How to make your own cherry pie filling using fresh or frozen sour cherries. It’s quick, easy, and takes just three ingredients!
4cupssour cherries, pitted
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup cornstarch. Set aside.
Best to store opened packages of cornstarch in a cool, dry place. Stored properly, it will keep indefinitely. Same for sugar.
Add 4 cups cherries to a saucepan over medium-low heat and cover the pan. Cook cherries until they begin to release their juice and come to a low simmer, about 10 minutes. Stir often and do not let them burn.
Pour sugar mixture into the cherries and juice, mixing as you add it. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook until the filling begins to thicken. About 2 minutes or up to 5 minutes for a thicker cherry pie filling.
Fresh cherries will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer. Removing the stems and pits is ideal before freezing but not required.
Let cool and use as pie filling. This is also great over ice cream. The pie filling will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3 days or in the freezer for about 4 months.
I love figs. LOVE figs. So it doesn’t take much for me to get figgy with it, like these delicious matcha, white & dark chocolate dipped figs. It works for both dried and fresh, btw. Either way, if you are looking for a wonderful homemade gift this holiday season…look no further! Well, look a little further. You still gotta read the recipe.
Start with the best darn figs you can get your hands on. Considering 90% of U.S. grown figs come from California, it’s pretty easy…but don’t mess it up.
Successful chocolate work begins with mise en place. From how I am going to place and prep the figs to everything else. Get it all ready. I placed my figs on a parchment lined baking sheet in alternating varieties so the chocolate won’t stick once dipped, but also to easily mix up the colors.
Ok, this chocolate part is a little tricky. You can do it how I did or make it easy on yourself with less variety. There will be deliciousness in your mouth either way.
If you want to dip the figs in the dark chocolate and drizzle it too, you will have to divide the chocolate in 2 and do it in batches. If you want to do the same for the matcha chocolate and the white chocolate, you will have to divide the white chocolate in 4. You won’t need a whole lot for drizzling but you need enough for dipping that you can dredge the figs.
And if you get as excited as I do about eating and cooking with figs, you should check out the California Figs cookbook. Plus I will be giving one a way real soon over on Facebook, so follow me there.
Add a portion of your chocolate to a microwave safe dish and nuke the chocolate in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted. Add just enough vegetable oil that the you can dip a fig in it without it breaking off. For the matcha chocolate, add in the matcha green tea powder after you melt the chocolate but before you add the oil so you can gauge how much oil is actually needed.
Give the fig a good shake to remove any excess chocolate. It helps if you sing Shake Shake Shake by Taylor Swift while doing this. Also, don’t shake the fig too hard or it may break off into the chocolate. I may or may not know this from experience. Place the fig on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Rinse and repeat for all chocolates are dipped.
Repeat the same process for microwaving, mixing, and thinning the chocolate as before. This time, add the melted chocolate to a small zipper bag. Remove the air and force the chocolate to a corner of the bag. Using a pair of scissors, snip off a very tiny corner of the bag. Carefully drizzle the many different chocolates over the dipped figs.
Place the decorated figs in the fridge or at least an hour to harden the chocolate.
Now package these babies up in an airtight container and gift them to your bestest buds. Or eat your feelings and have them all for yourself.
Defrost the 14 ounce package puff pastry per instructions on the box and preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Trim the bottom of each of the 6 pears so that they sit flat, then core them, removing all seeds. Peel the pears and if they are oxidizing quickly, store them in water with some lemon juice as you finish the remaining pears.
Pears don’t ripen on the tree. They must be picked to ripen and will only ripen at room temperature. They should ripen in a few days but can be ripened faster if stored in a bag with a banana or apple, as those fruits put off ethylene gas. The pears absorb it and start producing their own. To test if a pear is ripe, gently press on the neck with your thumb. If it yields, it is ripe.
Lay the pastry out on a floured surface. Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into strips that are about ⅓ of an inch wide.
Starting at the bottom, wrap each pear with strips of puff pastry until fully covered.
Place the wrapped pears on a parchment-lined baking sheet with about 2 inches of space between each pear.
Bake pears for 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and puffed out. You may want to wrap the tops with some foil to prevent the tops from burning and for an even bake.
You can make the caramel while the pears are baking.
Coffee Caramel Sauce
Add ½ cup half and half to a small pot and warm over a medium-low heat. Careful not to burn. Add 1 tablespoon ground coffee and cook for 1 minute, until the cream becomes light brown.
Strain out ground coffee, returning the cream to the pot.
Add in 4 tablespoons butter and 1 cup brown sugar, and incorporate. Cook on a low simmer for 5 minutes. Whisking gently.
Brown sugar never spoils. Store it in an airtight container in a cool dark place. If it bricks, microwave it in a microwave safe dish with a damp paper towel on 10-second intervals until desired consistency.
Remove from heat and add in 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt, gently stir to combine.
Vanilla extract lasts indefinitely unlike the imitation stuff. Store it in a cool dark place.
Plate the coffee caramel and place a baked pear on top. Drizzle more caramel around the base.
In this video, I show you how to make my mom’s homemade pecan tassies. A gooey brown sugar filling wrapped in a cream cheese pie crust. These bite-sized dessert pieces are bound to be a holiday staple.
Cream Cheese Dough
3ouncescream cheese, softened
Pecan Pie Filling
¾cuppacked brown sugar
Pinch of sea salt
24 whole pecans
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cream Cheese Dough
Mix together 3 ounces cream cheese and ½ cup butter. Work in 1 cup of flour. Cover dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Any leftover cream cheese can be frozen if you don’t use it often. Simply put it in a plastic container and freeze it. Warning, it will get a little grainy and possibly watery from freezing. When you are ready to use it, let it thaw out in the fridge. Mix it all together if any separation occurred and you are good to go. It is best to use frozen cream cheese in things like this recipe.. I wouldn’t put it on top of a bagel.
Shape dough into 24 1-inch balls. Place in an ungreased 1 ¾ inch muffin pan, pressing dough against the sides. Helps if you have a 1-inch rod to form dough cups with. After forming the cups, place the pans back in the fridge while making the filling.
BTW, a tassie is a Scottish term for a cup or goblet for drinking wine.
Pecan Pie Filling
Beat together the 1 egg, ¾ cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt.
Mom’s Homemade Pecan Tassies
Divide ½ cup chopped pecans between the cups. Divide egg mixture between the cups. Top with whole pecans.
Any leftover pecans should be stored based on how you plan to use them. If they’re shelled, put them in the fridge, they will keep there for about 6 months, up to a year in the freezer. The oils in nuts go rancid when left out at room temperature. It’s important to keep them stored in something airtight to avoid any exposure to moisture.
Bake for 25 minutes until egg mixture is set and the crust is golden brown.
Add 1 cup California prunes, ¼ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup pecans, ½ cup crushed graham crackers, and a pinch of sea salt to the bowl of a food processor. Run the food processor until the mixture is even and sticks together when pinched. Prunes pair beautifully with rich complex flavors like the chocolate chips were going to top this baby with.
Transfer crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan, pressing it out until flat. Chill crust in the refrigerator.
Where you might typically use butter to create this no-bake crust, the California prunes not only hold the crust’s shape with their natural moisture, they’re also gut and heart-healthy. Obviously high in fiber but also potassium and other nutrients.
California grows 97% of the nation’s prune crop and 44% of the prunes in the world.
Oatmeal, once opened, should be transferred to an airtight container. Stored this way, in a cool dry place, the oats will keep for a year past the Best By date. Prunes, stored this way, will also keep for several months, and up to six months or longer if you keep them in the fridge.
Add 16 ounces of cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth and whipped.
Pour filling over graham cracker crust and smooth out until even. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
Sugar will last indefinitely if kept in a cool dry place. Vanilla extract, the real stuff, will too. Much longer than its imitation counterpart.
Add the 6 ounces of chocolate chips to a microwave-safe dish and microwave in 10-second intervals until melted, stirring between each session. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the chocolate and mix in until smooth. When chocolate is no longer hot, remove the cheesecake from the freezer.
Unclasp sides of the pan. Carefully spread chocolate glaze over the top of the cheesecake or drizzle it.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. I like to pop mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes before diving in, just to firm it up.
For any left over grapes you purchased, do not rinse them or remove them from the stem. Store in the fridge in the ventilated bag they came in and they will last up to 10 days.
BTW, did you know that California has been producing grapes for more than two centuries? Yup. No surprise, we lead the nation in table grapes, growing over 99% of them in the U.S.! We got over 80 varieties of grapes that are grown here but you keep on calling them green, red, and black.
You can easily stay up to date for everything grown in California, and when you can eat it, with this handy dandy guide to what’s in season. We grow 40% of the nation’s fresh produce and now more than ever, famers could use your help.
Whisk sugar and hot water in a mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add in California pistachios and stir to fully coat. By the way, stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, sugar stays fresh indefinitely.
Spread nuts out on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake on the middle rack until nuts are crisp and dry, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer sheet to wire rack and let nuts cool completely, about 20 minutes. Transfer nuts to a cutting board and chop if desired. Nuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
If you purchased pistachios for this recipe, you probably have some left over. They should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark place. They will keep in the pantry for about 6 months this way, up to 1 year in the fridge, and 2 years in the freezer.
Ice Cream Sundae
Divide the scoops of ice cream between 4 serving bowls.
Drizzle with olive oil and top off with deliciously roasted California grapes and candied pistachios.