Late summer and early fall you’ll find it a little warmer in my kitchen than it usually is. Because I’m probably canning something. I consider canning to be a lost art form. Jams, jellies, and pie fillings are usually on the check list. For me, the ideal cherry pie filling is both sweet and tart. A large majority of the ready made pie filling are, to me, simply one note. By combining both sweet and sour cherries together I think you get a more interesting and complex favor, that just gives you a better pie.
For this recipe I used a combination of Rainier Cherries, which are sweet and have a thinner skin, and North Star Cherries, which add that sour note.
Cherry Pie Filling
3 pounds Rainier Cherries or other sweet cherry, pitted
3 pounds North Star Cherries or other sour cherry, pitted
1 1/4 cups lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
The most time consuming part of this whole process is pitting the cherries, pure and simple. Six pounds of cherries took me about 45 minutes to pit.
Place the cherries, sugar, salt and lemon juice in a large heavy bottomed pot. Stir to combine. Whisk the water and cornstarch into a slurry and add to the cherry mixture.
Over medium heat cook the filling down until it thickens. At this point you can cool and use immediately in a pie or process in a water bath for 35 minutes.
Makes 2 1/2 quarts of filling