Confession: I love cherries, but I do not love cherry pie. I can't tell you why. Maybe because it tastes like health food to me?
But, you know, I believe that every now and again it's worth taking a moment to re-evaluate your likes and dislikes. Like, do you actually despise cherry pie, CakeSpy? Or is it a notion that you have about yourself that you haven't bothered to challenge for a while?
I figured that if there was going to be a way to make cherry pie into something loveable for me, I figured that adding shortbread probably be a good place to start.
Basically, I altered a cherry pie recipe into one for bar cookies. I swapped the typical pie crust for a pressed crust of mashed shortbread, and then topped the crust layer with a fairly classic cherry pie filling. I baked for the same amount of time specified in the recipe, and hoped for the best.
But oh, oh, oh! They turned out even better than I thought.
For one thing, they sliced cleanly and beautifully, even while still warm (who can wait til it cools entirely?). For another, the tart cherries I used were wonderful--not overly sweet, and beautifully paired with the slightly oaty shortbread I used--they almost tasted like cherry pie mashed together with an oatmeal cookie (no raisins!).
They made for a true taste of summer: tart and sweet and refreshing, but that shortbread and butter crust kept it firmly in dessert, and definitely not health food, territory.
Oh, and in case you're wondering if they go well with ice cream...don't be stupid. Of course they do!
A fantastic recipe to try!
Cherry Pie Shortbread Bars (Printable version here!)
For the crust
- 2 boxes Duchy Shortbread (I used one box of the plain butter kind, and one box of the "Oaten Biscuits")
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
For the topping
- 2 cups pitted sour cherries
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix together the crushed cookies and butter; press into a well greased 8-inch square pan. Set aside.
- Place the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium-sized non-aluminum saucepan. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes, or until the sugar draws out the cherries' juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat; simmer for 1 minute, or until the juices thicken and become translucent. Remove pan from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow the filling to cool to lukewarm.
- Pour the filling on top of the crust. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven on the baking tray for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for several hours before slicing.