Free Form Cherry Pie for Crust Lovers

A free-form cherry pie cooked on a baking sheet! The filling isn’t as thick as a traditional cherry pie so there’s more crust in every single bite.

A pie after my crust-lovin’ heart.

This uses my new favorite discovery – cream cheese crust – the perfect companion for luscious, deep red cherries. Full of flavor, cream cheese crust is sturdier than all butter or shortening crusts but still remains light and flaky because it calls for butter too. This makes it the perfect crust to use for making hand pies, turnovers and pies just like this one.

Pies without a pie dish.

The filling is full of sweet and juicy Bing cherries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. As the cherries bake their natural tartness is brought out, offering balance to the plenitude of sweetness going on.

Cornstarch helps to keep the filling nice and thick so it doesn’t fall apart when sliced. There’s a confectioners’ glaze to finish, brushed generously over top of the cooled pie.  If you can wait long enough for it to cool.

Warm cherry pie with a scoop of ice cream melting on top? Yes, please.

Get in line.

Free Form Cherry Pie with Cream Cheese Crust

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie

Free Form Cherry Pie with Cream Cheese Crust

A free-form cherry pie cooked on a baking sheet! The filling isn't as thick as a traditional cherry pie so there's more flaky, cream cheese crust in every single bite.


2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, optional
1/2 cup cream cheese (low-fat is fine)
10 tablespoons cold butter
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Filling (don't mix ahead of time!):
3 cups Bing Cherries, pitted and sliced in half
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
coarse sugar
whipped cream or ice cream, for serving


  1. To make the crust: Add the flour to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cream cheese, salt, and buttermilk powder if using. Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut the cream cheese into the flour until crumbly. If using a food processor pulse a few times until crumbly.
  2. Dice the cold butter up and work it into the flour with the pastry blender/fork until crumbles the size of dimes form or pulse in the food processor until crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle the dough with the cold water a tablespoon at a time and toss - squeeze the dough with your hands after each addition - if it holds together don't add more water. If it doesn't stick together keep adding the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks together
  4. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, flatten each one into a disk, wrap with saran wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  5. Cover a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick baking spray.
  6. On a floured surface roll one of the disks out into a 10" circle and use a sharp knife to trim the edges (I put a 10" dinner plate over top to trim the excess). Place on baking sheet.
  7. Roll out the remaining disk the same way.
  8. In a small bowl whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water.
  9. Assembling the pie requires that you work fast because as soon as you toss the berries with the other ingredients they will start letting go of their juices making it hard to get the pie together as the juice starts running everywhere. Make sure your crusts and egg are prepped and ready to go before mixing the cherries.
  10. In a large mixing bowl toss cherries with the sugar, lemon, vanilla and cornstarch. Immediately spread out - evenly - over top of the crust on the baking sheet leaving about an inch border around the edges. Dot the top with butter.
  11. Brush the edges with the beaten egg and also brush the edges of the top crust.
  12. Place the top crust over the cherries and press together the edges with your fingers all the way around then use a fork to crimp the edges together.
  13. Brush the entire pie with the egg and poke a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. If you have extra dough cut cookie cutter shapes and adhere them to the top with the egg, brush the tops of them too.
  14. Refrigerate the pie for 30-60 minutes.
  15. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake pie 15 minutes then turn heat down to 350. Bake about 18-20 minutes longer until pie is golden brown around the edges.
  16. Remove from oven and cool. Once cool whisk the butter and confectioners' sugar together in a small bowl adding a teaspoon or two of milk to make a glaze. Brush generously over entire pie, then repeat if you have some left. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  17. Cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or ice cream.


Pie Crust adapted from King Arthur Flour

If you find yourself with a boatload of cherries and without a cherry pitter I have a simple solution! Use a pastry bag tip: a small, rounded one placed on a cutting board. Pull out the stem, push the stem side down over the tip and the pit will pop out the top splitting the cherry right in half. Works best on ripe cherries.

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