The jarred sweet cherries from Trader Joe’s are one of my favorite products. They’re not only delicious on their own, but they are a great base for cherry pies, cobblers, breads and other baked goods. Recently, Trader Joe’s introduced a Cherry Pie Filling that offers an even easier shortcut for those home bakers looking to make cherry desserts on the fly. While the jarred cherries are sweet, the cherry pie filling is made with tart Montmorency cherries, sweetened with sugar and flavored with lemon juice and cinnamon. Like most traditional cherry pie fillings, this one is thickened with cornstarch to create a smooth syrup that gives body to the filling.
I liked that most of the cherries were whole and had a nice texture to them. The filling wasn’t overly sweet, so you could still really taste that cherry flavor. The cinnamon was a mild addition, but a nice one. The filling baked up beautifully in both cobbler and pies. That said, this style of filling isn’t my favorite because it uses more thickening than my homemade fillings do and I prefer to have a juicier filling (even if that means some of the juices run out when I’m serving my desserts) to more syrupy ones. But this one still has a good flavor and couldn’t be any easier to use, so it is pretty handy for quick cherry desserts, like a last minute cobbler. I think that it would also make an excellent filling for a cherry variation on my Crazy Crust Cranberry Pie and I might give that a try when I need a cherry fix. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the jarred cherries for my cherry dessert needs.