Recipe courtesy of Joyel Timmreck

Miss America Cherry Pie

Eau Claire's Main Street doesn't see a lot of action 364 days out of the year: Only a few businesses dot the nearly mile-long stretch. But on the Fourth of July, the place is one big party as visitors roll in for the Cherry Festival parade and cherry-themed baking contest. Joyel Timmreck, 2014's grand-prize winner, turned over the recipe for her blue-ribbon cherry pie. She used to make it with blueberries, but Joyel tweaked it for the contest after a friend persuaded her to enter.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 4 hr
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

For the crust: 

3 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 24 sheets)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the fillings:

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 cups fresh tart (sour) cherries, pitted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Sliced almonds, for topping

Directions

  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into the bottom and up the side of an 8-inch pie plate. Bake until lightly golden brown, 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese filling: Beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth.
  3. Make the cherry filling: Bring the cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch and almond extract to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
  4. Pour half of the cherry filling into the pie crust; top with the cream cheese filling, then the remaining cherry filling. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
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