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Steff

Happy cherry pie day!

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Hi friends,

Did you know that today, February 20th is National Cherry Pie day??!!

Growing up in Wenatchee, WA, I've eaten my fair share of cherries and cherry pies.  My personal favorite cherry right now is the Lapin. It's bigger, firmer, and more tart than a typical Bing cherry (the kind you usually see in the grocery store).  My father-in-law grows them, so I get my fill of them every spring!

Do you have a love of cherries?  What about a great cherry pie recipe that you are willing to share?

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Steff,

My secret to cherry pie filling is threefold: apple pie spice, vanilla extract and almond extract.  Cherries are pitted (I use about 6 cups) and divided in half.  I let them macerate in about 3/4 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar (1/2 to 3/4 hour).  Then I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook them to allow release of all the juices (30 minutes medium heat).  I take them off heat and add the apple pie spice (1 tsp), vanilla extract (1 tsp) and almond extract (1/2 tsp).  Then when cooled, I add 5 level tablespoons of corn starch and spread them into the pie. I dot the top with cubed pieces of butter. I always use a lattice top for cherry pie.

Apple pie spice, BTW is the perfect fruit pie seasoning.  I use it in all my pies.  A season's worth can be made by combining 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and (most importantly) 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamon.  From this combination, I use 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice in all my fruit pies and it yields a wonderful warm and fruity taste to fruit fillings.

An alternative to vanilla extract and almond extract that produces a completely different taste is the German liquor kirschwasser. I substitute 1/4 cup of kirschwasser for the vanilla and almond extract and add it to the filling before cooking. But kirschwasser is hard to find.  It produces a semi-tart finish to the sweetened cherries that is wonderful cherry pie.

Cherry pie is my second favorite fruit pie.  Blueberry is my favorite and is the easiest to make.  6 cups blueberries, 3/4 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 5 tablespoons cornstarch (frozen berries work just as well as fresh so this pie can be made anytime of year). Stir in large bowl and let macerate in the bowl for 45 minutes and add to pie shell.  No cooking needed.  I cook my fruit pies in the middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees.  Most take an hour.  I brush top crusts with egg wash to improve the color.

Here is my last cherry pie (Valentine's Day) before cooking and last week's ready to eat blueberry pie.....

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Tom - Who knew you were a pie connoisseur?!!  I'm not much of a baker, but I have not heard of putting apple pie spice into other fruit pies..I think that would add a lot of flavor and I love apple pie spice!  

Thanks for sharing!

Steff

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