Sunday, June 28, 2015

Road Trip to Eau Claire, Michigan for their Cherry Festival

Eau Claire, Michigan is a small town community that celebrates big for the 4th of July and the cherries that grow around it.
Every 4th of July the town gets the party rolling with their Annual Cherry Festival. Just in case you happen to be in the area July 3rd and 4th here is the run down of events for their 30th Annual Cherry Festival 
July 3rd starting at 6pm Veteran's Park and July 4th starting 8am Main Street 
  • 6pm (come early for registration for events) Color Walk/Run, 7:30pm Greased Pig Contest followed by auction, Tug of War. 
  • July 4th starts 8am with Oil Can Derby, 10 am Cherry Baking Contest, Prince & Princess, Cutest Baby, Parade at 1pm, Lip Sync, Cherry Pie Eating Contest, Bed Race, many events & vendors throughout the day, local village church activities, Street Dance w/ live band Rebel Pride Main Street 8 - 12 midnight
  • Fireworks show at 10pm, a family friendly festival, trophies, ribbons, cash awards, entry forms available at eauclairemi.com.
One of the more popular events is the Cherry Pie Baking Contest.  
Cook's notes: Lucky for us, Joyel Timmreck 2014 Grand Prize Winner from the Cherry Festival was willing to share her blue-ribbon cherry pie recipe. It was published in Food Network Magazine July/August 2015. 

With a couple of tweaks Voila! Here is my culinary interpretation of her 4th of July dessert. 
But first you need to see my recent must have purchase.
OXO Good Grips-Cherry Pitter
and it was only $3.99
It's a useful gadget that would keep kids entertained shooting out pits while you are making the dessert :)
Yes, I know a can of cherry pie filling could be used but does not come close to the taste of a sauce made with fresh cherries. Besides one would miss out on all the fun of pitting fresh cherries if used a can!   
Ingredients:
For The Crust
  • 3 cups finely crushed graham crackers-about 20 full sheets
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon or regular cinnamon 
  • 1 TB. sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
For The Filling
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 TB. Amaretto or 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups fresh pitted cherries
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar-depends on the tartness of the cherries 
  • 2 TB. cornstarch
  • 1 TB. orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all crust ingredients in a bowl. Press into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Beat cream until soft peaks are formed, add in cream cheese and confectioners sugar. Beat until smooth. Add in 1 TB. Amaretto or 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Mix and set aside. 
  • In a saucepan bring cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange juice and 1/2 tsp. almond extract to a simmer over medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened about 8 minutes. Remove from stove and cool completely. 
  • To the cooled crust add cream filling and top with cherry filling. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. 
FYI- I think the greased pig contest would be a fun event to watch. 

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