A great thing I love about living in Washington State is having the beach, the city, and country life all within a thirty minute drive. I have family in all of these areas, and I myself live in the city, only a hop-skip from the beach. My grandparents, however, live a little more in the country. They have horses and small stables, and their property has a creek dividing their home from their orchard. They have apple trees, plum trees, grapes, walnuts, blueberries and more. Most recently they had an overwhelming amount of ripe pie cherries.
My daughter and I were happy to oblige. Those baskets are deeper than they look.
The crop was starting to turn and a lot will still be left to the birds, but I’ve pitted and frozen around two one-gallon ziploc bags. My payment will be made in pies. I couldn’t wait though! I wanted to test my skills again and make a little treat for my husband to take to work tomorrow. Here we have:
Mini Cherry Pies!
AND they’re easy.
Cupcake tin, greased
One pie crust
Sugar (approx 3/4 cup)
Bowl of cherries
1 tbsp melted butter (optional)
To start, preheat your oven to 350.
I have a favorite pie crust recipe from a cook book I absolutely recommend having in your library!
I used the pie crust recipe from the holiday cookbook from The Pioneer Woman, but feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe or a premade one.
If making your own crust, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.
Next, find two cups in your house, one regular drinking cup sized:
And one slightly larger, like my awesome monster Starbucks mug:
My home made pie crust made 6 of each with a little left over.
Tuck the larger circles into your greased muffin tin. Bake for 3-5 minutes until the crust barely starts to firm and set.
Seed cherries by halving them and prying out the pit.
Coat cherries in half of the sugar, toss, then mix in the rest of the sugar to coat again.
Reduce the oven heat to 325.
Spoon cherries into crusts. Press down to fit the maximum amount of fruit.
My cherries are specifically pie cherries, so they’re a little more tart. To compensate, I sprinkled the leftover sugar over each pie, but this is optional.
Next I put a small amount of butter over each of the smaller crusts, but again, optional.
Fit each smaller crust over the mini pies by pinching or pressing down into the tin.
Note in the above picture I also took a butter knife and made three small slits at the top of each pie.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sides begin to golden. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin. To remove them, I took a butter knife around the edges of the pie, slightly lifted from the side, then used a spoon to carefully scoop them out.
Ok, I promise this isn’t a food blog. I just create with food far more often than anything else. I have lunches, dinners, and the occasional dessert to make which just adds up.
THIS is one of those desserts! So delicious – inspired by this amazing blog which I pretty much used in its entirety except I used a brownie baking mix instead of from scratch. Call me lazy, but I was in a hurry!
Here they are!
Brownie Mix (Including ingredients required on package) ~ applesauce (per amount of oil required on package) ~ 2 – 8 ounce packages reduced fat cream cheese (softened) ~ 2/3 cup sugar ~ 2 large egg yolks ~ 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
First we’ll start with the brownies. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil. For easier removal later, I also greased mine – that is completely optional though.
The brownie package I worked with called for 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs.
Whenever a baking recipe calls for oil, I substitute it with all natural applesauce. Not only does it make it healthier for you, it makes what you’re baking fluffier, more moist, and it stays fresher longer. Use an equal ratio of oil to applesauce. In my case, I used 1/2 cup per the recipe.
Follow the brownie mix recipe, substituting where desired, until batter is formed. Pour batter into the lined baking dish.
On to the cheesecake layer! Begin by separating your eggs. Have your large mixing bowl ready for the yolks, and a small one ready for the whites. Pass the yolk back and forth over the smaller bowl, using the egg shells to hold the yolk as the egg whites fall.
Combine all other cheesecake ingredients to the mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth.
Spread the cheesecake mixture over the brownie layer. Use a knife or a spatula to swirl the batters together.
Bake in the center rack of your oven for about 45 minutes. The edges will begin to puff and a knife in the center should come out clean.
The below picture isn’t the best, but you’ll see how delicious they are for yourself. For better cooling, remove brownies by the tin foil and place on a cooling rack. Square them, and enjoy!