Very cherry recipes | Living the Country Life

Very cherry recipes

They are sweet, they are tart, they are plain delicious. And good for you, too!
This healthy and refreshing Cherry Smoothie features tart cherries, cherry juice, and bananas. And it takes just 5 minutes to make! Dark sweet cherries are the highlight of the Cherry Tart.
Double Cherry Pie uses fresh or frozen unsweetened tart red cherries as well as dried tart cherries. Photographs: Mike Dieter

If you love the taste of sweet, juicy cherries, now you have an even better reason to enjoy the fruit. A USDA and University of California-Davis study found that cherries can help fight the inflammation of arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. Natural chemicals in cherries suppress production of some of the body's inflammation-linked compounds.

Growing cherries

I have an additional reason to eat cherries -- my family is now growing the delicious fruit. My sister will harvest her first crop of sweet cherries this summer from 2 acres of dwarf trees she planted under high tunnels. It's a high-risk, high-input venture, but the rewards can be sweet!

Here are some cherry recipes for you to enjoy. More recipes can be found at and

Cherry Smoothie

Prep: 5 minutes

2 cups frozen pitted tart red cherries
1 banana, cut up
1 cup cherry juice, chilled

Step 1: In a blender container combine cherries, banana, and cherry juice; cover and blend until smooth. Makes 2 (1-1/3 cup) servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 184 calories, 2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein.

Cherry Tart

Prep: 25 minutes, Bake: 15 minutes, Chill: 2 to 4 hours

1/2 cup butter, softened 1/3 cup sugar 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons milk 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (1) 8-ounce carton sour cream 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted 2 cups dark sweet cherries, pitted

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For crust, in a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/3 cup sugar; beat on medium speed until creamy. Add flour, milk, and almond extract; beat on low speed just until combined.

Step 2: Press dough onto bottom and up sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom or a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake in the preheated oven about 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.

Step 3: In a bowl, stir together sour cream and the 2 tablespoons sugar; spread over cooled crust. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with coconut; arrange cherries on top. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 319 calories, 19 g fat, 43 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Double Cherry Pie

Prep: 1 hour, Stand: 15 minutes, Bake: 55 minutes, Oven: 375 degrees F.

4 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened pitted tart red cherries (about 1-1/4 pounds fresh)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 recipe Pastry for Double Crust Pie
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Step 1: In a large bowl combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, and almond extract. Let stand 15 minutes (45 minutes if using frozen cherries), stirring occasionally.

Step 2: Meanwhile, prepare the Pastry for Double Crust Pie. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten 1 dough ball. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it. Transfer filling to pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter and sprinkle with nutmeg. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate.

Step 3: Roll remaining dough ball into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Cut slits to allow steam to escape or use a 1/2- to 3/4-inch cookie cutter. Place pastry on cherry filling; trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil.

Step 4: Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes (50 minutes if using frozen cherries). Remove foil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8 servings.

Pastry for Double Crust Pie: In a large bowl stir together 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2/3 cup shortening until pieces are pea size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using a total of 8 to 10 tablespoons water, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball.

Nutrition facts per serving: 478 calories, 19 g fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 238 mg sodium, 74 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Tested for you

These recipes were tested by the same food authorities who approve all recipes for Better Homes and Gardens magazine, a sister publication of Living the Country Life magazine. For questions about the recipes, contact:
Living the Country Life Magazine Food Editor
1716 Locust Street/LS257
Des Moines, IA 50309-3023
Fax: 515/284-3217

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