Cherries

It’s All About the Cherries: The Annual Eau Claire, MI Cherry Baking Festival

It was all about the cherries, as it is every year at the Eau Claire Cherry Festival, held each July 4th in downtown Eau Claire. Michigan. This year, I was asked, along with Sara and Hanns Heil, to judge the festival’s 31st annual Cherry Baking Contest. Of course, loving small town food events, I had to say yes.

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From left to right: Jane Simon Ammeson, Hanns Heil & Sara Heil.

Like in years past, contestants could enter one or more of the  six categories: Cakes, Breads, Pies, Desserts, Miscellaneous and Quick Mixes, a category where entrants can use cake mixes, pie fillings and other store bought ingredients, none of which can be used in the other five categories. Besides that, both a Grand Prize and Most Eye Appealing winner is then selected from the first place winners of the six categories.

After the prizes were awarded, the baked goods were auctioned off by John Glassman, raising approximately $2245.00. P1060982

“We had a lot of great looking desserts,” said Chris Dohm, who with Betty Timmreck, organized the contest.

Celina Cantrell’s Cherry Celebration Cake won in three categories—taking first place for cakes, being selected as most Eye-Appealing and also was the Grand Prize winner. Coming in second for Cakes was Carole Skibbe’s Mrs. America Cherry Cake. Third place went to Denise Rogers for her Cherry Crumb Cake.

In the Quick & Easy category, Joyel Timmreck took first place for her Cherry Supreme Cake,  Barb Adams placed second for her Cherry Treat and Levi Lollas won third place for his Cherry Golden Muffins.P1060980

Celina Cantrell’s Red, White & Cherry Dessert took first in the Desserts category, Debra Lollar won second for Cherries on a Cloud and third went to Kortney Rodriguez for her Cherry Pie Bars.

Stephanie Glassman’s Cherry Mousse was the first place winner in the Miscellaneous category. Coming in second was Aiye Akhigbe for her Cherry Pie Jam and third went to Danielle Dilts for her Very Cherry Salad.P1060968

In the pie category, Sara Disterheft’s Sweet Cherry Pie won first place, Maxine Wagner took second for her Cherry Rhubarb Pie and Celina Cantrell third for her 3 Cherry Cherry Pie.

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The following are the first place recipes.

First Place: Cakes

Grand Prize Winner & Most Eye Appealing

Celina Cantrell’s Cherry Celebration Cake

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 teaspoons almond extract

6 egg whites

2 ¼ cups cake flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

21 ounces cherry pie filling

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

Frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese, soft

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Prepare three round cake pans with butter and flour.

In one bowl combine milk, egg whites, almond and vanilla extract.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix in butter. Add one-half of the wet mixture, mix and then add remaining wet mixture.

Divide batter into three round cake pans.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let cake cool in pans.

Cherry Filling:

In a sauce pan, cook cherry filling until warm, add extract and cook on low for five minutes. Mix water and cornstarch, then stir into cherries. Remove for heat and let cool.

Frosting:

Cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar.

Assemble the cake:

Spread a thin layer of frosting on the first layer of cake, then add cherries. Repeat with second layer. Top the two layers with the third cake, frost and top with cherries.

Optional: Add sliced almonds for looks and taste.

First Place: Quick & Easy Mixes

Joyel Timmreck’s Cherry Supreme Cake

One Cherry Chip cake mix

1 cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

½ cup chopped tart cherries

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease bottom only of two 8-inch cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except cherries until blended then beat on medium speed for two minutes. Add cherries and mix until blended. Pour into prepared baking pans and bake for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack. Remove from pans and place cake on plate. Frost then place other on top and frost entire cake.

Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese

½ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 pound confectioner’s sugar

4 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

¼ teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together until fluffy.

Variations:

One jar stemmed maraschino cherries; desired amount to decorate cake.

First Place: Pies

Sara Disterheft’s Sweet Cherry Pie

2 ½ cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

One cup unsweetened butter, very and cool cut into teeny cubes

½ cup ice water (you might not use it all)

Mix flour sugar and salt. Add butter until mixture becomes coarse. Slowly blend in just enough ice water form moist clumps. Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half. Form dough into 2 balls and gently flatten into disks. Wrap each in the plastic and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

For the filling:

5 cups sweet cherries, pitted

¼ cup cornstarch

½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large bowl stir together all the ingredients. Let mixture sit while you make your crumble and roll out your crust.

For the crumble:

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix sugar and flour together in a medium-sized bowl, then stir in melted butter. Put the topping in the freezer.

Assembly and Baking:

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Roll out half of the chilled dough on a well-floured work surface, rolling into a 12-inch round. Gently place the dough in 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edges of crimp them decoratively. Add cherry mixture into the pie crust, making sure the majority of its juices remain in the bowl. Add half of the frozen crumble on top of the pie filling and then place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes.

Rotate pie and add the remaining crumble. Bake for another 25 minutes or until crust and crumble are golden.

First Place: Breads

Celina Cantrell’s Red, Yellow, Cherry Bread with Cherry Blossom Butter

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 2/3 cup flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

1 cup chopped and pitted yellow cherries

Glaze:

¾ cup powdered sugar

1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease and flour loaf pan.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add extract, lemon juice and rind. Add eggs one at a time. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Alternate with sour cream. With a spoon, fold in cherries.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Let cool before drizzling with glaze.

To make glaze, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice.

Cherry Blossom Butter

Cream together 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature) with ½ cup powdered sugar, ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries and ½ teaspoon almond extract.

First Place: Miscellaneous

Stephanie Glassman’s Cherry Mousse

1 package cherry Jell-O (4 serving size)

½ cup boiling water

1 cup fresh cherries, chopped

½ cup cream cheese, softened

½ cup cold water

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Cool Whip

Cool Whip and/or maraschino cherries

Add Jell-O into a small bowl and pour in boiling water. Stir until dissolved.

Add cherries, cream cheese, cold water and vanilla extract. Blend for one minute or until smooth.

Pour mixture into a large bowl and whisk in Cool Whip

Spoon mixture into dessert dishes and place in refrigerator to set, about 2 hours.

To serve, top with Cool Whip and maraschino cherries, if desired.

First Place: Desserts

Celina Cantrell’s Red, White & Cherry Dessert

Crust:

1 cup crushed almond sugar cookies

¼ cup melted butter

Filling:

8 ounce package Cherry Jell-O

1 cup boiling water

½ cup

1 cup fresh chopped and pitted xx cherries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 ounces of cream cheese

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 cup heavy cream

In a small bowl combine cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press on to bottom of an ungreased pie plate.

Bake at 350° F. for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water, add the partially set, about 1 ½ hours.

In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add vanilla and salt.

In another mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream. When stiff peaks form, then fold in the cream cheese mixture.

Layer the dessert, starting at the bottom with some of the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture then add a layer of the cherries. Repeat layers. Top with whipping cream.

Refrigerate overnight.

 

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