Twins Judy and Joy: Thanks, Nana!
With the temperatures almost reaching 60 degrees the past few days, Judy and I are so hopeful that spring is just about here. For some reason this year I cannot wait and yet we really can’t complain; we have had a mild winter here in the Northeast. The warm sun, the birds chirping, my garden, outdoor dining … hurry please!
We are feeling inspired to dig up our spring recipes and Nana’s Cherry Square is perfect! She always made this recipe at the onset of spring and of course it was always a favorite of our Papa and our Dad.
The dough for the crust is especially unique because it is a cookie dough! Nana would make an extra batch of dough for us and make small swirl cookies and sometimes braided cookies with it. It is sweet and crunchy and perfect for the base of this old time family recipe.
Any filling can be used; the canned pie fillings work best.
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This family recipe is about 100 years old now. How we wish we could see Nana baking in her kitchen just one more time — we love you, Nana.
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup Crisco
pinch of salt
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract*
sugar for garnish
In bowl of your mixer beat the Crisco with the sugar until well blended, add eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl, stir the flour with the salt and the baking powder. Add the dry to the wet ingredients until a soft dough forms.
1 can cherry pie filling
1/4 teaspoon almond extract*
Blend and taste! Add more extract to your liking
To assemble: Roll out about half the cookie dough on a lightly floured surface and press into the bottom and up the sides of greased pan (9 x 9), about 1/4 inch thick. Trim excess and roll out remaining dough. Cut 1-inch wide strips and place onto cherry square in a lattice design. Crust with vanilla sugar or sanding sugar. Bake at 325F until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.
*Nana's recipe card is saying to taste and add more vanilla if needed!
**taste and add more extract if needed...remember as it cooks the almond flavors intensify.