Cherry picking is still H’s favorite of all the fruit pickings. She just absolutely loves cherry trees. This year’s sour cherry season was insanely short, less than a week. Battleview Orchards opened on a Monday, we were there on Wednesday, and by Friday they were picked clean.
We didn’t get as many cherries this year as we have in the past, I just got enough to fill two quart mason jars. Basically enough for 2 pies.
I used this information from Utah State to make cherry pie filling (page 4), but I didn’t feel like using Clear Jel, which is a “modified food starch” that thickens things you can. You can’t really substitute any other starch, they aren’t meant to hold up to the canning process like Clear Jel. And it’s impossible to find, I order it from Amazon. But I got rid of my Clear Jel last year because I was trying to dial down the ingredients and additives in my cannings.
I found this great post from Living Homegrown that confirmed that I don’t have to use any thickeners when I can pie filling, I can actually add some flour to the mix when I’m ready to use it. And it worked! I had super runny cherries (I made them exactly as Utah State suggested, minus Clear Jel and food coloring), and when I used my first jar of them I heated them up and dissolved 2 Tbsp of flour into the mix. It was perfect, it even broke the whole cherries down a bit more (which I actually prefer to whole cherries in things).
But because my cherries weren’t puffed up and thickened, the mixture didn’t quite fill the jars as high as I would like. So I processed them, but then I put them in the fridge to be used sooner rather than later.
We worked hard for those cherries, and I wanted to try something other than my standard summer cherry pies. Also, it’s too hot for ovens.
So I found this recipe for something called Cherry Delight on Pinterest, from Modernly Morgan. They’re kind of amazing and seriously quick to put together. Her recipe uses store bought pie filling, but we swapped out our own awesome cherries. The only baking is to set the graham cracker base. Her recipe was made in one square pan, but I have this mini loaf pan I have never used before. And this seemed like a really good time. These were delicious.
2 cups crushed graham crackers
½ cup melted butter
¼ cup white sugar
1 8-oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large can of cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust – Mix crushed graham crackers, melted butter and white sugar together. I used an ice cream scoop to evenly press 2 scoops into each loaf. This was seriously the hardest part, pressing these crusts. It’s such an easy recipe.
Place into oven for 5-8 minutes. Set crust in fridge to cool while you prepare the filling…if it’s too hot, it will cause filling to melt when you add it later.
For Filling – With an electric mixer in a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms small peaks/thickens. Be careful not to go overboard and whip it too much.
In another bowl mix cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in the heavy cream that you whipped earlier by hand. Then take this mixture and gently pour it onto your graham cracker crust (use a spatula and be gentle since the crust will be a looser type crust).