Pie Filling Duo … Two Desserts in One Can

E.D. Smith is my favourite brand of pie filling and, around the holidays, it often goes on sale. I’ve had a can (540 ml in Canada) of cherry pie filling in the pantry for four to six months. Originally, I had planned on making a New York Style vanilla bean cheesecake and using the pie filling to top it. Even individual mini cheesecakes made in a muffin tin with a base of ‘Nilla wafers were a possibility.

And then … I changed my mind.

I ended up with a couple of scaled down cherry desserts designed for a single person or a couple to enjoy, each using half (a bit over a cup) of the filling.

This coffee cake was originally made in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking pan but I used a small disposable aluminum pie tin.

Cherry Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping – cut into 9 squares

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4-6 tbsp sugar (use the lesser amount if you prefer less sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1-1 1/4 cups cherry pie filling (or flavor of your choice)
2 tbsp finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds), optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch aluminum baking pan with shortening or margarine.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and melted butter in a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together with a fork until crumbly. Break up by hand if necessary.

Take 1/4 cup of the crumbs out and place into a small bowl. If you’re using nuts in the topping, add the finely chopped nuts to this portion of crumbs and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk the slightly beaten egg and milk together, add the milk mixture to the large bowl of crumbs and stir until incorporated. (There will be small lumps in the batter.)

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan. Spoon the cherry pie filling over the cake. Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the batter comes out cleanly. Cool for at least 15-20 minutes, cut and serve.

Instead of a full sized cherry pie, I used the pastry from a single crust pie, to make six mini cherry pies in muffin tins and used the leftover pie filling from the coffee cake above to fill them, making sure to reserve least 3 cherries per mini pie.

Mini Cherry Pies – makes 6 mini pies

1 disk of single crust pastry
1-1 1/4 cups cherry pie filling (or your favourite pie filling flavour)
1 tbsp whipping cream, to brush over the the pastry decoration on each mini pie
coarse sugar for sprinkling over the pastry decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out the pastry to about 1/8th of an inch thickness. Cut six 3 3/4-4 inch diameter circles out of the pastry. Use the leftover pastry to cut out six mini stars or hearts for decorating the tops of your mini pies. Fit the pastry circles into large sized muffin tins.

Distribute the pie filling evenly among the muffins tins, making sure there are 3 cherries in each tin. Decorate each mini pie with one of the pastry cut-outs.

Brush some whipping cream over each pastry decoration and sprinkle some coarse sugar over each.

Bake the mini pies until the filling is hot and bubbling and the pastry crust is set and golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Let the muffin tin cool on a wire rack before removing.

Serve on their own or with a scoop of vanilla or cherry ice cream.

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