A Merry Cherry Plum Berry Tart from a Hutchinson woman won the grand prize in the 2008 Pillsbury Pie Crusts State Fair National Championship.

Denise Pounds was inspired to create the prize-winning pie by her fondness for fruit.

“I tried to use as many fruits as I could in this pie, making sure they combined well in taste and flavor,” Pounds said from her Hutchinson home.


A Merry Cherry Plum Berry Tart from a Hutchinson woman won the grand prize in the 2008 Pillsbury Pie Crusts State Fair National Championship.

Denise Pounds was inspired to create the prize-winning pie by her fondness for fruit.

“I tried to use as many fruits as I could in this pie, making sure they combined well in taste and flavor,” Pounds said from her Hutchinson home.

The tart features colorful mixed berries, cherries and plums.

Pounds said her taste testers were friends and family.

“They are a great resource for constructive criticism,” she said.

When they approved, Pounds knew she was on the right track. After her trial run, she made the pie a couple more times and tweaked the recipe before entering it at the Kansas State Fair.

“I have worked pretty hard to win this contest for several years,” Pounds said in a news release. “There are some baking icons at our fair. When you beat them, you’ve done a great job. This was my year.”

The Pillsbury Pie Crusts Championship is one of the longest-running sponsored contests at the Kansas State Fair. The tart won out of 19 pies from local residents, earning Pounds $200 and the blue ribbon.

At the national level, Pounds’ pie was selected from 27 state and county fairs first-place winning recipes. For grand-prize honors, she receives $1,000.

“Many pies and tarts are filled with cherries, blueberries and cranberries, but this pie has plums and a hint of amaretto,” said Julie Hinderks, senior test kitchen expert for Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts. “Judges liked the streusel topping made with the second pie crust because it added a unique flavor and texture to the tart. The amaretto sauce was a nice touch that really completed the recipe.”

Merry Cherry

Plum Berry Tart

Crust and topping:

1 box (15-ounce) Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts

1/4 cup chopped almonds

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Filling:

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

3/4 cup amaretto

1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries

2 plums, cut into pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

White amaretto truffle sauce:

2 ounces white vanilla baking chips (1/3 cup)

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons amaretto

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Let 1 pie crust stand at room temperature 15 minutes to soften. Unroll crust into 9-inch tart pan. Lightly press crust into fluted edge of pan. Run rolling pin across top of pan to cut off excess crust. Prick side and bottom of crust with fork. Bake 10 minutes.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat dried cranberries, dried cherries and 3/4 cup amaretto over medium heat 5 minutes. Add blueberries and plums. Cook 15 minutes longer. Stir in cornstarch. Pour into partially baked crust.

Remove remaining pie crust from refrigerator. Chop cold crust into small pieces, adding almonds and sugar while chopping, to make crumbly topping, Sprinkle over filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.

Place baking chips in medium bowl; set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, heat cream over low heat. As soon as bubbles form around edge of pan, remove from heat; pour warm cream over baking chips in bowl. Stir until chips are melted and completely smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons amaretto. Refrigerate 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir sauce well before serving. Drizzle each serving with about 2 tablespoons amaretto sauce.

Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie and sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving equals 500 calories and 22 grams fat.