Cherry season is upon us! And guys! We got our first crop of cherries off of the little sapling we planted this year. Yup! We got… drum roll please….. 4 cherries!
But all joking aside, it is cherry season so it’s time for my all-time favorite desert, cheesecake with cherry topping. So I love cherry pie too, but let’s face it I eat it for the filling not the pie. On cheesecake is the way to go.
My sister bought a home that has a huge old cherry tree on the property. This year we have seen a huge amount of moisture here in Southern Utah and so the fruit yields are high (so far). Well, we picked cherries from 11 til 5 pm and when you look at the tree it doesn’t look like we made a dent.
I came home with 5 buckets worth and nearly 100 lbs of cherries! Let the work begin! After washing and pitting tons of cherries, this is the longest part of the process, I was able to make some of this delicious pie filling and now I can share the recipe with you!
Ingredients: Makes 4-5 quarts
Approx. 10 lbs of washed and pitted cherries
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
As I go along pitting cherries I pile them into a large stock pot, when the pot is close to 3/4 full or approximately 10 lbs, I put in onto the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Add the sugar and lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently until the cherries begin to get soft and release some of their juice.
At this point, I mix the corn starch into the cold water and then pour it into the cherries to give it a thickening agent.
As the cherry mixture cooks down and becomes more like cherry soup, I turn the heat down to medium low and continue to let it bubble on the stove stirring every few minutes to keep it from scorching.
Something to note when cooking fruit and sugar, it can scorch quite quickly and easily so stirring is key. Also, using a pot that is nonstick will help with the scorching issue as well.
After about half an hour at medium low, when the concoction has reached a desired consistency, ladle it out into hot washed mason jars and fill until a half inch head space is left.
Process in a water bath canner for 30 minutes. Allow the jars to cool completely before storing.
And that’s it! Now you have delicious cherry pie filling or topping for cheesecake, ice cream or whatever else you can dream up! So go make a cheesecake…. do it now!