Cherry Berry Crumble Pie

cherries

I first made this pie in the heat of a St. Louis summer, many years ago.   It was one of my early forays into baking with whole grains, and it was gobbled up in seconds by my hungry (college boys are always hungry) neighbors. It’s been years since I left that tiny St. Louis apartment, but I decided that this pie was just the thing for the Dedham Square Country Store’s Pie Contest. 

Dedham pie contest Most of the entries were double crust pies – peach, blueberry, apple.  Beautiful, flaky pies with rich, sweet fruit filling, perfect with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  But I think crumble adds such fun texture to pie, and I love mixing my dessert genres. There was one other crumble topped pie, an abundant apple creation.  Anyway, I figured (and I was right) that nobody else would be bringing a Cherry Berry Crumble Pie with a whole wheat crust. 

lemon thyme farmCherry Berry Crumble Pie is not too sweet, with a lovely earthiness from the honey.  The key here is to use good, flavorful honey.  I love the local honey from Lemon Thyme Farm that I buy at the Dedham Square Country Store. It’s amazingly floral and rich.  It pairs so well with the nuttiness of the whole wheat crust, and the salty-sweet crumble topping.  The crumble, though, is my favorite part since the oats make me feel less guilty eating pie for breakfast. It’s just as good with a dollop of greek yogurt as with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

cherry berry pie with crumble topping

Cherry Berry Crumble Pie

Crust

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chilled butter, cut in pieces

2 tablespoons cold water

Filling

1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and quartered

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble Topping

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the pie crust, pulse the flours and salt in a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse just a few times until mealy.  Add in the water slowly, pulsing just until the dough holds together (you may need an extra bit of water).  Turn the dough out and press into a ball.  Chill the dough for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Toss the cherries, blueberries, cranberries, honey, tablespoon of flour and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix all of the crumble ingredients, using your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until well combined. 

Roll out the crust on a floured surface and transfer to a pie plate.  Fill the unbaked crust with the fruit mixture.  Sprinkle the crumble over the top.  Bake for 40 minutes until filling is juicy and crumble topping is browned.

cherry berry pie in oven

Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm  Comments (25)  
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And I Don’t Even Like Cheesecake

key lime cheesecake

Cheesecake has just never seemed worth it to me.  All those calories, and what do you get? Yeah, good New York cheesecake is creamy, but even the best tends to lack flavor, and I’m not a fan of that syrupy sweet strawberry drizzle.  As for all those crazy chocolate, cookie, peanut butter, and caramel cheesecake concoctions… well, why not just eat a peanut butter cup?

But this cheesecake is good.  I mean really, really good. 

key limeIt’s the perfect balance of creamy and tangy and sweet.  I do love key lime pie, but it can be an intense taste bud experience. This key lime cheesecake, on the other hand, is smooth and delicate with just enough tart lime flavor to balance the richness of all that wonderful fat.  If you can’t find fresh key limes, bottled key lime juice is just fine.  But I wouldn’t suggest regular (Persian) limes here. Key lime juice has a much more intense flavor which can’t be replicated with lime juice. 

key lime cheesecakeWhen I was a teenager my mom took frequent business trips to the Florida Keys.  She did her best to schedule them on school vacations and my brother and I tagged along.  During one two-week stretch in Islamorada, Evan and I decided to embark on a quest, a key lime pie quest. We must have tasted more than two dozen key lime pies, some good some bad, but Manny and Isa’s was a clear winner (sadly they have since closed). We learned that we craved the creamiest custard, and that an overload of meringue really detracted from the pure, clean flavor of the key limes.  I took these pie lessons with me when I started playing with the Key Lime Cheesecake recipe from Bon Apetit.  After a few tweaks and some pretty kiwi slices, we devoured this cake.

key lime cheesecake with kiwi

Key Lime Cheesecake

Adapted from Bon Apetit Magazine 2006

For the Lime Curd:

2 tablespoons butter

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar 

1/4 cup  key lime juice

2 teaspoons key lime zest or regular lime zest

For the Crust:

 2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For Filling and Topping:

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

3/4 cup sugar, divided

2  eggs

3 tablespoons key lime juice

1 tablespoon key lime zest or regular lime zest

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

2 kiwis, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

To prepare the curd, combine butter, egg yolks, sugar, juice and zest in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat.  Wisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and cool. 

Meanwhile, prepare the crust.  Mix together the crumbs, sugar and salt.  Stir in the melted butter.  Grease an 8 inch springform pan with three-inch sides with cooking spray. Press the crumb mixture along the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until set, about 10 minutes.

To prepare the filling, beat the cream cheese and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar until fluffy, add in the eggs, juice and zest and beat to combine. 

Decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Spread the curd on the bottom of the prepared crust, then spread in the filling mixture.  Smooth the top of the filling and bake for 1 hour, until mostly set.  Mix the sour cream with the remaining sugar.  Remove the cake from the oven and spread the sour cream mixture over the top.  Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes until bubbles form along the edges. 

Cool 1 hour at room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.  To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the pan and then release.  Just before serving, top the cake with the kiwi slices.

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm  Comments (25)  
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