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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Black Cherry Pie

Hello Baking Fiends,

I was recently up in the Traverse City area of Michigan visiting my grandparents, and they had gone cherry picking recently. Now, for those of you not familiar with that area, it is cherry country. So when they picked & bought the Cavalier cherries in a 3-pound bunch, they were ripe, fresh, plump, and oh-so-sweet. YUM.

Sweet As Cherry Pie!

To start, we took about 2.5 quarts of the black cherries and pitted and de-stemmed them. Now, there is a nifty thing called a cherry pitter

Cherry Pitter!

However I took a knife and just sliced (like an apple) around the cherry flesh to get the pit out. Ended up being like 2 slices for most cherries to get all the cherry flesh off the pit. This also ended up taking about 15-20 minutes when all was said and done. It also looked like a cherry bloodbath on the table, so be forewarned NOT to do this over white pants, or on a table that doesn’t clean up easily!

Now, take your cherries and add about 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tspn vanilla extract and 2 tspn honey (drizzled), and mix well. Let this sit for about 15 minutes to soak in the flavor best.

Meanwhile, I needed to make a crust. Normally I use the Jiffy Pie Crust, however since we didn’t have any handy, I just basically made one up. Dangerous, I know, but since I sample as I go, I figured I’d be okay…

Crust:
Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tspn baking powder, 1/4 tspn salt together. Add in 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter (softened & cut into pieces). Mix well until forms a nice dough. Place in a Pam-sprayed pie plate, with the crust going to the very edges of the dish in a thick layer. Take a knife and make a few indents in the bottom, to help avoid the crust trying to rise during baking, thus spilling the yummy parts onto the stove ‘floor’! Oh, and you should have enough crust leftover to do either a second smaller pie, or a thin top crust. 😉

Now that you have that created, pour in your cherry filling. At this point, you can either top with the thin top crust you had enough dough leftover for OR you can make a streusel-crumble topping. I did the topping, myself! 😉

Crumble Topping:
Mix together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tspn ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup butter (softened and cut into pieces) until, well, crumbly! Top the pie with this evenly.

Voilà: Black Cherry Pie!

Now bake the pie (preheated oven) at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes. The pie will look bubbly and browned on top, and will be very juicy – just to warn you!

I wish I had taken a picture of this pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, however it didn’t last long enough for me to think of it! 😉 I think in about 15 minutes the whole thing was demolished! YUM!

So let me know what you think of this recipe, especially if you’re a pie lover like me, and how you like my sweet crust concoction! Until then…

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes

Hello Baking Lovers!

Today we are having Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes — à la Beth. I have a coworker who not only is allergic to chocolate (oh the HORROR of it!), but absolutely LOVES Strawberry Shortcakes of all kinds. His birthday is this weekend, so I decided to start our long weekend off right at work and make him (and the rest of my taste-tester victims) some sweet treats to make the day more enjoyable.

Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes!

I was looking at my favorite Strawberry Shortcake Recipe, which is courtesy of the book Strawberry Shortcake Murder, a Hannah Swensen novel, by Joanne Fluke. Unfortunately, I didn’t have 48 hours to let the Pound Plus Cake sit before serving, so I decided to shop around some more for quicker recipes.

In my search, I happened upon this nice blog site unsophisticook, and found some great stuff! I found what would be the basis for my Shortcakes, and a great Bisquick baking substitute for not having to buy the boxed product as well!

To start, I didn’t alter the Bisquick Substitute recipe. Contain your shock, I know it has your jaw agape, but please…miracles do happen! So to start the whole process off I knew I would only need 3.5 cups of the substitute, so I halved the recipe from the above link. I didn’t want extra since it is so easy to whip up!

Step 1: Whisk together 3 cups flour, 1.5 tbspn baking powder, and 1/2 tbspn salt until thoroughly blended. Add 1/4 cup cold sliced butter and, using a pastry cutter or two knives or a whisk, mix in the butter until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

Step 2: To the flour, add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and stir completely until dough is lumpy and dry.

Step 3: Add in 1/2 cup sour cream and mix dough well: this will moisten the dough and make it sticky.

Step 4: Drop spoonfulls of dough onto a cookie sheet, mine is lined with foil, and sprinkle with granulated sugar, Bake for 14 minutes at 425 F (preheat your oven first!). NOTE: You want the dough balls at least the size of a hacky sack, otherwise you won’t have enough cake for the full effect!

Step 5: Slice up 2 lbs of fresh de-stemmed strawberries and put in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup sugar over top (distribute evenly).

Step 6: Combine 2 tbspn lemon juice and 1/3 cup cold water. Pour mixture over strawberries & sugar. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Step 7: To make the Crème Fraiche, put 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer on high for 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and let whip for around 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Then add in 1/2 cup sour cream, switching the speed down significantly (on mine went from 10 to 3).

Now, I made all the stuff, refrigerated the crème and strawberries, covered the shortcakes (left on top of the cooled stove), and went to bed. You could do this immediately after everything has cooled, but it worked out great overnight for me!

Assembling the Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes:

Step 8.1: Split the cooled cakes in half horizontally.

Step 8.2: Place the bottom half of the cake in a cupcake holder (easiest way to keep them together AND transport them, I promise!).

Step 8.3: Place a dollop of crème fraiche on top of the cake bottom.

Step 8.4: Place 3 slices of strawberries on top of the crème. NOTE: you probably want to drain the juices from the strawberries before starting this process. I drained into a glass & enjoyed a yummy strawberry juice, with a few slices slipped in!

Step 8.5: Place top of cake on top of strawberries, dab a small dollop of crème on top, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, as this will enhance the flavors immensely!

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

So that is the easy peasy lemon squeezy way to make these cute, individual sized Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes! Let me know how you like them – so far everyone at work has absolutely loved them! Have a great rest of your Friday, a great weekend (for those in the US – HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY weekend!), and until next time…!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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