[Disclosure: The following post is a part of a paid promotion between The Healthy Aperture Blogger Network and the Cherry Marketing Institute. Opinions expressed are my own. ~Regan]
~by Regan Jones, RD
~recipe and images by Gretchen Brown, RD
I've known for years that I loved cherries. I've loved them fresh, dried, frozen, in juice... in ice cream, over cheesecake, in pie, in a sauce over tenderloin.... You name it, and I've loved them all. And I've always thought I was loving the same fruit, prepared in different ways. But then I took a trip to see the Cherry Harvest...
...and boy were my eyes opened. What I though was one single fruit, offered in different forms, was actually a totally different variety of cherries all together.
Tart cherries -- typically of the Montmorency variety -- of course start off as fresh (like the ones shown in the pictures here). But unlike their "sweet" counterparts that many of us associate with buying fresh during the summer, you'll likely never find tart cherries in your produce section. Tart cherries are typically sold either dried, frozen or as juice concentrate.
Why is this important?
- First, it means that great cherry taste we all know and love is available year round.
- "Tart" as a flavor is hot right now... in fact, it's on trend for 2014 and beyond, making the tart cherry an easy way to add that slightly sour component to dishes that many people crave.
- In fact, tart cherries are a natural MSG-like flavor enhancer (without all the undesireable MSG-like effects).
From a nutrition standpoint, the benefits are numerous*.
- That tart/sour taste is actually a clue from Mother Nature that there are healthy phytonutrients wrapped up in that pretty red package. Specifically Montmorency tart cherries contain anthocyanins, a flavonoid that yields that ruby-color and tart cherries are rich in vitamin A.
- Tart cherries have reportedly the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. In fact, they may help athletes reduce muscle damage to recover faster AND help people with osteoarthritis.
- Tart cherries may reduce the risk of gout attacks by up to 35 percent, according to researchers at Boston University (and FYI - an estimated 8.3 million Americans suffer from this debilitating illness).
great taste + nutrition powerhouse = always a win...
...especially when it's all wrapped up in a tasty dish. Am I right?
To kick-off National Cherry Month (February) we've teamed up with the Cherry Marketing Institute and 13 of our favorite bloggers from the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network to bring you the best and most beautiful healthy recipes to help you enjoy frozen, dried and tart cherry juice. Starting this week and running through February 27th, these talented bloggers will be sharing their favorite ways to #GoTart -- including recipes for cookies, pudding, salad, chutneys and much more.
- Averie from Averie Cooks
- Caroline from Chocolate and Carrots
- McKel from Nutrition Stripped
- Erin from Texanerin
- Gina from Running to the Kitchen
- Amanda from Skinny Fork
- Jennifer from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Olena from iFOODreal
- Melanie from Nutritious Eats
- Julia from The Roasted Root
- Kelli from The Corner Kitchen
- Kylie from Yeah...Imma Eat That
- Gretchen from Kumquat
And just like icing on the cake -- or in this case whipped cream on cherry pie -- the Cherry Marketing Insitute is offering an amazing Giveaway (enter below) for one lucky winner, including a year's supply of tart cherries, plus some fabulous kitchen goodies (um, hello KitchenAid + LeCreuset!!!)
But even with all this good-for-you nutrition news and talk of creative blogging recipes and giveaways, I couldn't let National Cherry Month come and go without a nod to the classic cherry pie. Enlisting the help of my favorite gluten-free blogger (and personal friend), I asked Gretchen at Kumquat to bring us her best-of-the-best cherry pie. With three different kinds of tart cherries plus honey-bourbon all wrapped up in a beautiful gluten-free pastry, it's an updated twist on a classic that's as on trend as the tart cherry itself. Hope You Enjoy!
Gluten Free Honey-Bourbon Triple Cherry Pie
6 to 8 servings
- 280 grams (about 2 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour (visit kumquatblog.com for a guide to create your own blend)
- 1/2 cup unflavored whey protein
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons chilled honey-bourbon
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 1/2 cups dried cherries
- 2/3 cup honey-bourbon
- 3 pounds frozen tart cherries, mostly thawed
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons tart cherry juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons tapioca starch, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Combine dried cherries and 2/3 cup honey-bourbon in a medium bowl. Cover and let rehydrate overnight.
- The next day, combine thawed cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, combine flour, whey protein, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons chilled honey-bourbon and ice water. Pulse until mixture pulls together into a ball. Split dough evenly in half.
- Place half of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer dough to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate and press gently to fit, leaving an overhang of dough over edges.
- Place remaining half of dough between lightly floured parchment paper. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Trim dough into a 9-inch square; discarding remaining dough pieces. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch strips. Place strips in a lattice arrangement. Chill lattice and crust-lined pie plate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Drain thawed cherry mixture; discard juices or use for another purpose. Drain dried cherry mixture; discard juices or use for another purpose. Add dried cherries to thawed cherries.
- Add honey, tart cherry juice, salt, and 3 tablespoons tapioca starch to cherry mixture. Stir well. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon tapioca starch over crust. Tightly arrange cherries over dough, mounding them slightly higher in the center.
- Lay lattice strips over cherry mixture. Pinch bottom crust and lattice edges; crimp edges. Combine egg and 1 teaspoon water; brush egg wash over crust and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 375° for 1 hour 15 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Let cool completely before serving. Serve with a drizzle of honey or sweetened whipped cream, if desired.