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Sisterhood’s Cherry Squares
A kichel dough or batter is an all-purpose egg-and-oil batter that is one of the foundations for Jewish baking. It’s easy, pareve and quite flexible. Here with lots of fruit filling it’s a delicious classic from many sisterhood cookbooks on my shelves. This has been a popular recipe in cooking classes I’ve taught with my friend Suzin Glickman Bobeck to the post-confirmation classes at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County where the teen chefs love to mix many different flavors of pie filling to make the recipe uniquely their own. This recipe adapted from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman.
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 19-ounce can cherry pie filling (or other fruit pie filling)
- optional: chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
In a bowl, blend the sugar with the oil, then add the orange juice, eggs and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder with a fork or whisk until blended. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, half at a time, to make a smooth, thick batter.
Spread half the batter in the pan, then carefully spread the fruit filling on top, taking care not to mix it with the batter. Cover the fruit filling with spoonfuls of the remaining batter and gently spread the batter to cover the fruit. Sprinkle on chopped walnuts if using for extra crunch and flavor.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool well in the pan, then cut into squares and serve alone or with whipped topping. Note: You can substitute 1 teaspoon almond extract for 1 of the vanilla for a different taste, and then top with chopped blanched almonds instead of walnuts.