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February 15, 2014

Culinary Conversation: Cherries can help make Presidents Day sweet as pie

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — Mini Chocolate Cherry Cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling:
  • 2, 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1, 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cocoa; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, using a fork until dough forms a ball. Shape into 24 balls. Place in greased miniature muffin cups; press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of each cup.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add egg; beat on low just until combined. Spoon 1 tablespoonful into each cup.

Bake at 325 for 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from pans to cool completely. Top with pie filling.

Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 2 dozen.

Sweet Cherry Pie

Pastry dough for 8-inch, two-crust pie

  • 3 cups fresh or canned sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 425. Line a pie plate with half the pastry dough.

Drain the cherries, saving /2 cup of the juice. (If you are using fresh cherries, the natural juices, which bubble up during baking, are sufficient.) Mix juice, sugar and tapioca in a bowl; add cherries and toss well. Pile into the lined pan and dot with butter.

 Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie. Crimp the edges and cut several vents in the top. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake 30 to 40 minutes longer, until the crust is lightly browned.

(*Note: Most recipes have not been tested.)

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