Today, in honor of Memorial Day, please take a moment of silence to remember those who devoted their lives to serving our country.
As an extra celebratory piece, I decided to make one of the most patriotic desserts in America. The one and only, pie.
Sweet Cherry Pie, to be exact.
I absolutely love cherries. I’m sad that cherry season doesn’t last very long in America. I buy every last one of them when they’re in full abundance. Cherries pair so well with both sweet and savory foods. They’re great in desserts, marinades, sauces, smoothies… You name it, and you can probably put a cherry in it.
Cherries are also super nutritious. They contain a good amount of Vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. They also contain a very peculiar compound; something extra special that will make you sleepy.
That’s right, melatonin. Most people know melatonin as a hormone secreted by a gland in the brain. This hormone can regulate the reproductive cycle as well as the sleep cycle. According to my psychology professor way-back-when, melatonin is generally produced by our bodies at nighttime, around 2 to 3 AM, and helps us maintain our biological clocks properly. It’s thought that the elderly and insomniacs both have a decreased ability to produce melatonin. That’s why you see tons of melatonin supplements currently on the market.
Melatonin isn’t just produced by our bodies. It’s actually found in some edible plants, like cherries! One study shows that elderly patients who drank tart cherry juice before bed were able to fall asleep better than those who drank the placebo supplements. This pie is, therefore, a perfect end to an epic holiday meal. You’ll be relaxed knowing you made an impressive dessert, and your guests will be relaxed after unknowingly eating some bedtime melatonin. It’s as simple as that.
Well now that I’ve eaten a ton of this pie, it’s time for bed. I’ll leave you with this:
In the words of Warrant, it “tastes so good make a grown man cry.”
Tears of joy, that is, for my “sweet cherry pie, oh yeah!”
Sweet Cherry Pie
- For the bottom crust:1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup dairy/butter-alternative (Smart Balance, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
- 2 Tbsp low-fat milk
- Pinch of salt For the filling:4 ½ cups fresh cherries, pitted
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour For the crust topping:1 ½ cup flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 5 Tbsp dairy/butter-alternative (Smart Balance, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
- ¼ cup warm water
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Wash and dry the cherries. Pit them using a skewer, toothpick, or cherry pitter. Set them aside for now.
- Grease a 9 x 9 inch pie tin. Place the dry ingredients from the “bottom crust” portion of the recipe into the greased pie dish. Mix well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter-alternative. Using a fork or your fingers, blend the butter-alternative into the dry ingredient until the texture looks like sand. Add the milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, while continuing to blend everything into a sandy texture.
- Once you have all the ingredients mixed together, and the sandy texture is achieved, flatten out the crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pie tin. Put some parchment paper on top of the crust, and put an oven-safe sauce pan on top of that. Put the crust, with the pan, in the oven for 5 minutes. This will start the cooking process for the crust, so the cherry mixture doesn’t prevent the bottom from cooking through.
- Remove the crust from the oven. Take off the sauce pan and parchment paper.
- Mix the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl. Add the mixture to the pie tin. Place that in the oven for 10 minutes.
- While the bottom portions of the pie are cooking, set up the topping. The topping is basically a topping for a cobbler, but it works well with this recipe. Blend the dry ingredients together. Add the butter-alternative, and create the same sandy texture you made for the bottom crust. Slowly add the water, and mix well.
- Remove the pie from the oven. Spoon the topping evenly over the filling. Place everything back in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown.
- Let the pie cool on the counter for 20 minutes before slicing. Slice, serve alone or with whipped cream, and enjoy!
No nutrition facts for this recipe. I’m too sleepy from all the cherries I ate, and calories don’t count on holidays! 😉