If cake and cherry pie had a baby...
December 9, 2016 10:12 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend's favourite sweet is a dessert bar made by our local bakery that is a weird hybrid of cherry pie (flakey crust and cherry pie filling on the bottom) and cake (with pink icing, on top). Pictures: side view and top view, bakery's picture (top right). I want to make him some for Christmas, and give him the recipe so he can make it whenever he wants. There's just one problem: I can't find the recipe.

It's possible that it's an older recipe from the era of Jell-o mould salads (the bakery owners boast that most of their recipes date back to the 1960s when their Grandmother started the bakery out of her home). They call them "cherry supreme" bars but that name has been too generic to be helpful. Googling "cake pie hybrid" turns up some fascinating but ultimately unhelpful results. Social anxiety makes it highly unlikely that I would ever work up the nerve to just ask the bakery if I could have the recipe (which strikes me as a long shot anyway).

My Google-fu is failing me, and I'm not an experienced enough baker (especially when it comes to pie crust) to feel comfortable just winging it. Help me hive mind? Does anyone recognize this dessert and know it by another name, or even have a recipe, or just have better Google skills than me?
posted by Secret Sparrow to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
That's a Bakewell Tart, or Fern Cake.
posted by scruss at 10:21 AM on December 9, 2016

It looks like just yellow cake on top? I'd try making a pie crust and using that as the base, add the cherry pie filling and a yellow cake recipe for the top. Then use food coloring to tint cream cheese frosting pink.
posted by sulaine at 10:27 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

… though reading your question a bit more makes me think the cherry pie filling is the bakery's variant. Bakewell tart tends to use jam, and the cakey bit should really be frangipane, but almond cake is often used.
posted by scruss at 10:28 AM on December 9, 2016

To me, a Bakewell tart always seems like a fruit variation of shoo-fly pie. (Pie shell, goopy layer, cake layer)

I have made the Mary Berry recipe that scruss linked, though not with raspberries. Once I made it with fig and once with loquat. It was a huge hit both times. Trying it with cherry seems like a good starting point.
posted by 26.2 at 10:34 AM on December 9, 2016

Yup, scruss has the name. You might not find exactly the recipe you want, so if it were me, I'd do as follows:

1.5x pie crust recipe
Cherry pie filling (you can get it in a can, but if you find sour cherries you can make your own by cooking down the cherries, some brown and white sugar, a bit of cinnamon, and a bit of almond extract and it's WAY better)
.5 - .75 recipe's worth of yellow cake, with some almond extract added (Smitten Kitchen has my favorite recipe)
Icing (I'd try a swiss meringue buttercream, because you're going to want something super rich to cut through the tartness of the cherries)

Preheat oven to 425. Roll the pie dough out into as close a representation of a square as you can. Grease and flour a 9x9 aluminum or glass pan, and press the crust into it, trimming the excess. (If you want more on pie crust theory, MeMail me--I have a stock answer written out, but it's a whole lotta words) Use a fork to make a lot of tiny holes in the crust. Bake it for about 10 minutes, or until it's just barely starting to brown. Pull it out of the oven, cool it, and add your cherry mixture. Pour your cake batter directly onto the middle, letting gravity smooth it out as much as possible, and using a rubber spatula to gently smooth it out. Drop the oven to 375, and bake for... probably 30 minutes? I'd have to try it myself, and it'll depend on how thick your cake ends up being and what type of material your pan is. Cool then ice, and cut into squares.
posted by Mayor West at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2016 [11 favorites]

(A couple of people asked, so here's my lengthy treatise on pie crusts)

For every crust you wish to make (top or bottom), acquire the following:
1 stick butter
1 cup flour

You can make any quantity you want, so long as you keep ratio exactly twice as much flour as butter by volume.

Dump your flour in a bowl. Add a little salt if your butter is unsalted. Take your stick of butter, and a sharp knife. Cut the butter into thin slices. Smaller is better, since you're going to have to work those pieces with your hands in a few minutes. Toss the whole mess a little bit to coat the butter with the flour and prevent the pieces from re-congealing. Take the whole operation (bowl included) and put it in the freezer for ten minutes. Pour a drink and consume it while you are waiting.

After the allotted ten minutes, remove the bowl from the freezer. The chunks of butter will be hard but not frozen solid; if they have frozen solid, leave it out for a minute or two. You want the butter to be as cold as humanly possible, while not shattering when you work with it. Working quickly, use your thumb and first two fingers to break the butter up into smaller pieces. Think 'pinching' or 'massaging a really stubborn knot in your partner's back.' If you're doing it right, by the time you're halfway through, you will feel muscle pains in your thumbs that you have never before experienced. That is further incentive to work quickly. Your target consistency is rice. Don't overthink this; worst case is someone gets an especially buttery bite. As you're working it, you're also going to be sifting it through your hands to find any unusually big chunks of butter, and breaking them up until everything is sort of equally sized. This is the part that will improve with practice. The quicker you can do this, the less homogeneous the final product will be, and the flakier your crust will be.

Once you have your coarse-rice-textured mix, get your glass of ice water. What, you don't have a glass of ice water? While the bowl was in the freezer, you should put a bunch of ice in a glass of water, and let it sit long enough that it's really cold. Now, you are going to take just over 1/6 cup (3-ish tablespoons) of water for every cup of flour in the bowl, and dump it in. This amount is wildly variable, and will depend on the humidity and temperature outside. This will look like way too little liquid. This is good! Too much liquid is death for your pie crust. Toss the contents (literally, run your hands to the bottom of the bowl, and lift and toss upwards and outward. The key here is minimal contact with your hands) of the bowl until things seem evenly distributed. It will still look like dry crumbs. At this point, change your movements to a kneading action, trying to compress things inward until it starts to hold together. If it becomes obvious that it won't come together, add a tiny bit more water. TINY. The difference between 'dry crumbs' and 'barely cohesive ball' is such an unbelievably small amount that you will not believe it until you see it. The first time, if it might take you 6 or 7 iterations to find the appropriate amount of water, because you are using such tiny amounts and the variability is so great from area to area and day to day. (Seriously, humidity in the room can halve or double the amount of water you need) That's OK, as long as you've been doing your damndest not to touch it more than you have to. If it seems like it's warming up, throw it back in the freezer for 60 seconds.

Your goal here is for the stuff to just barely hold itself in a cohesive mass. Once it becomes obvious that it is going to do so, knead it like bread dough to pick up the drier bits in the bottom of the bowl, until you're sure it's going to hold together. You should still see little flecks of butter in it, and it will seem like it wants to split and crack if you work with it too much. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for an hour. Less than that, it will be chewy; more than that, and you'll have to let it sit out at room temperature, or it'll be cold enough that it cracks and splits when you roll it out.

Roll that sucker out. Plenty of flour on top and underneath to keep it from sticking to the counter or the rolling pin. (If you don't have a rolling pin, I have made more pies than I want to recount with the assistance of a wine bottle) I cheat and roll it out on the plastic wrap it was wrapped in in the fridge; this saves me from having to peel it off the counter. It won't roll evenly, and you'll get little protruding edges; you'll be tempted to pull the extruding bulges off and stick them to the corresponding concavities, but that way lies mealy crust. You can usually fix the problem by rolling laterally rather than outward, to get the concavities minimized and the bulges flattened out into a vaguely circular form. Butter and flour your pie plate, which is hopefully glass or (preferably) ceramic. Drop that sucker in, adjusting it until it seems centered, and gently press down. Important note: don't stretch it with your hands. If one edge isn't tall enough to reach the top of the pan on one side, let it go, man--if you try to stretch it, it will spring back the minute you heat it, and will pull the rest of the crust in on itself. If it's egregious, you can use some of the excess that you trim elsewhere, and kind of glom it into the missing part to fill it out. If there's too much overhang on one side, trim it with a knife until you have about 1/2 inch of overhang. When you fold it over on itself, try to tuck the extra underneath, rolling downward with your thumbs, rather than piling it up on top.

If you don't need to prebake, you're done!

If you're pre-baking it, punch a bunch of little holes in it by poking with a fork and then gently twisting until you see the hole start to stretch. Put in lots and lots of punctures, especially around the edges where the sides meet the bottom of the pan. Also, you will most definitely need pie weights. I use little ceramic pellets, but in a pinch, dried beans will do. Loosely line the inside of the crust with aluminum foil, then dump in your weights. 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, then take out the weights by grabbing the edges of the aluminum foil. This will set the crust and keep it from collapsing in on itself. Reduce temperature to 375, cook 13-16 more minutes, until golden brown. It'll be darker underneath than it will on top, so until you know how your oven will behave, pull it out a minute or so before you think it's really brown.

posted by Mayor West at 11:26 AM on December 9, 2016 [41 favorites]

Looking at the bakery image, I wouldn't actually use cherry pie filling, unless you want it to be a much thicker layer than the bakery uses. Just the presence of the cherries themselves would be very lumpy; you'd have to chop them up a bit to prevent that. Then there's the issue that cherry pie filling isn't very intense flavor, and might not have the impact you expect. Are you super sure it's not cherry jam?

(irrelevant note - this is the recipe I was expecting you to be asking about when I just read the question title)
posted by aimedwander at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2016

I'm seeing some similar results by searching "iced bakewell traybake".
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:24 AM on December 10, 2016

If the BF's cooking-fu is weak, he could use a pre-made pie crust from the refrigerator or freezer section, plus a canned/bottled cherry product, plus a box cake mix, plus store-bought icing. For a regular pie plate, you would want about half an ordinary box cake mix, or possibly you can find a mix for a smaller size cake. I'm thinking that blind-baking the pie crust would be a good idea.

Mrs. SS likes cherries and I've bought a ton of different cherry products over the years. For my money Bonne Maman is right at the top for cherry flavor. Trader Joe's and the Shoprite store brand are both pretty good.

Personally, I like my icing to be non-pink.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:07 AM on December 10, 2016

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