Delicous! Sometimes called "husk cherries", I discovered ground cherries a few years ago when shopping for tomatillo seed in a seed catalog, the description said "pineapple and peach flavored". Interesting? These papery little husks hold a sweet "cherry" that tastes amazing eating raw, in a salad, in salsa (think a sweeter version of green tomatillo salsa), or my favorite, in a pie. Just as interesting to grow when ripe they fall to the ground, hence the name ground cherry.
Peaches are the perfect companion for this sweet little fruit. Though I really enjoy the ground cherries on their own as a pie, I find the texture of the peaches improve the pie and perfectly compliment the ground cherries.
Ground Cherry and Peach Pie
My Dad, who taught me how to make a pie crust, always says try to touch the dough as little as possible for a light flaky crust. If you are short on time or you are just not into making pie crust, you can use a frozen prepared pie crust, defrosted for this recipe.
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour3/4 cup lard* or crisco1 tsp salt7-8 TBS water
* Rendered lard can be purchased directly from your local farmers. PA Bowen Farmstead (at their on farm store or the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market) carries good quality lard. It can also be purchased from South Mountain Creamery. Ask around at your farmers market, once you switch to lard pie crusts you will have a hard time switching back to Crisco.
Combine flour and salt in to a large bowl. Chilling the bowl in the freezer is a good idea, it is easier to make pie crust with cold tools. Cut lard or Crisco into small cubes, using a pastry cutter or a fork work the lard into the flour until pea sized crumble forms. Working one TBS at a time add water until you are able to form the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in two and form a disc out of each dough ball. Cover a refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
For the Filling:
1 1/2 cups husked ground cherries
1 cup peeled and sliced peaches1/2 cup of sugar2 TBS water2 1/2 TBS flour1/2 tsp. cinnamona dash of nutmegfruit fresh or lemon juice to prevent the peaches from browning (optional)
Slice peaches and add fruit fresh or lemon juice as you go to prevent browning. Husk your ground cherries. Mix above ingredients and spoon into crust. Top with top crust and cut 6-12 vent holes in the top crust. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then turn oven to 300 and continue baking for 30 minutes, or until filling sets without burning crust.
Allow the pie to cool before slicing this helps the filling to set up. Serve with vanilla ice cream (I highly recommend Nice Farms Creamery ice cream available at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market on Sundays).
Another fun way to enjoy ground cherries is in a cocktail! Any flavor that calls for pineapple is a great place to add a ground cherry garnish. Check out this fun recipe (that also calls for a pullet egg!) fro Drinking with Chickens. Yes, that is a person I ABSOLUTELY follow on Instagram! https://www.drinkingwithchickens.com/blog/a-tiny-egg-cocktail
If you are looking for some other fun recipes for these tasty little treats, I've put together a Pinterest board with recipe suggestions. https://www.pinterest.com/fairytalefarmette/ground-cherries/