Cherry Streusel Pie

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Have I ever told you that I’m not a pie fan? It’s always been my last choice when it comes to dessert. Coincidentally, I also happen to be married to a man who requests pie on the regular and in truth, I usually try to steer him in a different direction. Until lately, that is.

Having a new baby means I’m often sitting up in the middle of the night and internet-ing and I kept coming across incredible looking pies with summer fruits. I was missing being in the kitchen and felt like challenging myself so I decided to make Tom’s day and bake him one. The first pie I made entirely from scratch was this blueberry crumble one and it came out so well that I was inspired.

I quickly learned that making pie isn’t nearly the production I’d imagined it to be, and it even happens to be a fabulous dessert to make with a new baby. I can make all of the components at different times and set it aside if I need to; a cake would never tolerate such treatment.

For Tom’s birthday this year, he requested pie instead of cake. His ultimate favourite is cherry and I got right to work. I mixed a few different recipes to come up with this one. The crust is flaky, the filling is bright and juicy and the streusel adds the perfect salty-sweet crunch on top. Something about making a pie is just so darn satisfying to me now and this one will be made over and over around these parts.

Cherry Streusel Pie
Serves 8

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening, softened
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cherry Filling:

  • 600 gram bag frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

Make the crust:

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it is pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat.

Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 tbsp. at a time, and stir after every tbsp. added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps.

Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).

Make the cherry filling:

Reserve 1/2 cup cherry juice in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice and corn starch. Set aside. Pour the bag of cherries and remaining juice in a pot with the sugar, salt and vanilla. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes while mashing the cherries until you have some larger and smaller pieces. Once the cherries are bubbling, stir in the cornstarch and juice mix and cook for another minute until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool before placing in pie crust.

Make the streusel:

Mix together all dry ingredients and then stir in the melted butter until thick and crumbly.

Assemble and bake:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside.

Roll out your pie dough on a floured surface to a 12 inch circle. Place the rolled out crust in a 9 inch pie plate, smooth it out to fit and trim and shape the edges as desired.

Fill the crust with the cooled cherry filling and top that with the streusel. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes and then remove it from the oven, cover it with foil and turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Continue to bake the pie for another 30-35 minutes, and remove from oven once crust and streusel are lightly golden.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into slices and serving.

Note:

The crust recipe makes two crusts, but it freezes great for up to three months so you can keep the other on hand for the next time you need it, or just make a double-crust cherry pie.

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Crust from here.

Filling adapted from here.

 

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The Ultimate Cherry Cake

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My Mom’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day. When I was little I used to love it because we would celebrate all day at school and then come home and have a birthday party for her. The day has always felt more like Mom’s birthday and a family occasion rather than a romantic day to me.

 My Mom is a great lady. She is a hard worker and has always cared for others in some way in every job she’s had. By the time she was my age, she had three kids, which totally blows my mind. She also went back to college while working, with four small kids at home, something that I really admire. Looking back, she must have been swamped. She is also very kind hearted and always discouraged us from speaking negatively of others. Mom is a bit of a goofball who laughs at her own jokes. She also passed on her “nervous laugh” to me. If someone gets hurt, or a situation is dire, or it is seriously not the time to be laughing, both of us idiots will be covering our mouths in the corner, snickering inappropriately. My accident prone father will be happy to confirm this.

 When deciding what kind of cake to make for her birthday, I remembered how much she loves cherry chip and wanted to make a really amped up version from scratch. I gave this recipe a try and it is seriously delicious. The cake is super sweet, so I kept the frosting light although I did add a cherry buttercream filling that tastes like the inside of a chocolate covered cherry.  I also garnished it with a ton of them to make it look extra fancy. This cake seems to get moister as the days go on and it looks beautiful. My paternal grandma, a lifelong dieter and TOPS member, who never even eats her OWN birthday cake, saw this one and actually took a slice saying that she was going to cheat with it. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

 I hope you had a great birthday, Mom! I love you.

 

 The Ultimate Cherry Cake

 Makes one two layer 9 inch cake

 Ingredients:

 Cherry Chip Cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup milk ( I used 1%)
  • ½ maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 10 oz. bottle maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • 4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks

 Cherry Cordial Buttercream Filling

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 drops cherry flavoring oil (optional)

 Whipped Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 drops red food coloring

Garnish:

  •  Chocolate Covered Cherries ( I used 18)

 

 For Cake:

Preheat oven to 340 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment.

Beat the egg whites in a cold stand mixer bowl on high with your whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Sprinkle 2 tbsp. flour over chopped cherries until flour absorbs (there may be excess juice on them) and set aside.

Add butter and sugar to stand mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine milk, vanilla and cherry juice in a small bowl. Take turns adding the flour mixture and the juice mixture to the sugar mixture, mixing after each addition. Stir cherries into the batter. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 22-26 minutes, depending on your oven.

Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

For Cherry Cordial Buttercream Filling:

 Whip butter on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until combined. Add cherry juice, vanilla, corn syrup and flavoring and beat on high 2 minutes until creamy.

 For Whipped Vanilla Frosting:

 In a small saucepan, add milk and flour. Whisk mixture together over medium heat until it is very thick. Remove from heat and cool completely (I put it in the fridge to speed things up). When cooled, stir in vanilla extract and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add cooled flour mixture and beat on high for another 2-3 minutes until smooth and mixture looks like thick whipped cream. Do not overbeat or mixture could separate. I added food coloring at this point and blended it well.

 To assemble the cake:

Place one cake layer down and spread cordial filling evenly on it. Place second cake layer down and do a very thin coat of whipped frosting. Place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to harden the crumb coat, the pull back out and finish frosting. Use chocolate covered cherries to garnish. I placed them all around the edge of the cake. Keep cool and take out about an hour before serving. This cake stays moist for days.

Frosting from: http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2010/10/thats-the-best-frosting-ive-ever-had-again/

Cake adapted from: http://foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.ca/2012/08/cherry-vanilla-cake-with-swiss.html

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