Cherries are a tasty treat that becomes even more delectable when baked into a pie. While nothing beats homemade desserts, you may use canned pie filling to recreate grandma's cherry pie. Don't be afraid to swap ingredients to save some calories in the process!
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Recreate Grandma's Cherry Pie
Cherries are grouped into two main types — sweet and tart. The most well-known type of sweet cherry is the Bing variety, which is typically eaten fresh. Tart or sour cherries, especially the Montmorency variety, are used in food processing. According to a March 2018 review published in Nutrients, 97 percent of tart Montmorency cherries are used for cooking and baking products, such as pie fillings.
Because canned cherry pie filling is made from sour cherries, manufacturers often add sugar to sweeten their product. According to the USDA, cherry pie filling contains 66 grams of sugar per cup. Since not all cherry pie fillings taste the same, you may need to try a few different brands to find the one most closely suited to your palate.
When baking a cherry pie with pie filling, instead of just dumping the contents of the can into the crust, taste it first and consider some of these tips to improve the flavor and sweetness of your dish. This way, your cherry pie will taste amazing — just like from the very best cherry pie recipe.
Add a few tablespoons of pineapple tidbits or pureed canned pineapple, which compliments the flavor of cherries in the pie filling. A teaspoon of almond extract will enhance the flavor too.
If your canned filling is too tart, add natural sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, stevia or yacon syrup, to add sweetness without drastically altering the overall texture and consistency of the mix.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sweeteners
If the filling is too sweet, incorporate a bit of lemon juice or zest of lemon. Try a variety of sweet fruits, such as cooked apples, mixed berries or canned peaches, to add some extra savor to the filling.
Add dried fruit to the filling to sweeten it without sugar, suggests the British Heart Foundation. Spices, such as ground cinnamon or allspice, can also make the pie flavorful.
For extra crunch, sprinkle in some nuts, such as sliced almonds, before baking the pie. For the ultimate decadent pie, pair the cherries with dark chocolate, along with anise or cherry pie liqueur. Or make a drunken cherry pie by combining the canned filling with vanilla and brandy.
For a creamy filling, add a small can of sweetened condensed milk to the pie filling. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it is reduced to the right thickness.
Read more: 5 Health Benefits of Eating Cherries
Dress Up the Crust
When it comes to pie, the crust can make or break your entire dessert. If you don't have the time to use a good cherry pie crust recipe, such as the Sour Cherry Pie recipe from Grandmother's Kitchen, you can fancy up a ready-made refrigerated pie crust to make it look like you prepared it yourself.
Try using raw dough from an extra ready-made crust to cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. Arrange the forms to decorate the top of the cherry pie, or cut strips and make a lattice over the filling.
If using a full top crust, paint it with an egg wash (1 egg with a little water). This will help brown the top of your pie perfectly. Don't forget to cut slits in the crust to let the steam escape.
Sprinkle some sugar on the top of the crust to make it look much more appetizing and give it a delightful crunch. Use foil to cover the edges of the crust to prevent burning. Grandmother's Kitchen says to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes. Once it's golden brown and bubbly, let the pie stand for at least an hour before serving.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Tart cherries are chock-full of important nutrients and contain antioxidant flavonoids known as anthocyanins. According to the University of Wyoming Nutrition and Food Safety, these compounds may help ease muscle soreness after exercise and keep your heart functioning properly. They may also reduce inflammation from gout and arthritis and protect against cancer.
One cup of pitted, raw tart cherries contains only 77.5 calories. They are a rich source of vitamin A (99 micrograms per cup), which is not only good for your eyes but essential for healthy teeth, skeletal tissue and skin
A cup of tart cherries also provides calcium (24.8 milligrams), which is important for maintaining bone density, and potassium (268 milligrams), which helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. Furthermore, these fruits are rich in vitamins B, C and E, magnesium, folate and fiber, according to the USDA.
Read more: Is It Dangerous to Eat Too Many Cherries?
- Nutrients: "A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries"
- USDA Food Data Central: Cherry Pie Filling
- British Heart Foundation: "How to Make Pies More Heart-Healthy"
- University of Wyoming: Nutrition and Food Safety: "Cherries: Tart, Sour, or Pie"
- USDA Food Central Database: "Cherries, Sour, Red, Raw"
- Grandmother's Kitchen: "Sour Cherry Pie"