Hubby was having a potluck at work today. He wanted me to bake bread, instead he decided to try making cherry tarts from fresh Bing cherries. I have NEVER made a cherry pie filling before, this is the one type of filling that we always buy in a can from the grocery store. In principal I knew how it should be done & so we experimented.
4 pounds fresh cherries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2T corn starch mix in 1/4 cup cold water
Bing cherries are $1.99 a pound right now at our local Kroger, we bought about 4 lbs of fresh cherries. Hubby, Morgan & Maggie cut the cherries in half & pitted them. Then we put about 3 cups of chopped cherries into a double boiler saucepan on the stove. We added 1/2 cup water, 2 cups sugar & 1/4 cup lemon juice. We brought the mixture to a boil & cooked it down until the cherry meat separated from the skins. We skimmed out the skins & continued to cook the cherries. We smashed up the pulp. The cherry mash wouldn't come to a rolling boil in the double boiler, so we transferred it into a medium size Pyrex bowl. We put it in the microwave & cooked it in 3 minute increments until it boiled, then we added the corn starch mixture. We boiled it again until it was almost ready to overflow from the bowl, stirred it & then boiled it again. We let it sit to cool for about half an hour, then mixed it into the rest of the pitted cherries.
2 cups Flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco butter flavored shortening
5 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water
We made a double batch of my pie crust & pressed ping pong ball size balls of crust into our silicon muffin pan. This is the first time I've really use the silicon pan & it worked GREAT!! We have a new tool we bought from Pampered Chef that works great for spreading the crust evenly.
Fill the tart crusts about 2/3 full with the cherry mixture & bake @400 for 20 minutes or until crust is golden. It's a good idea to have a cookie sheet or foil under the muffin pan to catch any drips. Remove from oven & let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. I had to use a butter knife to gently loosen up the tart before popping it out of the pan. The more cool they are, the easier it is to get them out of the pan without having them fall apart.
This filling had wonderful flavor & was enough for 3 dozen tarts with enough filling left over for an 8 inch pie.
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