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Friday, April 24, 2015

Cherry Crunch Pie

Cherry Crunch Pie #fridaypieday
It's the last Friday of the month, and that means...PIE! My visions for #fridaypieday included not only posts that included new pie recipes, but also some that featured different techniques, pie making tool reviews and recommendations, the occasional pie shop review, and some pie-centered cookbook reviews. So, when I was offered a copy of The Norske Nook Book of Pies and Other Recipes, I accepted.

So, first a little history. The Norske Nook is actually a small-town café that was founded in 1973 in Osseo, Wisconsin by Helen Myhre. Her hard work ethic and sense of family made the farm-style meals and pies attract media attention, which in turn brought tourism to the small town. Jerry Bechard bought the café from Myhre in the late 80's, when she decided it was time to retire and write a cookbook.

The heartwarming story of the start of Norske Nook and the change of hands, and how it grew to its now four Wisconsin locations—the café in Osseo, plus three others in Rice Lake, Eau Claire, and Hayward—is found in the 9 page introduction written by Bechard. I recommend taking some time to sit down and read this intro before you dive into the reicpes. (I think) the insight will put you into the right frame of mind, as well as make Wisconsin a travel destination in your very near future.

There is no further introspection beyond that introduction. We aren't given the stories behind each individual recipe, but Bechard does throw in a few great anecdotes at the start of six or so chapters. If you know me, you know it's the bits of personal insight that make a good cookbook a great cookbook, so I appreciated this little nibbles (even though I would have loved more).
Cherry Crunch Pie #fridaypieday
Concerning the recipes, I found it interesting that they are all written for an 11-inch pie plate. Now, I understand that this is how they're made in the restaurants, but (and I could be wrong) I don't think many home cooks have 11-inch pie plates. 9-inch is the norm. I decided to try out the recipe in a 9-inch pan, knowing it wouldn't turn out entirely correct. It was still delicious, but after experimenting, I think that if I'd done it in a deep dish 9-inch pan, it would have worked out just fine. Of course, if you want to make enough of the pies from the book, you may just want to pick up an 11-inch pie pan to add to your kitchen. I think I may do just that.

Cherry Crunch Pie
Sour cherry pie with a crunchy crumble topping.
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Cherry Crunch Pie
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 80-85 mins.
Keywords: bake dessert nut-free soy-free cherries July 4th pie American summer

Ingredients (1 pie)
for the filling:
  • 2 pounds sour cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup cherry gelatin powder (like Jell-o)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
for the crumb topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Roll and press your crust into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate and crimp the edges. Put half of the cherries into the crust.

Combine the gelatin, sugar, cornstarch and tapioca in a small bowl. Scatter half of this dry mixture over the cherries.

Add the rest of the cherries to the crust, then scatter the remaining dry mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the almond extract.

Make the crumb topping by combining flour, oats, sugars, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and mix using your fingers until crumbly and no dry spots remain. Scatter this over the cherries.

Line a baking sheet with foil, then set the pie plate on top of it. Slide into preheated oven and bake until set, 80-85 minutes, covering the crust with a pie crust shield (or foil) if it starts to get too brown.

Cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

The original Norse Nook recipe calls for an 11-inch pie plate, but I find that most home kitchens and cooks don't have that size readily available. I used one of my 9-inch pie plates to see how it would work. I wound up not using all of the dry mixture (about 2 tablespoons left). After I added the crumb topping, the pie plate was still too I figured it would be. It would have been prudent to use a deep-dish pie plate; I think everything would have fit, had I done so. Moral of the story, if don't have an 11-inch pie plate, use your best judgement when assembling this pie. Oh, and definitely line a baking sheet with foil and set the pie on top before baking to avoid it overflowing onto the bottom of your oven.

-slightly adapted from The Norske Nook Book of Pies by Jerry Bechard and Cindee Borton-Parker

Cherry Crunch Pie #fridaypieday

The Norske Nook Book of Pies and Other Recipes

authors: Jerry Bechard and Cindee Borton-Parker
publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
photos: yes
hard cover: 254 pages

chapters/sections: Crusts | Toppings and Puddings | Dutch and Praline-Topped Pies | Double-Crust Pies | Candy Pies | Berry Pies | Cream Cheese Pies | Sour Cream Pies | Meringue Pies | Single-Crust Pies | Stirred Pudding Pies | Frozen Pies | Sugar-Free Pies | Cheesecakes | Tortes | Muffins | Cookies | Scandinavian Specialties

fun feature: The cookbook includes recipes for a lot of Norske Nook's award-winning pies!

(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen: Mincemeat Pie with Warm Rum Sauce | Butterscotch Pie | Lemon Poppy Seed Pie | Sour Cream Raisin Meringue Pie | Sour Cream Blackberry Pie | Coconut Pineapple Dream Pie

about the authors: Jerry Bechard has owned the Norske Nook since 1990 and is a past winner of the Restaurateur of the Year award from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. He also owns the Northwoods Brew Pub in Eau Claire and lives in Hayward, Wisconsin. Cindee Borton-Parker is the regional manager for the Norske Nook restaurants and bakeries in northwest Wisconsin and lives in New Auburn, Wisconsin. Both are avid lovers of pie.

connect with the authors: website | facebook | twitter | pinterest

recipe I have already tried: Cherry Crunch Pie 

#fridaypieday at - sharing pie on the last Friday of every month.
Grab a plate and a fork, it's time for PIE! Pull a chair up to the table and help me dive deeper into the wonderful world of pie; from fruit pies to nut pies to cream pies to icebox pies and savory pot pies and skillet pies. Whether it's a traditional round pie, a slab pie, or even a hand pie—it's going to be all about the pie.

Join me on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration. For more information and recipes, please check out my #FRIDAYPIEDAY page!

Follow Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez's board #FRIDAYPIEDAY on Pinterest.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.