Tomorrow is Presidents’ Day. When I was a child we had George Washington’s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday before they merged the two holidays and added in all the presidents. And, you couldn’t make it through the week without a least one teacher discussing the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. That story has made us associate cherries with Presidents’ Day, so I had to make something cherry for Presidents’ Day and so these cherry squares were born.
I adapted the crust and topping from a Food and Wine recipe for Apple Pie Bars and then made my own filling similar to cherry pie filling I have made in the past. I used frozen cherries because they are really not in season, but if you have access to good fresh cherries, this recipe would probably be even better.
- 24 oz. frozen cherries
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 2 Tbsps. cornstarch
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 at room temperature and 1 1/2 cold)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment.
- Combine cherries (frozen), lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar in a large sauce pan. Heat over medium until cherries lose their shape and are cooked through.
- Dissolve cornstarch in 3 Tbsps. water and add to the cherries. Bring cherries to a boil and cook 1 minute.
- Set cherries aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together room temperature butter and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until dough sticks together.
- Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake 20 minutes or until golden.
- Spread cherries over crust.
- Stir together remaining flour, remaining salt, baking soda, light brown sugar, and oats.
- Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture.
- Stir in pecans.
- Sprinkle over the cherries.
- Return to the oven and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until topping is golden brown.
- Cool before serving.
This recipe was shared on In and Out of the Kitchen with Feeding Big and More and Foodie Friends Friday.