Happy New Year!!! I took a short break from pie making during the holidays, but I couldn’t be happier to be in the kitchen again baking pies. I went back and forth trying to decide what pie I would make this week, and ultimately went with what sounded tasty to my family. Since many of us have resolved to eating healthy in the New Year, I can at least say there are many health benefits to the CHERRIES in this pie. From heart protection to immunity boosting, let’s call this MICHIGAN Cherry Pie, healthy-ish😉😆 And of course it’s totally OK if your resolution is just to Eat More Pie.
While Michigan does not ‘officially’ claim the cherry pie as their State dessert, they should. Harvesting over 75% of the US cherries, Michigan dominates in US cherry production. The Grand Traverse Region has over 35,000 acres of tart cherry trees, the best for cherry pies. It was Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian Missionary, who planted the first orchard in the region back in 1852. The rolling hills and sandy soil along Lake Michigan, proved to be the ideal landscape for the trees. The Lake helps with wind drainage, cooling the orchards in the summer and keeping them warm in the winter. In the early 1900’s what started out as the ‘Blessings of the Blossoms,’ to pray for a good crop, has evolved into today’s National Cherry Festival. Traverse City, the cherry capital of the world, hosts the festival every July celebrating the summers harvest. For even more cherry fun, Eau Claire, MI will be hosting their 47th annual cherry pit spitting contest this year. I actually watched some YouTube videos of past contests, and it was quite entertaining. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes this event. Currently the world record is held by Brian Krause, spitting a pit 93ft 6.5 inches. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?! Oh I ❤️America!!!
At our last house we actually had a sour cherry tree. Our first two summers there the squirrels beat me to the cherries, leaving just the pits dangling from the branch. On our third Summer I watched those cherries daily as they slowly ripened and plucked them off at first sign of readiness. I was happy to snatch the harvest before the squirrels and there was no doubt that I would use my cherries in a homemade pie. As a family of 5 we don’t always see eye to eye of on our food choices, but cherry pie is one thing we can all agree on. Cherry pie is awesome! And Taste of Home’s Cherry Pie is totally awesome. This pie recipe is slightly different from what I typically use in that there is the addition of dried cherries to the mixture. I was unsure about how this would taste, but the dried cherries hold their strong flavor giving the pie bursts of bold cherry essence. The addition of almond extract was also a nice compliment to the cherry. The buttery, brown sugar, crumbles that coated the top could be experienced with each bite, softening up the tartness just so. This pie was a reminder in the middle of Winter that the warm summer days of cherry picking are just down the road.
Little secret, I actually burnt the crust so I added the lettering around the edges to hide it.
My hubby helping me take photos :)
Originally published January 6, 2020