Cherry Pie

Chris’ favorite pie is pumpkin.  Without question, if I offer to make a pumpkin pie, he is on board with that idea.  His second favorite is cherry pie.   I always had reservations making a cherry pie, because most of the time, cherries weren’t in season, pitting cherries is a pain anyway, and the only other available option was the bright red canned cherry pie filling.  Also, most of the other fruit pies I have made end up being fruit soups.  Not anymore. We have started going to Sam’s Club regularly for some basics, and while browsing their freezer section one time, I saw huge bags of frozen sweet cherries.  Thinking in terms of smoothies, I grabbed a bag, and then promptly forgot about it in the freezer for 4 months.  Oops. Eventually, I found the cherry pie recipe here.  I decided to make it for Pi day, and wow.  We both loved the results. It has a very straightforward cherry fruit flavor, and is not nearly as cloyingly sweet as most of the canned fillings.  You also get more fruit, which is always nice in a fruit pie.  Unfortunately, the first time I made it I didn’t remember to get a photo of it for the blog.  So I made it again today.  Now, I cheated and used store-bought pie crust, but if you have a fantastic pie crust recipe, feel free to use that.



Pie crust (enough for 1 double crust pie)

48 oz frozen dark sweet cherries (if you can find tart cherries, that would be better, but those are hard to find here)

3/4 cup sugar (a little less if you want a less sweet pie, down to 1/2 cup, or more if you’re using tart cherries-up to 1 cup)

5 tbsp corn starch (may need a little more, depending on how juicy your cherries are) (tapioca can be used as well, just use 1 tbsp less than the corn starch)

Pinch of salt

Splash of vanilla (optional)

1 tbsp butter

1 egg, for egg wash


Prepare your pie crusts according to your recipe, or buy them.  Set them aside while you mix the cherries (still frozen is fine) with the sugar, salt, vanilla and cornstarch.  It will look something like this.



Set the bowl out for an hour and let the cherries thaw and soak into the starch.  If you’re impatient (like I am), then pull out a medium saucepan, pour the whole kit and caboodle into that and bring to a simmer.  It will start out looking cloudy

Foggy liquid

Foggy liquid

Once is comes up to a simmer, let it simmer gently for 5 minutes or so.  It should thicken and clear, looking something like this.

Steamy, but clearer.

Steamy, but clearer.

Let it cool while you deal with the crust.  Preheat your oven to 425 and roll out your bottom crust.  This is enough filling for a deep dish 9″ pie pan, so plan accordingly.  Once you have your bottom crust in place, pour in the filling and dot the top of the filling with the broken apart butter.   Top the pie with your second crust (I like lattice, but you can use a full crust if you like, just remember to leave some vent holes).  Brush the entire crust with egg wash, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Remember to put a tray under the pie pan-it may drip a little bit.  After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 and bake another half hour.  The filling should be bubbling gently.  Remove and let cool for several hours, until fully set and at room temperature.

Mmmmmmm. Pie.

Mmmmmmm. Pie.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, if you must, or just enjoy a piece unadorned.   At some point, I am going to try this same method with a blueberry pie, or a peach and blueberry pie. When I do that, I will report any positive results here.

Baked black forest oatmeal

In my continuing effort to find new and interested uses for the massive bags of quick cooking oats I have, I decided to put on my mad scientist lab coat and experiment.  I have seen a variety of baked berry and fruit oatmeals floating around Pinterest and Facebook, but none that would use the 21oz can of cherry pie filling I was hoping to use (I have found a much better recipe for cherry pie, which I will hopefully get around to posting once I get some better pictures of a pie).  As a result of this experimentation, last night I created baked black forest oatmeal.

*Lightning crash. Wolf howl*

*Lightning crash. Wolf howl*

Ok, so that may be a bit dramatic. It’s basically a chocolate and cherry baked oatmeal, with some chocolate bits on top, and if you want a more complete black forest cake type experience, you can certainly serve it with whipped cream (even booze-spiked whipped cream). I wasn’t really intending to make a black forest oatmeal variant, as I was just throwing stuff in a bowl, but this was the end result.  It’s tasty enough that I may want to remember how the heck I got there in the future, so up on the blog it goes.  Chris is really not a fruit+chocolate person, so he’s pretty lukewarm on it, but if you like black forest cake (and like eating cake for breakfast), this may be worth a try.

Ingredients (for 12 generous servings)

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or Dutch processed-I used Dutch this time)

4 cups quick cook oats

2 cups rolled oats

2 tbsp (depending on your tastes) vanilla extract

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup white chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  Add in the cocoa powder and mix well,  Once the mixture is well combined, stir in the oats until coated.  Pour into a greased 9″x13″ tray, and top with both kinds of chocolate chips.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until oatmeal is set.  It can be served warm, or just stash it in the fridge and heat individual servings.  I like to reheat it with a good pour of milk over it, but it’s actually pretty tasty just as is.  If you want to use frozen cherries instead of the pie filling, go for it, but you’ll want to add some more milk and some sweetener of some sort (1/2 cup sugar, maybe? That’s just a guess at amount).   Similarly, if you don’t have bananas that you desperately need to get rid of, you can probably use an extra egg, 1/4 cup sugar and a couple of tablespoons of canola oil or melted butter instead (at least, that’s what I’d try first as a sub for those).