When we started baking through The Sweet Melissa Baking Book several weeks ago, this recipe was the one that jumped out at me the most. I was hoping to pick it when it was my turn, but Michelle of Flourchild beat me to it!!! Needless to say, I couldn't wait to make it.
I had some concerns about the cherries - all I could find was frozen sweet cherries. Other people seemed to have the same experience, however, and commented that theirs had turned out great, so I forged ahead!
I made quite a few changes to this recipe:
I didn't use Melissa's flaky crust recipe as suggested, or any of her crust recipes for that matter. I don't use shortening, so I just stuck with my tried and true crust recipe from Heaven's Banquet by Miriam Hospodar.
The recipe called for sour cherries, but as I couldn't find any - canned, jarred or otherwise - I used frozen sweet cherries. I also omitted the sugar altogether. I figured the cherries would be sweet enough, and without sugar my 2 1/2 year old - who has never had sugar - would be able to eat it.
I left the sugar out of the topping as well, but replaced it with maple syrup. I added it to taste, so I'm not sure how much I used, but my guess is ht it was about 1/4 cup, maybe a little less. Also, I substituted cardamom for cinnamon in the topping. I thought it would pair better with the pistachios, and I loooooove cardamom.
I was slightly disappointed, because when my pie came out of the oven it was very liquidy - even after cooling completely - and this made the bottom of the crust soggy. The crust was very nicely browned, and the topping was quite dark in places, so I was afraid to leave it in any longer, though I think that would have solved the runny problem. Other than that I did love it. My crust was great, the flavor of the cherries was great, and the topping was insanely delicious. As I was eating it, all I could think of was all of the other things I could make as an excuse to eat this topping again. It was that good.
I popped my pie back in the oven for another 40!!! minutes, and it came out perfect!