Cherry Pizza

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Chef Marie Nightingale, Saltscapes

Pastry for double-crusted 9-inch (23 cm) pie
3 cups (750 mL) frozen pitted sour red cherries, thawed
8 ounce (250 g) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar, 1st amount
2 eggs
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped California walnuts
1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla
1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar, 2nd amount
2 tablespoons (30 mL) cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) juice from cherries
1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) almond extract


On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to a 14-inch (35 cm) circle, one-eighth inch (3 mm) thick. Place in a 12-inch (30 cm) pizza pan, turning up and fluting edges. Prick crust all over with a fork and bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes.
Drain cherries, reserving juice.

Blend cream cheese with first amount of sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Pour mixture into partially baked crust and return to oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is set.

Meanwhile, combine 2nd amount of sugar with cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Add cherries and juice. Cook, stirring, over low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and almond extract. Spread over cheese layer in pan. Cut in wedges to serve. Top with a daub of whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
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