Cherry Crumb Pie + 5 Must Try Pie Links

 

 

We planted bamboo in our backyard, placing the roots in a thick plastic bag so as to prevent the invasive species from taking over our yard entirely.  The roots were then covered with a thick layer of soil and neatly outlined with gray stone bricks.  We made a choice: restrict the plant’s natural growth pattern.  Watch and see.  Wait and wonder. Will it flourish in such restrained, unnatural conditions?

Yes.  It reached for the sun, ached for it really.  Absorbed the rain like a drunk, waiting patiently for a change of state, until finally, its branches hung heavy with delicate chartreuse leaves.  It pushed itself to the very corners of the neat space it inhabited, hoping, I think, to cross the stone barrier and when it realized some things are just not possible, it reached for the moon and sun, Orion and the Big Dipper.

The bamboo tolerated dog piss, little hands shaking and pulling at it, suffocating mounds of snow, branch breaking ice, drought and heavy rains.  Many long and relentless days and nights tested the bamboo season after season and yet it stood, reaching higher every day.

Today I watch the bamboo from our kitchen, my view partially obscured by an old air conditioner rattling away, attempting to bring relief to an old house surrounded by more concrete than grass.  In the stove, a cherry crumb pie bakes.  I can smell cinnamon and vanilla build in the air while the heat from the stove thwarts the cool air blowing from the AC.  The kids play outside on the swing set.  Red-faced, dirty feet, sticky skin, happy. The dog surveys our small yard, weaving in and around the kids, the toys.  [Life’s junk, carried from one place to the next as if it holds value.]  Nose to the ground she sniffs the same smells.  [Are you hoping for something new, sweet girl?]  And the bamboo? The bamboo bends a bit with the wind.  It waits patiently, absorbing what it can, not asking too much, quietly preparing for the next growth spurt.

I envy the bamboo.

Cherry Crumb Pie

Pie crust recipe adapted from The Washington Post

Cherry filling recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Crumb topping adapted from My Recipes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

1 + 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose, unbleached flour

1 tablespoon raw sugar

1 + 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

16 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 of very cold water

Directions for pie crust:

Grab a medium bowl and sift flour into the bowl.  Whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds.  Add the butter.  Combine butter and flour with your fingers until the butter resembles small peas.  Stir in the cold water, a little at a time, until shaggy dough forms.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more dough or if it is too dry add a just spoonful of water.  Knead the dough into a ball.  Wrap in plastic, refrigerate and allow to rest while you make the cherry pie filling.

Ingredients for cherry pie filling:

5 cups of fresh cherries, washed and pitted

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 cup water

4 tablespoons of cornstarch

Directions:

Add cherries, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan.  In a small bowl mix together the water and cornstarch to make a slurry.  Add the water/cornstarch mixture to the cherries.  Stir to combine.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  **Filling can be made several days ahead.  Be sure to store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.**

Ingredients for crumb topping:

1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 old fashion oats

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions for topping:

Add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and stir together.  Next, add the butter.  Combine the butter and dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Set aside or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

Pie Assembly Time!

Preheat your oven to 350F.  While the oven is preheating, flour a work surface.  Divide dough in half.  Roll out one portion of the dough into a 14-inch round.  Place gently in pie plate, pressing into the corners.  Trim the excess to 1+1/2 inch overhang.  Fold the overhang to the middle to create a 3/4 inch border all around that sits on the rim of the pie plate.  Refrigerate the pie crust for 20 minutes before proceeding.  (While the pie crust is chilling wrap the second portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another use.   Clean up a bit and before you know it the crust will be ready!)

Add filling to pie and spread evenly.  Top cherry filling evenly with crumb topping.  Brush a bit of heavy cream on the border of the pie crust.  Place the pie in the oven on the middle rack and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream or as is.  Enjoy!

**Pie can be kept at room temperature lightly wrapped in aluminum foil for a couple of days but I doubt it will last that long.**

5 Must Try Pie Links

Take advantage of peach season and make my peach ricotta pudding pie.

If a pie feels like too much work, try Whole Hearted Eats dark fruit galette.

Craving ice cream?  Try Jelly Toast’s marshmallow ice cream pie or my recipe for bourbon brown sugar ice cream pie.

Fall is just around the corner and I can’t wait to make Pastry Affair’s caramel apple crumble pie.  Yum!

Rhubarb Strawberry Cherry Crisp + 5 Delicious Fruit Crisp Links!

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The last thing Eloise ate the day she died? A piece of rhubarb pie.  It was an ordinary day, really, nothing extraordinary to note.  She sat at the kitchen at table alone, the sound of the grandfather clock ticking away, taunting her, so many minutes in the day ahead.  Or so she thought.  The Russian Blue cat she inherited from her granddaughter many years ago sat on the kitchen table, within a short leap of her slice of rhubarb pie.  The cat gazed at her with what seemed like concern, but likely hunger. [Though she fed the cat plenty, he seemed to crave food more since Russell died.  Fancy Feast soothed his broken heart. Nothing soothed her heart.]

“Shoo!”

He remained, as he sensed he should.  He wouldn’t budge, so she took a big bite of her slice of rhubarb pie.  Delicious, as always, Russell’s favorite.  A flaky, buttery crust filled with slightly tart and perfectly sweet rhubarb from their garden.  A recipe passed down from her mother.  [A difficult woman to love.  And yet.  She was loved.]

“Damn cat!  Bringing me a dead mouse at 5 in the morning.  Some companion you are!  Russell, you should be here!” she hollered into muggy morning air.

[She called to him often.  Talked to  him in her head.  Dreamt of him at night. Occasionally, he did appear to her in the quiet blue-black stillness of night;  sleeping, his chest heaving up and down, the sound of his breath lulling her to sleep.  Russell had always been enough for her.  In sixty-two years of marriage she never entertained the idea of another man.  He thought of other women, as men do, yet never sought a thrill.  She was enough.]

Eloise stood from the table, opened the front door and stepped into the damp morning air, barefoot.  [Unlike her to be barefoot, wet grass between her toes.  She loved her slippers, but she was not herself today.]

As she made her way across the yard to her jungly garden, she marveled at how good the dewy grass felt underneath her feet, the warm sun on her back, penetrating her bones. She stared at her garden, the tomatoes heavy on the vines, raspberry bushes growing wildly, engulfing the zucchini and Blackeyed Susans.  A few stalks of rhubarb remained, enough for another pie.

And with a moan, she howled  “Russell, you should be here!”

[Neighbors thought for sure the old woman was loosing her mind, calling out for a dead man.  And when they saw her skitter across the lawn faster than she had moved in years, arms held out, smiling, well they made a quick call to her son.  An hour later he would find her, curled up on the summer grass as if asleep, her body turning cold.]

It was the sound of a lawn mower that made Eloise turn.  He stood a few yards away: khakis, white t-shirt wet with perspiration, smiling, the lawnmower now at rest. “Russell?”  She walked towards him, her pale blue nightgown skimming the damp grass, her ninety-year old body outlined by the sun, visible through the thin cotton.  Eloise reached for Russell and he smiled. His damp face, his slight stubble, his dry lips all in her hands once again, the blue eyes she looked into for sixty-two years, again, looking at her.

She felt light-headed, her breath slowed and she fell to her knees.

Eloise lay on her back in the emerald grass, Russell lay on his side right next to her.  She stared at the hazy sky, the large elm beginning to sway, the wind mercifully picking up on this oppressive summer day.  She understood what was happening and a single tear fell down her cheek.  What relief!  No more marking of days, minutes too long to bare without him.  She would miss a few souls and that damn cat.  She thought of the half-eaten pie sitting on the kitchen table and wondered if the cat would eat it.  She didn’t care.  Ready now, Eloise turned her body to Russell, curled up into space between them and let go.

 

Rhubarb Strawberry Cherry Crisp

Serves 6

Recipe Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 stalks rhubarb, 1/2 inch slice

2 cups of cherries, pits removed and halved

2 cups strawberries, quartered

1/3 cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the Crisp Topping:

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 raw sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 stick + 4 tablespoons, chilled, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

generous pinch of kosher salt

vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Butter a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and toss sliced rhubarb with cut cherries and strawberries.  Add sugar and cornstarch and mix gently to coat.  Next, add the orange juice and stir again.  Pour the berries into the prepared baking dish.

Grab another mixing bowl and stir together the flour, oats, sugar and salt.  Add the almond extract and butter.  Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until the ingredients are clumpy and resemble wet sand, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Allow the crisp to cool for 15 minutes or so before serving.  Serve with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

**The crisp topping can be made a few days ahead.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  The fruit should be prepared just before baking.  The baked crisp is best the day it is made.  If you have leftovers, re-heat in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes or the microwave for a few minutes.**

5 Delicious Fruit Crisp Links

Memorial Day and 4th of July are just around the corner so why not make Joan Nathan’s Red, White and Blue Fruit Crisp?

I can’t wait for peach season!  Dolly + Oatmeal’s peach, hazelnut, shiso crisp with ginger ice cream and Minimalist Baker’s easy peach crisp are on my must make list this summer.  Oh and they are both gluten-free!

Can’t get enough of sour cherry desserts?  Check out my cherry oat crisp.  It is the perfect summertime treat.

Want to know how to many any fruit crisp in just 5 easy-peasy steps?  Head to Food 52 for some tips.

 

Fresh Cherry Tart + 5 Tart Recipes You Need to Check Out!

 

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The cherries were on sale.  Fresh from Washington state, Bing cherries, $4.99 a pound! the sign read.  I stared at the individually wrapped 2 lb bags of cherries.  That’s still $9 for cherries.  No keep walking I told myself, but they were taunting me. I could almost taste their sweet, slightly tart juice and meaty flesh.  My mind started racing with recipe ideas: cherry salsa? hand-pies? trifle? I could eat them raw while watching Chopped.  The possibilities were endless.  After much back and forth, I found myself standing at the checkout counter paying for a $9 bag of beautiful cherries.

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I don’t regret it.  We snacked on the raw cherries, the kids taking turns with the cherry pitter, cherry juice staining their mouths and hands.  I managed to save half of the cherries and tuck them safely behind a gallon of unopened milk in the refrigerator.  The next day I made a fresh cherry tart, a Martha Stewart recipe I had my eyes on for weeks.

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I made a couple of changes.  Her recipe called for a graham cracker crust and I opted for a crunchy, sweet and delectable Cracklin’ Oat Bran crust.  My sister-in-law introduced me to this crust when she made Dorothy’s Fresh Blueberry Pie, again swapping out a traditional crust for this bit of crunchy food heaven.

fct588The Cracklin’ Oat Bran crust came together as easily as any graham cracker crust.  Once the crust cooled, I spread a silky honey and cream cheese mixture to the edges of the crackling crust.  I topped the tart with fresh cherries and a bit of raspberry glaze; I placed the tart in the refrigerator to chill and occupied myself with the kids outside.

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Patience is a virtue, but not my virtue…or Bubba’s…or the kids.  I sliced into this tart as soon as 30 minutes of chilling time passed.  Patience and willpower be damned!

Fresh Cherry Tart

Serves 8

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Cracklin’ Oat Bran Crust from Food 52

Ingredients for Filling:

6 ounces from bar of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup of honey (mild)

zest of 1 lime

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 lb Bing cherries, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

Ingredients for Cracklin’ Oat Bran Crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Using a food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the cereal until fine.  Be sure to measure the cereal after you grind it.  You want 1 1/2 cups of ground cereal.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground cereal with the melted butter until evenly combined.  The cereal should look like wet sand.

Dump the cereal/butter mixture into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press mixture evenly along the bottom of the tart pan and up the sides.

Bake the crust for about 9 minutes, but start checking it at 7 minutes.  The crust is ready when it is dry and a deeper shade of brown.  Cool on a wire rack before filling.

Directions for Cherry Filling:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the cream and continue to beat until soft peaks form.  (I switched from the paddle attachment to the beater attachment at this point.)  Gently fold in lime zest.

Spread mixture in cooled crust and top with cherries.

Using a small sauce pan, combine raspberry jam and 1 teaspoon of water.  Heat over low heat until liquefied, a couple of minutes.  Grab your pastry brush and dab the cherries with the glaze.  Cover the tart and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.  Enjoy!

5 Can’t Miss Tart Recipes!

If you love key lime pie check out Whisk Kid’s lime curd tart recipe.  This tart looks so refreshing!

I love when stone fruits start popping up at farmer’s markets and the grocery store.  When you see these beauties again why not make a tart?  Head to Apt. 2B Baking Co for a simple stone fruit tartlet recipe.

Pretty soon gardens will burst with beautiful tomatoes and being a tomato lover I can’t wait.  Brooklyn Supper’s tomato chevre tart is on my must make list.

Looking for a healthy spin on a butter tart? Head to My New Roots and check out a better butter tart recipe.  I am fascinated!

When apples are in season again, Flourishing Foodie’s salted caramel apple tart will make an appearance on my table.  I don’t want to wish the summer away, but I can’t wait!

Cherry Galette

We are moving in less than 10 days. It is hard to believe. We brought both of our babies home to this house. It is a place full of good and bad memories, struggles and triumphs. I am sad to leave it. Three months ago we decided to put our condo on the market and it sold in 6 days. We were shocked. For years we have complained about the busy street and the lack of a yard for the kids and our dog, Alice. We are frantically looking for a house to buy but nothing we see feels like a good fit. So we will rent for a while. We will be in a state of transition with no end date in site. I like to feel settled so this feels especially hard. I am surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap and incredibly stressed out but we need to eat and dessert is a must in our house.

I spotted cherries at the market the other day and I couldn’t resist buying a bunch. They are a favorite in our household. Typically we eat them straight out of the bag or I throw them into a salad. I saw a recipe for Rhubarb Galette on Top with Cinnamon  http://www.topwithcinnamon.com/and decided to make a cherry version.

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I attempted to make an oat flour dough but I was impatient. I worked the dough too hard. I didn’t let it rest. The butter was too warm. It was a mess. I am preoccupied with the move. I feel out of sorts. I need to be gentle with myself. Luckily, I had a Trader Joe’s pie crust in the fridge. I let it thaw, mixed the cherries with a little sugar, cornstarch and juice and piled on top of the dough. I brushed the crust with milk and sprinkled it with raw sugar. I will make the oat flour crust at some point but for now things need to be easy.

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It baked for 20 minutes at 400 and another 20 minutes at 350.

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I served it with vanilla ice cream. Both Bubba and kids loved it.

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Cherry Galette

Inspired by Top with Cinnamon’s Rhubarb Galette and Dinner A Love Story’s Apple Galette

For the Crust:

1 Frozen Trader Joe’s or Pillsbury pie dough thawed or a homemade dough

For the Filling:

1 lb pound cherries, stems removed and pitted and sliced in half

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp of juice (Any kind of juice will work here. I used orange but fresh lemon or lime juice also works well.)

2 tsp cornstarch

milk or buttermilk for brushing the crust (I used mil.k)

raw sugar for sprinkling on the crust

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Pit and slice cherries in half. Mix cherries with sugar, cornstarch and juice. Toss to coat and set aside to macerate.

Cut a piece of parchment paper so it fits a large cookie sheet. Place the parchment paper on your work surface and dust with flour. Unwrap thawed but still cold pastry dough, dust with flour, and roll out into a large circle about 12 inches.

Pile the cherry mixture into the center of the dough, leaving the juice behind. Leave about a 2 inch border.

Fold pastry dough in, pressing gently. Brush the pastry with milk or buttermilk and sprinkle the dough with raw sugar. Dot with butter and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or plain.