Minute Tapioca is a quick cooking pearl-form of tapioca, it’s mostly known as the main ingredient in lumpy, chewy, delicious tapioca pudding, but long-time bakers know that it’s also useful for thickening pies and has some advantages over cornstarch and flour. Tapioca makes a glossier, more translucent filling, is gluten-free, can stand up to acidic ingredients and in some cases makes the pie filling thicker. Thanks to interest in gluten-free baking, fine tapioca starch is easier to find these days and probably the ideal form of tapioca for pies. However, the pearled Minute Tapioca is still a fine option. It just requires softening.
If you have box of Minute Tapioca in the kitchen and want to try using it in a fruit pie, this vintage cherry pie recipe from The Vintage Recipe Project is a fun one.
Thawed Frozen Cherries or Jarred Morello Cherries
I found the original recipe while searching for ways to use some Minute Tapioca I'd bought for a slow cooker dish. The recipe calls for sour cherries and their juice, but I used thawed frozen dark cherries and they worked just fine. After making the original version of the pie, I made it again using a jar of Morello cherries from Trader Joe's. Because a 24 oz jar of Morello cherries only yields about 1 ½ cups of cherries, the new pie was very shallow. But shallow doesn't necessarily mean bad because you get a higher proportion of crust.
Dark Morello Cherries Version
So here's my version of a cherry pie that calls for only 1 jar of Morello cherries. You can make it with a double crust or use the crumb topping pictured below for even more flavor and texture variation. If you don't want it to be quite so shallow, you can try to drum up a smaller pie plate or make it as minis.
I still haven't tried doubling the Morello cherries version of the pie, but I think it would work. We just like the smaller size for weeknight home desserts.
Minute Tapioca Cherry Pie
- Enough crust for a double crust pie 9 inch deep dish
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- 1 ¼ tablespoons Minute Tapioca
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups drained dark Morello cherries from one 24 oz jar
- ¼ cup cherry liquid from jar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons butter cut into thin slices
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put a rimmed baking sheet in to preheat along with the oven.
- Have ready a 9 inch pie plate lined with pie dough.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar, tapioca pearls and salt.
- Add the cherries and toss to coat, then stir in cherry juice, almond extract and vanilla. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes.
- Pour mixture into pie dish using only as much as need (you may have more filling depending on the depth of your dish -- if you overfill, it will bubble over). Dot with butter. Roll out your top crust and lay it over, then seal edges and cut vents. Alternatively, use a lattice.
- Set the pie on the hot rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes. Let the pie cool for several hours, then chill slightly. Return to room temperature and cut.