Monday, April 8, 2013

Making Cherry Pie Filling

Yesterday (Sunday), it was such a beautiful spring day!  We put some burgers on the grill and spent lots of time outside.

I knew one thing I wanted to make was my new favorite Ditch the Box Cheesecake!  That recipe is my new go-to favorite dessert for potlucks and just for weeknight snacking.  It's just so incredible that I could go on and on!

While cleaning out my deep freezer recently, I discovered a treasured bag of frozen cherries that I had been given by a good friend.  My friend grew up on a farm in a small town closeby and she always brings home magnificent treasures when she visits her folks, like pitted cherries, apricots, and even stories like how her mom planted potatoes or onions.  She shares a wealth of information with me which I treasure since I grew up in the Sunshine State. Our childhood stories are very different to say the least!

I was especially thrilled to find this bag of cherries so I could try making some homemade cherry pie filling to go over my Ditch the Box Cheesecake

It turned out terrific!  It's easy and very quick to make. It just tastes ligher and fresher than canned pie filling.  I used  a small portion of it for topping my cheesecake and froze the rest for later. 

There are lots of reasons I liked making my own instead of buying it in a can.  My cherry pie filling comes from local, hand picked cherries.  I controlled the amount of sugar (I could have used less with good results) and there is no red dye in mine.

Did it taste like canned pie filling?  It SURE did, but 100 times better!  I have to to get a couple of cherries trees planted!

Here's how I made Homemade Cherry Pie filling AT HOME MY WAY:

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
  • 4 cups of sour/tart cherries (pitted) (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup of sugar (1/4 cup for each 1-cup portion of cherries)
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup COLD water
Mix 2/3 cup COLD water with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch in a small cup and mix until smooth.
In a small pot, combine the cherries and sugar.  Stir well, bringing to a boil (stirring often).
Add the mixture of COLD water and cornstarch to the boiling pot of cherries/sugar.
Stirring constantly, cook until thick.
*If it doesn't thicken enough for your liking, simply add a little more cornstarch (1 teaspoon) to a small amount (3T) of COLD water in a small cup, mix until smooth, and add to the boiling cherry mixture.  Let it cook some more and it should thicken up nicely.

** Remember that it will thicken as it cools so you don't want it to be the perfect thickness in the hot stage. 
That's it!  Can you believe it?
Now, let it cool completely before using.   


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