This black bottom cherry pie is full of juicy cherries and a surprising, rich ganache base

This recipe is great with or without the floral effect

Published July 24, 2022 1:30PM (EDT)

 (Julia Gartland / Food52)
(Julia Gartland / Food52)

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I'm a big flower lover, but sunflowers are my very favorite, bar none. Maybe it's their bright, sunny color, maybe it's because I'm from Kansas  the sunflower state. This pie is sunny, too  full of juicy cherries and a surprising, rich ganache base. It's great with or without the floral effect (you can bake it as a regular double crust pie, no problem)! — Erin Jeanne McDowell

Watch this recipe

Black Bottom Cherry "Sunflower" Pie
1 9-inch pie
Prep Time
2 hours
Cook Time
50 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pounds (681 g) cherries, pitted
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup (149 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (38 g) cornstarch
  • pinch cinnamon
  • small splash vanilla extract
  • 2x your favorite single crust pie dough (my favorite recipe is here)
  • 1 cup (113 g) chopped dark chocolate (I used 60%)
  • 1/3 cup (76 g) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (39 g) chocolate chips
  • egg wash, as needed for finishing



  1. In a medium pot, toss the cherries, lemon juice, and half of the sugar to combine. Stir over medium heat until the berries begin to soften and release their juices slightly, 3-5 minutes.
  2. In small bowl, whisk the remaining sugar and cornstarch to combine. Add this mixture to the cherries and mix well to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and continue to cook until the mixture thickens 4-5 minutes. Cool completely. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out half of the dough into a circle 1/4 inch thick. To transfer the dough to the pie pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, starting at the far edge of the round. With the pie pan in front of you, start at the edge closest to you and gently unfurl the dough into the pan. Press gently to make sure the crust settles all the way to the bottom, but be careful not to poke any holes in the dough. Trim away the excess dough, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang all around. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Tuck the excess dough under at the edges, pressing lightly to help "seal" the dough to the outer rim of the pie pan. Return the dough to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Crimp the edges of the piecrust as desired (I used a fork to keep it flat for the eventual flower petal placement). 
  5. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Cut a square of parchment slightly larger than the pie pan. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust on the stone or bottom rack just until the edges barely begin to turn golden, 15-20 minutes. 
  6. Remove the parchment and weights and return the pan to the oven for another 2-4 minutes, just until slightly more golden around the edges and the base looks dry. Let cool completely. 
  7. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a medium, heat-safe bowl. Heat the cream in a small pot until it comes to a simmer, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit undisturbed for 20-30 seconds, then stir until smooth. Spread the ganache into a thin, even layer in the base of the pie crust. 
  8. Pour the cooled cherry filling into the pie crust and spread into an even layer. Roll out the remaining half of the pie dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a paring knife to freehand, or petal/leaf cookie cutter to cut out about 18 large petals and 15 small petals from the dough.
  9. Arrange the large petals around the outside of the pie, overlapping each piece slightly. Arrange the small petals in a smaller circle inside the first — overlapping the large petals, but leaving a small open space in the center of the pie. Fill the open space with chocolate chips.
  10. Egg wash the pie crust petals and transfer the pie to a baking sheet. Bake until the surface pie begins to turn golden brown and the juices begin to bubble, 30-35 minutes. If needed, cover areas that brown quicker with foil and/or reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

By Erin Jeanne McDowell

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