As American As Cherry Pie…

Mark your calendar because this Sunday is National Cherry Pie Day! On February 20, grab a slice of cherry pie and celebrate this delicious and fruity pie, second in popularity only to the mighty apple.

While the official origins of this food holiday are unknown, it does make sense to honor cherry pie this month. George Washington made the cherry tree popular with his famous quote, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree,” as a young boy. Washington’s birthday is February 22, and we celebrate President’s Day the third Monday in February in his honor.

The next time you bite into a juicy cherry pie, chew over these facts:

  • On average, a cherry pie contains 250 cherries.
  • Each cherry tree produces about 7,000 cherries, enough to fill thirty pies.
  • Seventy percent of the cherries (both sweet and tart) produced in the United States come from just four states – Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
  • There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherries in the United States, but fewer than 10 are produced commercially.
  • Cherries are the official state fruit of Utah.
  • At one time it was against the law to serve ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas.

And finally, here’s an As-Easy-As “Bing” Cherry Pie recipe you can make to celebrate!

Bottom Crust Ingredients:

  • (9 inch) refrigerated piecrust in oven-safe aluminum pie pan

Pie Filling Ingredients:

  • 5 cups fresh Bing cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter – melted
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the refrigerated piecrust from its wrapper. Pit the fresh Bing cherries. (You may wish to use a simple cherry pitting tool, available at most grocery stores, and wear an apron to protect your clothes from juice spatter.)

Combine the pitted cherries in a bowl with sugar and tapioca flour. Mix well and spoon into the prepared piecrust. Combine the crumb topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix until evenly distributed and crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the filling.

Place in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and browned on top. Allow to cool to room temperature. Serves 8.

Served warm or cool, à la mode or with whipped cream, don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy a piece of cherry pie on February 20, National Cherry Pie Day!

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