For many people who are short on time, making pie filling from scratch isn't always an option. We tested out some pie filling options for a cherry-filled "Pudgy Pie" we were making for a campsite dessert.
Tart or sour cherries are commonly used for making fillings and toppings because of they have a bright red skin colour. However, they have yellow flesh and pale, pink juice, so many manufacturers add red food colouring to the filling.
Common ingredients in cherry pie fillings include: tart cherries, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch, citric acid, sodium, preservatives (benzoate and potassium sorbate) and food colouring (Red 40).
In general, look for pie fillings with at least 35 to 49 % fruit content to guarantee you get a good amount of fruit per can rather than a whole lot of syrup.
If you are concerned about the sugar content, look for pie fillings that have less sugar or have no sugar added; they are available from the main brands today.
For a 9-inch pie, you need about 42 oz (540 ml) of filling, depending on the recipe.
We took these pre-made pie fillings to a pie-baking company to get an expert opinion on which taste most like home made:
- E.D. Smith: $5.99
- President’s Choice: $3.99
- Safeway: $4.99
- Barry Farms (organic): $7.50
The Barry Farms filling tasted most like cherries. It wasn’t too sweet, was thick and rich, and the cherries had a good sour bite, perfect tartness for cherry pie.
The President’s Choice brand had good texture, was sweeter than the Barry Farms but still had a subtle sour taste.
The Safeway brand pie filling was overly sweet and tasted just like sugar and gelatin, and had a thinner consistency.
The E.D. Smith brand had good colour but was on the sweet side, didn’t quite taste as tart as we were looking for.
OUR TOP PICK
We chose the Barry Farms organic cherry pie filling for its most authentic home made tart taste.
Thanks to Our Experts
Savary Island Pie Company