The Search for a Copy-Cat Grand Traverse Pie Co. Recipe


In Northern Michigan, late July is the time when more rural intersections are decorated in bright red, as cherries slosh out of containers stacked onto farm trucks. As the Cherry Capital of the world, the harvest of our favorite crop has begun in earnest. 

If you’re like me, when you see these little spills of cherry goodness all over roads in Leelanau County and on Old Mission Peninsula you think one thing - cherry pie. 

Again, if you’re like me, a Traverse City local, when you hear cherry pie, you think Grand Traverse Pie Co. GT Pie Co. has restaurants all over the state, famous for their insanely delicious baked goods. As the name suggests, they do pies well. In particular, they do cherry pies exceptionally well. Many local bakers have attempted to hone in their cherry pie recipes on what many would consider the Holy Grail of cherry pie creation: a replica of the incredible pies made by GT Pie Co. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m thrilled to announce we may have found a cherry pie recipe that looks promising to accomplish just that. 

Stumbling through recipes online, I found a recipe from an old blog post by Becky Sweat. Becky is a writer by trade and a baker by skill and choice. After a trip to Traverse City back in 2014, Becky used her extensive baking experience to recreate GT Pie Co.’s Cherry Streusel Pie. 


Streusel topping:

6 T. cold butter

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup all-purpose or unbleached white flour

¾ cup uncooked oatmeal, old-fashioned or quick-cooking

Blend topping ingredients with your fingers or using a pastry blender, under crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to put on top of pie.


2 (1 lb.) cans pitted tart red cherries (juice pack)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

Dash salt

1/8 tsp. pure almond extract

2 T. butter

1 (9-inch) unbaked pastry shell

Drain cherries, reserving 1 cup liquid. In medium saucepan, combine ½ cup of the sugar, cornstarch and salt; stir in reserved cherry liquid. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbling slightly. Reduce heat to low and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ½ cup of sugar, the cherries, butter and almond extract. Spoon into pastry shell. Sprinkle topping overfilling. Bake in 400-degree oven for about  40 minutes. Cool on pie rack at least an hour before serving.

Did Becky get this recipe right all the way back in 2014? Has this been a deep-web secret for almost a decade? You’ll have to test the recipe for yourself to find out! Let us know how it turns out for you in the comments :) 


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