If pies aren’t your forte, this cherry berry pandowdy might be the perfect “pie” for you.
Pie Is My Downfall
If anything isn’t going to come out right for me, it’s going to be pie. More specifically, the crust.
OK, I’ve used the frozen and refrigerated varieties of crusts and that always works. However, it makes me feel really lame and it just doesn’t taste as good as I remember my mother’s crust being.
For that reason, I rarely am adventurous to make a pie from scratch. But one thing I know I can do is roll out a crust and throw pieces on top of a filling. That’s why I fell in love with this recipe.
Use Cherries Alone Or Mix
You can use cherries alone in this pan dowdy. That’s what the original recipe used–a mix of tart and sweet. And since the called-for ingredient is the frozen variety, you don’t have to make this only when fresh is on sale or in season. Just an aside but I found a major brand in my supermarket’s freezer case that was a mix of 50 percent sweet and 50 percent sour cherries. In addition, it was the exact amount I needed so no waste.
Since blackberries were on sale at buy one get two free, I had a leftover carton of them so I tossed those in. It made for a very interesting flavor, however as I mentioned before, the additional berries are not necessary.
Crust Like A Cookie
This crust tastes just like a shortbread cookie because it’s made with 100 percent butter.
It’s pretty easy to roll. My pie crust failings don’t come from rolling, but keeping it together getting it in the pan. However that doesn’t happen here.
The crust is rolled pretty thick–maybe just under 1/4-inch–so no danger of cracks or holes. Then all you do is cut squares or rectangles and place them on top of the berries.
Regular sugar may be used in place of sanding (coarse) sugar, but I encourage you to pick up some. I found a small bottle in Walmart in the baking supply aisle. It was will the decors, sprinkles and Cake Mate.
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1¼ cups flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 tbs cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 3-5 tbs ice water
- 1 lb each frozen sweet and tart cherries, thawed with juice
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- Crust Decoration:
- 1 egg, beaten
- sanding sugar
- Crust: pulse the almonds and ¼ cups sugar in a food processor until fine. Add the flour and ¼ tsp salt and pulse to combine. Scatter the cubed butter over the flour mixture and pulse until pea sized. Add the water, 1 tbs at a time pulsing after each addition, until dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, then shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
- Filling: mix the cornstarch with the ½ cup sugar to combine. In a large bowl, combine the cherries and their juice, the cornstarch mixture, zest, lemon juice, almond extract and the ¼ tsp salt. Stir well and place in a 9-inch deep dish pie pan set on a baking sheet. Dot the filling with the 2 tbs butter.
- Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch or less. Cut into 2-3-inch squares. Arrange on the top of the filling in a patchwork pattern pressing pieces around the edge into the pie pan. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top just begins to brown. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown. If it looks like it’s browning too much, lay a piece of foil on top of the pie plate.