CHERRY PIE FILLING

Every cherry season we make a few batches of cherry pie filling. They are quick to prepare and so handy in the pantry! Simply open, pour into a pie shell, cover with the pastry top and bake. Litre-sized jars are great for family-sized pies; 250ml jars make around 4 pies using a jaffle pie maker – this size is also our favourite because cherry pie filling is delicious stirred through homemade yoghurt or used as a topping on cheesecake, pastries, pancakes, ice-cream or other desserts. 
 
Ingredients for  CHERRY PIE FILLING

Yield: 1 litre (4 cups)

Yield: 7 litres (28 cups

Cherries, Fresh or Thawed (pitted)

450g

3kg

Water, Cold

1 1/3 cups

9 1/3 cups

White Sugar (optional)

1 cup

7 cups

Cook-Type ClearJel (or Thermflo)*

1/4 cup

1 3/4 cups

Bottled Lemon Juice

25ml

175ml

*if unavailable, leave out and add 1/4 cup cornflour when opening each litre-sized jar. Do not add cornflour for preserving process.

         
METHOD:
1.  Cover jars with water and bring to a boil, boiling for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, turn the heat off and leave jars in the hot water until ready to fill.
2.  Wash fresh cherries, drain and pit. If using thawed berries, retain juice and use as part of the water in the filling. Keep cherries whole or slice in half. Blanch fresh cherries for 1 minute in water, then strain. Keep blanched cherries hot.
3.  Place lids into a bowl of boiled water. Remove the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal.
4.  Whisk sugar, Thermflo and the water together. Heat until thick. Remove from heat. Add the bottled lemon juice and whisk until shiny and smooth in appearance. Stir warm cherries into the pie filling, adding extra lemon juice if too thick, and bottle immediately.
5.  Immediately ladle the hot fruit pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 inch (2.5cm) headspace. Remove bubbles, check headspace is correct, and then wipe rims with damp paper towel then seal.
6.  Process in a boiling water bath canner as per chart below, adjusting for altitude if required. Start timer once water returns to a full boil. When time is up, turn heat off and rest jars in water for 5 minutes before placing onto a towel-covered bench overnight to cool.
7.  The next day: check jars have sealed before labelling and storing in a cool, dry and dark place for up to 12 months. Jar lids should not flex up or down when pressed. Please note fruit pie fillings will have tiny bubbles present after processing. Refrigerate opened jars of pie filling and consume within 5-7 days (or freeze leftovers from opened jars in freezer safe containers).
TIP: leftover pie filling? Make jaffle pies and pop into the freezer.
       
Processing Time for  CHERRY PIE FILLING  in a Boiling Water Canner

Jar
Size
Altitude
≤ 1,000 feet
Altitude
1,001 - 3,000 feet
Altitude
3,001 - 6,000 feet
Altitude
≥ 6,000 feet

Hot Pack

≤ 1 Litre
(quarts)

30 minutes

35 minutes

40 minutes

45 minutes

 
FLAVOUR IDEAS:
Add one (or more) of these ingredients to your cherry pie filling (per litre yield, multiply for larger batches):
o  Add 1/8 teaspoon ground spice: i.e. cinnamon;
o  Add 1 tablespoon shredded or desiccated coconut;
o  Add extra lemon juice;
o  Add lemon or orange zest;
o  Add 1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract;
o  Add 1-2 tablespoons liqueur i.e. apricot, brandy or merlot;
o  Add a vanilla bean;
o  Add 6 drops natural red food colouring.
 
SERVING IDEAS:
Making fruit pies using your canned fruit pie fillings:
o   1 x Quart (950ml) of Fruit Pie Filling = 1 x family pie (8-9 inches);
o   1 x Pint (450ml) Fruit Pie Filling = 8 x mini pies;
o   1 x Half-Pint (237ml) Fruit Pie Filling = 4 x mini pies;
o   Family Fruit Pie: prepare a double batch of sweet shortcrust pastry. Use one batch of the pastry for the base, pour in a quart jar of fruit pie filling, add the second batch of pastry for the top (or cut into strips and create lattice). Or bake without the top and let your fruit pie filling show beautifully! Bake until golden. Serve hot or cold.
o   Mini Fruit Pies: use homemade pastry, or store-bought puff pastry. Cut into rounds, place 1/4 cup fruit pie filling into each base, add top and bake until golden. Made in minutes using an electric pie maker and you can freeze any extra pies made. Use mini cookie cutters to create patterns on the tops for different fruit pies. Best served hot.
o   Store fruit pies in the refrigerator, or freeze.
Other serving ideas:
o  Stir into yoghurt and serve with granola;
o   Use as a topping for cheesecake;
o   Use in your favourite cobbler recipe;
o   Spread between two sponge cake layers;
o   Pour into a cake pan, add cake batter and bake. Serve upside down.
o   Partner with pudding;
o   Make a dump cake: pour pie filling into a baking dish, sprinkle with cake mix and bake!
o   Fill pastries;
o   Warm and serve alongside pancakes;
o   Serve with ice-cream;
o   Serve with custard;
o   Add to a trifle;
o   Add to your favourite muffin mix;
o   Spread onto tortillas, roll up and bake until golden. Serve with ice-cream.
o   Breakfast with porridge;
o   Make struedels;
o   Or use in a chocolate cake!
 
NOTES:
o  Bottled lemon juice must be used in this recipe (not fresh lemon juice, as the acidity may vary);
o  Sweet or sour cherries can be used in this recipe;
o  Fresh cherries: choose fresh, firm, fully ripe fruit;
o  Unsweetened or sweetened frozen cherries can be used in this recipe;
o  Sugar can be reduced or left out of this recipe, if you prefer;
o  For pancake topping: use half the thickener (1/8 cup per litre yield);
o  More information about fruit pie filling thickeners: http://www.foodpreserving.org/2013/07/clearjel-canned-fruit-pie-fillings.html
 
Author: Megan Radaich        
Image credit: Megan Radaich        
Publication: www.foodpreserving.org

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