Thursday, July 11, 2013

Julie Surprise: Oven-less Cherry Pie!

Okay, so normally you would want some kind of oven for this recipe. 
 Mine was ovenless out of necessity because our oven has been broken for the past two months or so.

 Luckily for me, the weather has been such that most people wouldn't want to turn on an oven anyway, so I was able to 'bake' my crust on the dashboard of my minivan for a few hours. It might have even taken less time if I had thought of it sooner since it got to be at least 102° fahrenheit that day. As it was, I put the crust on the dashboard and rolled up all the windows at about 5pm at which point the sun was about to go behind some trees near our parking lot and then a cloud cover came over. I pulled it out after 9pm (after I'd put the girls to bed) thinking that it would simply have to wait till another hot day since the next day I'd be gone to Lagoon all day, but to my delight and relief when I pulled it out it was firm and baked through. Yay!
 The recipe I used was extremely simple. I basically used this shortbread recipe that I found on Pinterest except I didn't have any almond flour so I gleaned inspiration from the photo for this crust recipe and used ground almonds instead. It worked great!
So, since I guess I once again, sort of made my own recipe, I'll be kind enough to type it out below for those who want to try the "Julie" method. :}

 As for the cherry filling, well, that was an interesting adventure in and of itself. A tangent which needs it's own post, actually.

Basically it started out as a bowl of fresh cherries marinated with lemon juice and honey because I didn't have any sugar at the time I received the cherries. It sat in my fridge for almost three weeks. Finally, the evening before the fourth of July I decided to try making the pie despite my lack of oven. So I whipped up the crust as stated above. It was only after bringing the crust in from the van that night that I figured I'd better finish making the pie and began to consider how best to deal with the filling.
I'd added some coconut sugar to the cherries earlier that evening while working on the crust, and it was back in my fridge in a glass casserole dish with a lid. It occurred to me as I came in with the crust that while I could use the stove top (which still works) to cook the filling, it seemed a shame to dirty another dish when it was already in a lovely microwavable dish, and I didn't see any reason why the microwave wouldn't work. So that's what I ended up doing. I cooked the cherry filling in the microwave on the fresh veggies setting until it made the kitchen smell wonderful. Then I stirred in a pack and a half of pectin. Then I scooped the cherries into the crust. There was quite a bit of sauce though so I sort of strained the fruit out of the sauce so the pie wouldn't be too runny. The leftover sauce went into a jar in the fridge were it turned into a sort of cherry jelly, not unlike grape jelly actually, though perhaps a tad more tart.
Once that was done I toasted some sliced almonds with a little butter and coconut sugar on the stove top and added those to the pie as a topping.

Tada! Julie Surprise Cherry Pie!

Now, here's the recipe all written out a bit more tidily.

Almond Lemon Crust:

  • 6 Tablespoons organic butter
  • 2 cups freshly ground almonds (Used my little food processor for this)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sweetener (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest (Mine was actually frozen, but it worked fine)
  • Melt the butter in the microwave in the glass pie dish. Add the almond meal, sweetener, and lemon zest, stirring until fully combined.
  • To make a tart or pie crust:
  • No need to pre-chill, just press dough into the pie pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees (F) for 15 mins until firm and golden brown. Or, as in my case, put on the dashboard of a hot vehicle for 2-5 hours or until firm and cooked through. (I put a sheet of tinfoil underneath it, shiny side up, and another to one side to try and reflect the sun to the top of it. Don't know if it made any difference, but there you have it.)

Cherry Filling:

  • 4 cups fresh, pitted cherries
  • Enough honey to coat cherries well
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener (I used coconut sugar) Optional
    1 to 1 & 1/2 packs of pectin (depending on how runny filling is)
  • Stir honey and lemon with cherries and if you wish, refrigerate overnight (or up to three weeks!)
    Add extra sweetener (coconut sugar) if needed before cooking.
  • Cook in the microwave on the fresh vegetable setting until filling become fragrant and looks done. Then stir in pectin and transfer to crust. Add topping and refrigerate pie overnight or until set.
    If you wish to cook the filling on the stove top add the pectin once it comes to a simmer and stir and cook until sauce begins to thicken.
    Then add to crust as stated above.


  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener (I used coconut sugar) Optional
  • 1/3 cup organic butter
  • Add almonds to a small frying pan or skillet and toast on low heat stirring occasionally until fragrant.
    Add sweetener (coconut sugar) and organic butter and stir until sugar melts and coats the almonds evenly.
    Now, you can let the almonds cool and break them up over your pie, or you can do what I did and let them drizzle out of the hot pan over the pie, using a rubber spatula to guide them until the pie is evenly coated. Either way works.

~Julie :}