Best of Show Raspberry Cherry Pie

In 1983, I had won our big County Fair Pie Contest (Hamilton County/Cincinnati) and really didn’t want to push my luck by entering the following year, but my oldest daughter insisted it was my duty to defend my title.  So, I looked around my country kitchen, crowded with fresh produce, and decided to make a Raspberry Cherry Pie, using our home-grown black raspberries and tart red cherries.  I baked it on a hot Saturday morning, took it to the fairgrounds and when the contest was over, was told I was the first one in the history of the contest to win two years in a row.  I got a blue ribbon, best of show rosette, an engraved silver bowl and a half-bushel of apples.

The years went by and I was always baking something new for our Sunday dinner – never got around to making the prize-winning pie again.  Then, my husband was ill with Alzheimer’s and we had to leave our country home and the raspberry bushes and the cherry trees, so it has been over 25 years since I first made this pie.

A month or so ago, my online friend, Darlene, blogged about a dessert she had made using frozen tart cherries from Meijer.  I hurried to the store, picked up a bag of cherries and some red raspberries, and came home to bake an old favorite.  It was just as good as I remembered it.


  • Pastry for double crust 9″ pie (click here for my favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup tart red cherries (I used frozen)
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tblsp. fast-acting tapioca
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 Tblsp. milk

Preheat oven @ 375 degrees F

Measure one cup of cherries into a large bowl.  If cherries are frozen, they will thaw by the time the pie is completed.

To the cherries, add the raspberries, sugar, salt, tapioca and vanilla.  Toss to mix well and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Stir fruit to distribute sugar and turn into a pastry-lined 9″ pie pan.  Dot with butter, add top crust and crimp to seal.  Cut vents and brush with milk.

Place on a flat pan to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until top crust is golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. 

I probably took a little more care in preparing a fair entry, but not much.  To me, the idea was that it should be one of my normal Sunday pies – with all its little rough spots and bubbling over.

In 1987, when we went to the fair, my daughter told me that one of her entries was going to be my birthday present.  When we got to the Hobbies & Crafts Department, I found she had made a miniature model of the Hamilton County Fair Pie Contest, correct down to the tiniest detail with ribbons, trophies, a table full of pies and baskets of apples.  It won a Best of Show Rosette for her.

Every year, I display the model during the county fair season and remember all the good – and hectic – times we had at the pie contests.

President’s Day and Cherry Fudge Pie


For my 70th birthday (5 years ago), my daughters gave me all kinds of collectibles and memorabilia dated 1932.  This handkerchief was one of them – commemorating George Washington’s birth.


I like to get it out for display each year on President’s Day.  And what better way to celebrate the occasion than a cherry pie.  In 1985, I was trying to come up with a unique idea for an Ohio State Fair cherry pie contest.  My oldest daughter suggested something with chocolate in it.  I developed this recipe incorporating chocolate and although it didn’t win the contest, it became a family favorite.

At that time, we had a country home with fruit trees – apple, pear, plum and one little cherry tree that produced huge amounts of fruit.  Pitting the cherries took forever but they were wonderful.  I never see fresh tart red cherries in our local markets but the canned cherries also make a delicious pie.



Fudge layer:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. sweetened condensed milk , not evaporated
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cherry filling:

  • 3-1/2 cups fresh tart cherries or two 14-15 oz. cans of tart cherries, drained (Note:  not cherry pie filling)
  • 3 Tblsp. Minute tapioca
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tblsp. brandy
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

In small saucepan stir condensed milk and chips over low heat until chips have melted.  Stir in vanilla.  Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, place cherries, tapioca, salt, brandy, almond extract and sugar.  Stir to blend.

Place pastry in 9″ pie pan.  Spread chocolate mixture over bottom surface of crust.  Pour in the cherry mixture.  Dot with butter.  Add the top crust, brush lightly with milk and cut vents.  Set on a flat pan to catch spills.  Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.  Makes one 9″ pie.