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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cherry Pie with Almond Crumb Topping

This is my second cherry pie this summer, the previous being a traditional 2-crust pie. Having made a quick lemon meringue pie over the weekend, I was left with enough crust for a single-crust pie. And when I saw the cherries in the supermarket, I decided that now was the time to try the crumb-topped cherry pie that I had been pondering since the last cherry pie I made. I decided to leave the filling basically the same as my previous pie, I have reposted the ingredients below for convenience.

Look at these gorgeous cherries!
Here are the crumbs, notice the
uneven almond pieces
For the crumb topping, I just winged it, adding equal parts of flour and sugar, some oats, lots of almonds and butter, a dash of cinnamon and a bit of almond extract. I used about ¼ tsp of cinnamon, and I think it could have been even stronger, I was light handed with the cinnamon because I didn’t want to overpower the almond extract (or clash with it). If you want it a little stronger, I leave that decision to your taste buds. I also used regular sugar, because I didn’t want the crumbs to be too heavy and sweet, and it turned out great. However, it would probably be just as great with light brown sugar, so feel free to use that if you want a slightly stronger and sweeter crumb! I added the almonds slices whole, and used a fork to combine the crumbs, breaking up the almond slices as I mixed. The almond breakage wasn’t uniform, so it gave a nice variation in texture and taste. Don’t worry about getting to every last little almond slice.

Pie filling!


  • Dough for a single-crust pie, rolled out (your favorite recipe or refrigerated)
  • 4 C pitted fresh cherries (if using frozen, thaw and drain them first)
  • ½-3/4 C sugar (adjust to the sweetness of your cherries, I used ½ C for sweet cherries and it was perfect)
  • 4 tbls cornstarch
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbls lemon juice (if you like a tart cherry pie, which I do. Half this or adjust the sugar if not)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Flour, for sprinkling dough


Topped and ready to bake
  • ½ C flour
  • ½ C sugar, white or light brown
  • 1/3 C oats
  • 1 C almonds, sliced
  • 6-7 tbls of butter, melted
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • Cinnamon to taste (1/4 tsp)
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Make the pie filling: Combine cherries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon, salt, and almond extract gently in a bowl
  3. Place bottom crust in pie plate, and spread 1 tbls flour on the bottom crust. This will help prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy.
  4. Spoon filling into the bottom crust. 
  5. Make the topping: Combine the ingredients for the topping, and mix until moistened. If it seems a little dry for you, add in the 7th tbls of butter. 
  6. Sprinkle the crumbs onto the pie as uniformly as you can, giving the best coverage that you can. Gently pat the crumbs into place.
  7. Bake at 375 for 1hr to 1hr 10min. I put an aluminum shield on the crust about halfway through and it was perfect.
  8. Let cool completely on rack.

Fresh out of the oven
Effort-wise, this pie was on par with a double-crust pie. Making the crumb topping takes about as much time as rolling a second crust, so that is a wash.

Close-up of the topping

 I have to say, I really enjoyed the change in flavor and texture that the crumb topping gave to this pie. The filling was the perfect contrast to the crumbs in every way, and each bite had the taste of buttery crust, tart cherries, and sweet crunchy crumbs.
The crumbs contrast perfectly with the cherries
Plus, and this was part of the reason I experimented with this pie in the first place, converting the cherry pie into a single-crust pie will make it easier to make a mini-pie version!! I am all about mini-pies, I have 3” pie tins that are crying out to be used. And, it is preferable to roll and cut crusts for tons of single-crust pies as opposed to 2-crust pies, because double-crust means you either have to make twice as much dough, or half as many pies! That seems like a lose-lose situation to me.

All in all, as you wind down your summer baking, and the last few weeks of good fruit come in, consider making this, or indeed any fruit pie. The fresh ripe berries won’t be around much longer, make haste!

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