It’s #NationalCherryDay so here’s my recipe for a very simple cherry skillet tart or pie.
Combining cinnamon with the flour gives a delicious crust which, when filled with the kirsch flavoured cherries, is really quite moreish. This pie is very juicy, almost self saucing, and the crisp outer crust can be ripped off and dunked into the cherry juices.
This recipe originated in the frontier days, when families travelled across America by wagon train, with very few personal possessions- perhaps only a griddle, a skillet and a cauldron which formed their kitchen, so, the frugality of the recipe is rather fitting. They would have cooked using communal ovens, Dutch ovens and most often over a wood fire.
Many Welsh mining families emigrated to the ‘wild west’ in the later 19th century – some of my ancestors included – so this is a little homage to them.
100g cold unsalted butter, grated
250g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar
Water to mix
Pinch of salt
250g stoned fresh cherries
1 tbsp kirsch
4 heaped tbls golden caster sugar
Rub the flour into the butter until you have fine breadcrumbs
Stir in the cinnamon and sugar
Add a beaten egg and bring the pastry together, if it’s too dry add a little water or milk, if it’s too wet add a little more flour
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees c
Roll out the pastry roughly and use it to line a greased skillet or tin. Make sure that the pastry goes over the edge a little as this will form your crust
Add the cherries, then sprinkle over 3 tbls of sugar and the kirsch
Fold the edges up and over to form a rustic pie crust, then glaze with beaten egg,
Sprinkle the crust with the remaining sugar and a dusting of cinnamon
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the cherries bubbling
Serve warm with ice-cream, cream or custard – or all three!