Roasted cherry pie with black pepper buttermilk crust

Add some spice to the typical cherry pie

Photo by James Stockhorst
Photo by James Stockhorst

It's no secret that Cafe Medina serves excellent breakfast, but executive chef Jonathan Chovancek, who is also the co-proprietor of Bittered Sling Extracts, also makes mean desserts like this cherry pie. The black pepper and roasted cherries give the pie a more savoury and bolder flavour than the usual. 

To save time, you can make the dough while the filling is chilling.


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp roasted cracked black pepper
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold well-shaken buttermilk

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and pepper.

Add the cold butter in small clumps. Use your fingertips to bring the flour mixture and butter together quickly, until the mixture resembles little beach rocks.

Add buttermilk and combine into dough, without over mixing. Divide the dough in half. Turn each half onto a large parchment and place another parchment over top. Roll and shape each dough into a 1cm thick disk. Refrigerate until firm. Once firm, roll the dough out on a floured counter.

Roll one ball to approximately 25 cm diameter and ¼ cm thick. This is the bottom crust. Roll the second ball to approximately 20 cm diameter and reserve for the top crust.

Use your rolling pin to wrap and gently lift the bottom crust onto your pie plate. You can brush the pie plate with a little unsalted butter but it is not necessary. If you break the dough, patch it with extra dough and some egg wash.

Use kitchen scissors or a paring knife to trim the edges of the dough, leaving 2 cm of dough overhanging the edge of the pie plate. Refrigerate again until the dough is cold.


4 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
3 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup wildflower honey, warmed
2 pods star anise, toasted and finely ground
1 tbsp Bittered Sling Suius Cherry Extract

In a large mixing bowl combine the cherries, tapioca, salt, warm honey, star anise and Bittered Sling Suius Cherry Extract . Let sit in the refrigerator for 30 to 60min. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).

Stir the filling, then pour into the bottom crust. 

Leave ½ cm of dough exposed around the top. Brush the exposed dough with egg wash and place the top crust over using the same roller-lift method. Cut five little slits through the top crust to let out steam, and press the top and bottom edges together.

Create a border with the back of a spoon and brush the entire top with egg wash. Sprinkle coarse sugar and a generous amount of pepper mill-cracked, roasted black pepper over top of the crust. Put the pie on two doubled-up baking sheets (this helps conduct heat evenly on the bottom) and bake for 50 to 70 minutes, until golden brown and filling gently bubbles. Let cool 3 hours before serving.


2 cups whipping cream
1 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp Bittered Sling Orange & Juniper Extract

While you wait for the pie to cool, combine whipping cream, buttermilk and Bittered Sling Orange & Juniper Extract in a large mixing bowl. Whip until soft peaks form; chill until ready to serve.