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Winter Wonder: Apple-Cherry Pie Thing

A nice pie brimming with fresh, juicy fruit may sound like a good idea, but the weather outside is cold again, and apples and cherries are only to be found at the grocery stores--not on the trees. Although the apples are fresh--sort of--the cherries are either frozen or canned. Also, making a pie from scratch veers toward labor-intensive, which isn't always an option. That's okay. I can make do. The solution is an Apple-Cherry Pie Thing. It's not a pie, nor a cake, nor a cobbler, exactly. But it's easy, quite good, and fast to put together. The "Thing" can bake while you eat dinner and emerge hot from the oven, ready to be cooled with scoops of vanilla (or other) ice cream or frozen yogurt. So, an Apple-Cherry Pie Thing is not a bad thing at all.

Apple-Cherry Pie Thing

Apple-Cherry Pie Thing -- Serves 6-8

1 15-16 ounce can of cherry pie filling

1 large apple, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 cup of canola oil

1/2 cup of plain, non-fat yogurt

1/4 cup of low-fat milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 teaspoon of butter extract

1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

1 1/4 cup of flour

1 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a large casserole dish or 9-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the cherry pie filling in the bottom of the dish and sprinkle the apples evenly over the pie filling. Sprinkle on the cinnamon evenly. In a mixing bowl, whisk together well the oil, yogurt, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter extract, and almond extract. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and add them to the wet mixture, whisking for a minute or two, just to combine everything well. Pour the batter over the cherry-apple mixture. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake the "Thing" for about 45 minutes until lightly browned on top. Serve the dessert warm, preferably with ice cream, but whipped topping will do nicely, too. Or just eat it plain. It's quite good that way.

Apple-Cherry Pie Thing

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