sweetness. It is super easy and quick to make, crazy delicious and quite saintly being both gluten and sugar free.

Confession: I use the gluten free sour cream shortcrust Careme pastry most of the time guys , I won’t lie ( *not sponsored but now that you know Careme call me ok ; ) * ) but if you have the time to make from scratch , I have really liked making my own variation with sour cream dough based on the excellent ones on this website.

1 1/2 - 2 packets of frozen sour cherries (800-1000grams depending on the depth of your dish)
About 1/2-1 bottle maple syrup ( or to taste )
Cornstarch, about 3 tablespoons 
A good dash of Vanilla essence or the inside of 1 1/2 vanilla beans
Optional extras I personally like to add (not necessary) :
a couple of eggs
a couple of large dollops of cream
a dash of Kirsch
some sliced apple for decorating
You could also experiment with a touch less cornstarch and some pasture raised gelatine powder instead for a more jelly texture or almond flour for frangipane texture. 

Pour frozen cherries into a pot and heat up until they thaw. Pour just over half of the liquid out when the cherries just come to boil, leaving some juice for sauce. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, Kirsch, mix and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until the liquid has thickened significantly into a cohesive mass on a low simmer (about 5 minutes). The basis of the filling is done but I like to wait for the filling to cool and then add 2 beaten eggs (take 1/2 spoon cornstarch off) or 2 egg yolks and cream and mix that through before pouring into the shell for a richer, more indulgent taste.  

I am so lazy with this I do not roll out the pastry dear reader. If I had to go through doing this every time I wanted pie there is no way the pie would happen every week. Gluten free pastry is a nightmare to roll out and I don’t need more stress or mess in my life. Besides I find this does the near enough thing and the process makes me feel like a kid playing with clay without flour everywhere. Simply line the pie or tart dish with baking paper, then place the mostly defrosted dough in the middle. Squish the dough down and massage it over the whole surface of the dish, distributing evenly over the bottom and the sides until you made an even thickness pie shell (feel free to use creative finger moves!) Next up add the filling and distribute evenly. Place maple syrup brushed sliced apples on top. Bake at 220ºC for 15 minutes in a pre heated oven, then decrease the oven temperature to 190ºC . Bake till the crust is golden and the filling is thick, 35-50 minutes depending on your oven. Sit the pie to cool completely to set the fruit filling, at least 2 hours, then cut into wedge slices and serve at room temperature with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream . The pie will keep a day in the oven or 3 days in the fridge and is wonderful with morning coffee...if it lasts till the morning!

Photography and food styling by Alice Wesley Smith


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