Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cherry Topping (or pie filling)

For dessert, I would always choose a fruit option (pie, cobbler, etc) over cake (chocolate, cheesecake, etc). So, if I am going to have cheesecake (twist my arm. go ahead, twist it. oh, ok, I'll have a slice!), it most definitely will have a fruit topping. And if I'm baking said cheesecake, I'm going to whip up my own fruit topping, avoiding the overly gooey store bought kind.

Since Tammy had such a winning recipe for cheesecake, I wanted to try her cherry topping. Mine looked significantly different than hers (comparing pictures). Hers had more of the store bought look, with a thicker consistency and dark red color. Mine stayed light pink in color and fairly runny. I was using corn starch to thicken the sauce, and was worried about adding too much (see recipe notes below). Using jel would be easier, but cornstarch is more common to have in the house and was my preference to use.

No matter the color or consistency, the taste was delicious! Those who took a small amount of sauce to start, asked for more. And there's no mistaking, homemade is waaayyyyyy better than store bought.

Cherry Topping/Pie Filling
from Tammy's Recipes

3 cups pitted sour cherries
1 1/2 cups sugar
clear jel or cornstarch, for thickening (I used 2 teaspoons cornstarch, but will increase it to 3 next time)

Makes 3 cups.

Combine fruit and sugar in a pan and stir together. Bring to a boil.

Mix cornstarch or clear jel* with some cold water or reserved cherry juice (about 1/3 cup of each), whisking to remove lumps.

*Cornstarch thickens, and will continue to become thicker as your mixture cools. Do not make it as thick when hot as you would like it to be when it has cooled, or it will be too thick. Clear jel, however, is the same thickness hot as it is cold. We prefer clear jel for thickening pie filling, as it is easier to see the consistency, and the pies don't tend to run over in the oven as easily.

When cherries are boiling, add thickening while stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add enough thickening to make the consistency you desire. We like our pies fairly thick, but cheesecake topping thinner.

If you're making a pie: Pour into pie crusts (unbaked pastry). Bake pies at 425 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until browned.

Other fruit topping recipes for cheesecake:
- Blackberry Sauce, from Joy the Baker
- Blueberry Sauce, from Annie's Eats
- Mixed Berry Sauce, from Something Sweet
- Plum and Strawberry Sauce, from Wannabetvchef.blog

Guten appetit!