Cherry pie for the holiday season: Michigan cherries, tart and sweet with a few varieties to choose from

Michigan cherries

Clockwise starting in the top right corner: Golds, tart Montmorency, Hudsons, Queen Annes

Midsummer in Northern Michigan;
it was the last day for cherry picking so we picked as many types of cherries that we could at a local cherry farm. We actually came home with about 200 pounds of cherries for a very good price. Yikes, what do you do with 200 pounds of cherries?You make cherry pie, of course.

A small portion of our cherry harvest

Varieties of cherries in Michigan

There are more than 50 different species of cherries and over 1000 varieties of cherries. We could have the 1000 cherry challenge! But, not all those varieties will grow well or be available where we live.

Some varieties that are grown in Michigan include Emperor Francis, Gold, Napolean, Ulster, Benton, Attica, Kristin, Cavalier, Black pearl, Ebony pearl, Radiance pearl and Burgundy pearl, Gold star, Hudson, Montmorency, Ranier, Northstar, Nelson, Black gold, Vista, Sam, Summit, and several others.

My first tart cherry pie

Cherry pie

To celebrate picking all those cherries, we baked an amazingly delicious cherry pie. I wish I had a better picture, but as you can see, someone started to slice the pie before I even took this picture. Everyone was eager to eat some pie!

Ulster cherries

Preserving cherries

The cherries went from the trees to the pantry, and more than a few straight to our bellies. We canned, jammed, dehydrated and froze the majority of 200 pounds of freshly picked cherries. Our hands, faces and clothes were cherry stained. It was the first year we picked cherries, and cherries may be the new u-pick favorite. Lots of fruit, short time to pick. Lots of fun.

Canned sweet cherries
Picking cherries
Eating cherries

We had a delicious day that ended with a delicious pie after pitting all those cherries!!!

Montmorency tart cherries
Mixed cherry pie, ready for the oven

That was the first cherry pie; and now that it is the holiday season, it is time to take some of those canned cherries and frozen cherries, and make another cherry pie to share with family. All those 200 pounds of cherries stored up for the winter, is something we are very thankful for.

Holiday Gluten-free Cherry Pie recipe

I hope you enjoy a taste of Michigan’s cherries with a slice of this Holiday Gluten free Cherry Pie. If you’re having a tart cherry pie, there’s a good chance the cherries may have come from some of my fruit growing neighbors.

Holiday Gluten Free Cherry Pie

This is simply a delicious gluten free cherry pie recipe. We have made it with tart cherries and mixed sweet cherries. When we served this cherry pie over Thanksgiving to our non-gluten-free family members, everyone loved it! And if you like cherry pie, we know that you will love it too.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
  • 1 box King Arthur Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix (or your favorite pie crust mix)
  • 6 cups pitted cherries sour or sweet (if using canned cherries 3, 15 oz cans)
  • 3 tbsp quick cooking tapioca
  • 1 cup maple syrup (you can substitute regular sugar, or eliminate sugar/syrup if you prefer}
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Make pie crust mix according to box instructions.

  3. Press one pie crust into bottom of 9 inch pie plate.

  4. Stir together cherries, tapioca, maple syrup and almond extract in bowl. Let stand for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile cut top pie crust into 1/2 inch strips to use for making a lattice top.

  5. Pour cherry mix into pie shell. Lay top crust strips across pie in lattice pattern. Pinch edges to seal.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.

  7. Allow to cool before serving.

Recipe Notes

Fresh cherries are so delicious and to take some frozen or canned cherries to make a pie in the winter brings back all the joys of the summer harvest!

We hope you will try out this cherry pie at your late Christmas party, family gathering, or it may even be perfect for a Valentines Day dessert! Enjoy.

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