Cherry Pie is almost as American as apple; after all, the story goes that our first President, General George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and could not tell a lie-- that's why it's a popular dessert in February. However, when I came across this recipe, I decided that being able to hold your pie, especially if you're having a picnic, would be convenient and fun.
The recipe for the bars comes from an interesting cookbook that I discovered. The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day.
At their charming bakery is in Savannah, Georgia, Cheryl loves to charm her customers with her time honored "scratch" baking. Since cherries are starting to come in at our farmer's market, I couldn't resist trying this for our rainy day picnic and substituting the frozen ones it calls for. To top it off, I've been anxious to try another recipe from the Food Network
magazine--Honey Vanilla Ice Cream because picnics at my grandparents always had homemade ice cream that we all took turns churning.
Cherry Pie Bars
Crust & Topping
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray a 13" x 9" baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over the opposite edges of the pan. (I used my springform pan, so I didn't use parchment).
In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, and salt, then, while the mixer is running on low speed, start adding the butter, one cube at a time. Beat until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture for the topping. Press the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Let cool at least 10 minutes while you prepare the filling. I added 1/2 tsp. each of cinnamon and cardamon to the topping.
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I added both extracts to pump up the flavor)
2 lbs of frozen cherries, thawed and drained--now this is where I did fresh, about 5 1/2 cups washed, stemmed and pitted
Place the ingredients into the same bowl you made the crust, except for the cherries. Whisk to combine. Fold in the cherries. Pour the filling over the crust.
Sprinkle remaining topping over the filling.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
Allow to cool at least an hour before cutting. The bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Honey Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
4 egg yolks
1 T vanilla extract
In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream, milk, honey and vanilla beans until hot, but not boiling. Separate the eggs and whisk the egg yolks. (I'm saving the egg whites for Swiss butter cream!)
Add some of the hot cream mixture to the eggs and whisk again--this is called tempering. Repeat 2 or 3 times more, then, add the egg mixture to the base and whisk. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens--test by running your finger across the back of the spoon. If the mixture doesn't cover the gap from your finger, it is done.
Chill the mixture in an ice bath for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for 6 hours, then add the vanilla extract. I used an electronic ice cream mixture, which isn't nearly as much fun as the hand cranked one my grandparents had, but the ice cream tastes just as good.
Freeze in a container until ready to serve with the cherry bars.
Today was rainy, but the sun did come out for a brief time. We are also experiencing what we call, Spring Snow or as it's better known as the pollen of the cottonwood tree.
Happy Memorial Day and a Big Thank You to all our armed forces, especially our fallen, our veterans and the men and women who continue to protect us and the freedoms we hold so dear. Enjoy!