Summer Macaroni and Cherry crunch go hand in hand, especially when a picnic is in the picture. This is such a simple and yet a scrumptious dessert for any time but, now with fresh cherries available its a must to make. The original recipe, which is my mother-in-law’s, calls for a jar or can of cherry pie filling. However, once you make the filling from scratch you won’t go back. She also used shortening, but to be honest, I’m not a fan of that white stuff in the blue can. I used ghee but butter would work fine. Another problem I encountered was “cherry pitting”! With the miracle of Google, I found that using a chop stick to push the pit out works! A bit of a juicy mess, however I conquered those little black beauties. As I diligently worked to extract the pits I thought about living in Cherry Hill and how a few celebs have graced this township. The one that came to my mind was Mohammad Ali. I was living with my Aunt on Kresson Road at the time. My cousin suggested we take a ride to see if we could find his house. He was living off Kresson Road, down Ann Drive to Winding Way. It was a sprawling Spanish style home tucked away in a quiet wooded area with few houses. We passed and then turned around and pulled up to the front. I peered from the driver side and saw a massive form at the front door. Startled I saw the door swing open and Mohammad Ali step out. He strolled to the fence gate and said Hello. I remember being unable to speak which is totally not like me! He was a beautiful specimen of a man, spoke softly and Thanked us for coming by. We mumbled something, waved and left. I wonder if he would have been a fan of Cherry Crunch!
1 1/4 lb of bing cherries pitted
1/2 cup of sugar (eat a cherry or two to check for sweetness you may need a 1/4 cup more)
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place the cherries in a saucepan and cover. Place over a medium heat and cook about 10 minutes until they release their juices. Stir often.
In a small bowl whisk the sugar and cornstarch together until combined. Stir into the cherries and cook about 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Let cool
Preheat oven to 350
Butter an 8×8 baking pan
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup butter or ghee (cold) cut into small pieces
3 eggs beaten
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter with your hands until crumbly and then add the beaten eggs. Mix together with a wooden spoon. Place half to 2/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the baking dish and press down lightly to form a crust. Top the crust with the cherry pie filling. To the remaining mixture add the teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle the remains mixture on top of the filling.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until lightly brown on top. This is one dessert you will truly enjoy weather your from Cherry Hill or not!