Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday To You

Lawrence's birthday was on the 15th, and we weren't sure what we'd do this year. Last year we packed it up and had a hike and picnic lunch. We considered doing the same this year, but the weather this past week has been completely unpredictable, and we didn't want to make the hour drive out to get rained on. In the end we had a nice lunch out (Thank You Nana!), and a quiet evening at home. Because we were having a small family party a few days later I didn't want to make a huge cake on his birthday and then have another one on Friday. Not that it would have gone astray, but it was just too much cake! Lawrence loves cherry pie, and I've been fiddling with a few recipes to come up with something that is not only tasty but also sugar free. (You knew I'd say that didn't you? Everything comes back to being sugar-free eventually, right?)

Funny thing about his birthday pie is that I made it rather late at night. We had an hour change recently, so any time it's dark out is "late at night" to me now. It was probably about 7 by the time I got the whole thing in the oven. The boys opted to buy Daddy a new Wii game for his birthday so while the pie baked we all trooped upstairs for a few rounds.

We had some bottled cherries from this summer, and I decided to open a bottle for the pie. I think, personally, that two bottles of cherries would have been better. With that said when I make a pie I like it to be FULL and brimming with fruit. Either way the pie was a success, so I thought I'd share the recipe.

1 bottle of cherries (this was about 3 cups of bottled cherries and 1.5 - 2 c of the water/juice)
2-3 T Arrowroot flour (tapioca flour) OR 4-6 T cornstarch
2-3 T butter
1/4 t cinnamon
1 T vanilla
1/2 t stevia
2 T honey

1 pie crust recipe (we use an old oil pastry, and any other recipe I've ever used has been icky in comparison)

Put the cherries (juice included) on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, stevia, and honey mixing well and simmer for ten minutes. If you use Arrowroot you won't need to return it to a boil before adding it. Just mix it with equal parts water until smooth and add stirring until it's as thick as you want. If using cornstarch you'll need to mix with water until smooth and return to boil to thicken it. Either way, thicken to desired consistency. Add butter and mix well. Pour into crust and bake until crust is lightly golden. I baked ours at 180 (350 or just higher) for about 40 minutes and didn't need to cover the crust with foil.

The gang here topped their slices with sweetened cream, and licked the plates clean. Literally. (To sweeten our cream I simply put 1/2 - 1 cup of cream mixed with 1/2 T of vanilla and 3 "scoops" of stevia. Mix until thick.)

As a side note, this was a birthday pie, so I opted to put in a few candles. After all, what's a birthday without a few candles?! So we plopped four candles in our pie, lit them, sang away, and watched the birthday "boy" blow them out. The boys were delighted, all though there wasn't too much arguing over who would pull the candles out and lick them because I was too busy lamenting over how wax had dripped into the fruit filling.

Ever calm, Lawrence pointed out that it didn't matter. He did add that people eat wax all the time, which initiated conversations about how often he nips into the cupboard for a nibble of birthday candle.. However, our real shock came when we pulled those melting candles out of the pie.

Notice the non burned wick? The bottom of the candles melted into the pie! Never stick candles into a pie, even if you've let it cool for an entire 40 minutes! Apparently candles feel this is still too hot, all though I must say it gives your cherry pie a lovely shade of blueberry..

And we didn't even need food coloring to get it! Never mind though, the pie is so tasty no one complained one bit about it, in fact I think Lawrence might have been on to something about that whole "eating wax" theory because I didn't see anyone pluck any bits of wax out of their pie. I'm not 100% sold on the fact that it was because I managed to scrape it all out before serving it..

Happy Birthday to my Love!

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