Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream Pie
Recently I had the good fortune to be called upon again by my friends at the Washington State Fruit Growers Association. The last time I saw them, I spent a fantastic day in the orchards amongst friends, and came away with 20lbs of the most succulent, swoon-inducing cherries. The kitchen creations that resulted from that 20lb cherry challenge trickled out of our pantry for some time, ensuring we were well in cherries for months.
The Cherry Bus wasn't on tour again this year, but they made sure the event was unforgettable. Lisa Dupar Catering hosted 12 local food folks to bake pies using some of the 120lbs of stone fruit provided by the Fruit Growers Association. From that day of community and pie, they were planning a TGI Pie Day Cookbook to give away on the NWCherries site.
The fact that I was invited was such an honor to me. I was surrounded by chefs and bakers whose names I knew but faces I didn't, but whose experience plain to see. I was so focused on my little creation that I completely missed introducing myself to a couple of my pie heroes who were in the room with me.
You see, the invitation presented a challenge. I had to bake a pie using available Washington State stone fruits - cherries, peaches, nectarines, or plums. If you know me, you know I have always had hang-ups about my crust (despite Kate McDermott's valiant efforts), and knowing I would be with 11 prime bakers, the thought was intimidating. But I would have done it were it not for the next fact: growing up in Texas, my family didn't eat a lot of stone fruit pies. Pecan pies, yes. Peach cobblers, yes. But not peach pies. Or any of those other fruits. So I didn't have a cherished family recipe to use anyway.
I was in uncharted territory and I needed to bring a recipe that meant something to me. What did we use stone fruits for, except cobblers? Why, my mom was a big cherries jubilee fan and ice cream's always welcome in the 100-degree heat. Why not a cherries jubilee pie? But then the thought came to me - a flaky hot pie crust might taste awful when frozen next to ice cream. Pie crust issue solved! I'll make a gingersnap crust, and it will hold up exceptionally well in the freezer against the ice cream, plus I wouldn't have to worry about making, rolling, baking and cooling it in a short time in front of all those good bakers!
I set about developing the recipe and what a surprise it was. I wanted something that featured the cherries, but was simple enough that anyone could make it easily with store-bought ingredients. I've since reproduced this pie a few times and I think I got the formula just right for simplicity with plenty of opportunity to fancy it up with homemade goodies like homemade cherry pie filling and homemade ice cream.
So here's the big reveal - the recipe's included below, but please go download the TGI Pie Day Cookbook (PDF only) and try all of the amazing recipes provided by the bevvy of bakers, including yours truly (page 13!!).
Cherries Jubilee Pie
8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 35 cookies)
3/8 cup (3/4 stick) salted butter, melted
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened with the paddle attachment
2 cups + 1 T Cherry juice
1/2 cup Dried tart cherries
2 - 3 T Sugar
3 T Tapioca starch (or arrowroot, but not cornstarch)
1 1/2 lbs Fresh sweet cherries, pitted and drained
1/4 cup Brandy (or kirsch or light rum)
For the tart crust
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Finely grind gingersnap cookies using a plastic bag and a rolling pin. You should get about 1 2/3 cups of crumbs.
- Empty the crumbs into a small mixing bowl and add melted butter to the bowl. Stir until moistened.
- Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.
- Place pan on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until evenly browned.
- Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
For the filling
- Once the pie crust has cooled completely, spoon the softened ice cream into the crust and spread it gingerly until it is about 1/4" from the top of the crust.
- Place the pan into the coldest part of the freezer and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
For the topping
- Place 2 cups of the cherry juice, the dried cherries, and the sugar in a wide saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Allow to simmer 10 - 15 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining tablespoon of cherry juice with the tapioca starch and stir until the lumps have disappeared completely.
- When the juice mixture has reduced, turn the heat down to low and add the tapioca starch mixture to the saucepan. Stir until it is completely incorporated and has thickened the juice to a pie filling consistency.
- Add the fresh cherries to the sauce and stir to coat.
- Turn off the heat and pour the brandy into the saucepan. Working carefully, light the brandy with a kitchen lighter. Stir quickly to allow the alcohol to burn off. (Note: There's a picture of me flambeeing cherries on page 12 of the cookbook)
- Spoon the flambeed cherries into a shallow bowl and refrigerate until completely cold.
- When you're ready to serve, remove the pie crust from the freezer and unmold it from the pan. Spoon the cherry filling over the ice cream base and cut and serve.