How to make a cherry pie without an oven… in Japan #Food#Recipes#Asia#dessert#fruits#Japan July 25 | Guest post by Carolyn Recently I got it in my head that it would be pretty dang neat if I could make a cherry pie and give it to a friend as a birthday present. However, there was one slight problem with this grand idea: my apartment, like many Japanese apartments, doesn't have an oven. My kitchen consists of a sink and two burners. That's it. I don't even have a counter. So, how does a girl make a cherry pie when she doesn't have an oven? After scouring allrecipes.com (which I have used on several occasions when I wanted to cook something and didn't have the recipe on hand), I finally found a cherry pie recipe that didn't require an oven. Instead, you cook the filling over the stove and pour it into the pie crust. Recipe for vanilla wafer crust can be found here Recipe for the cherry pie can be found here I did run into another snag as I was going over the ingredients needed for the recipe. Let's see if you can spot the problem. Here are the necessary ingredients: 1 (9 inch) prepared vanilla wafer crust 1 (.25 ounce/7g) package unflavored gelatin 2 tablespoons (30ml) cold water 4 cups (580g) pitted cherries 1 cup (200g) white sugar 2 tablespoons (15g) cornstarch 4 teaspoons (20ml) lemon juice 3 drops red food coloring Did you spot where my snag was? If you didn't, I'll give you a hint: it starts with a "p" and ends with "-repared vanilla wafer crust." My fix: buy small packages of different brands of cookies and determine which one had the most similar consistency and taste of vanilla wafers. It was much more enjoyable, especially since I got to eat all of the cookies that wouldn't have worked out for the crust! The Sweetest Vegan's Memorial Day vegan sweets: red, white, and blue fruit cups Tasha from The Sweetest Vegan has a little patriotic dessert for your Memorial Day nomming -- but unlike the usual holiday fare, it's vegan, raw,... [more] First came making the crust. The ingredients I needed were: 1 1/2 cups (270g) vanilla wafer crumbs 1/3 cup (75g) butter The only directions the recipe gave were as follows: "Combine wafer crumbs and butter or margarine together thoroughly. Press into 9 inch pie plate. Chill until set." My first order of business was to create my cookie crumbs. I didn't want a crumb explosion in my kitchen, so I sealed a few cookies in a Ziploc bag at a time and then took a rolling pin to the bag. The cookies crumbled extremely well, and it was oddly relaxing to roll them into oblivion. Overall I used 25 cookies, which gave me two cups of crumbs. The butter I purchased came in individually wrapped pieces, because the sticks of butter were all sold out when I went grocery shopping. This worked out pretty well, because I was able to better control the ratio of butter to cookie crumbs. I left them out at room temperature so they softened a bit and then kneaded the pieces one at a time into the cookie crumbs. I ended up using less butter than what the recipe called for, which probably worked in my favor since the crust was getting pretty buttery by the end of the process. Thank goodness for the extra half cup of cookie crumbs! Pressing the crust into the plate didn't take much, though it took me a little while to make sure that I wasn't making the bottom too thin. I stuck the finished crust in the fridge so it would set, and then began on my filling. Step 1: In a small bowl, soften gelatin in cold water. Set aside. Step 2: My fingers were stained for two days afterward. Pit all of the cherries. It didn't take too much effort to slice them around the pit and twist the halves so they'd come apart, but it definitely took a bit of time. As I was slicing the cherries, I put the first two cups straight into my saucepan and set the rest aside in a bowl. Step 3: In a medium saucepan, mash half the cherries with the sugar. Stir in cornstarch, lemon juice, and food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick and transparent. Remove from heat. Add gelatin, and stir briskly. Step 4: Slice remaining cherries into the crust, and pour gelatin mixture over cherries. Chill at least four hours before serving. I decided to do this step as the filling was cooking in order to save on time. I didn't want all of the remaining cherries to be the same size, so as the filling in the saucepan was cooking I cut some into quarters, others into eighths, and left some as halves. Once that was finished, all I could do was wait until the other half of the filling was cooking. Step 5: Finally, the filling never did get transparent, but once it reached a thick consistency and seemed to stay that way I took the filling off the heat and stirred in the gelatin as directed. I broke the softened gelatin into chunks and quickly dropped them on the filling before stirring it in. I wanted to make sure that the gelatin was distributed evenly. I waited about a minute before pouring the cooked filling over the sliced cherries. Then I stepped back and admired my finished product. I let the pie cool a little while before covering it and putting it in the fridge. My one remaining worry was how it would taste, because I never was able to sample the filling and make sure that tasted okay for fear of burning myself. My worries were unfounded, because it tasted wonderful. And there you have it! My secret adventure, which was making a no-bake cherry pie. I have to say that it was pretty successful overall. I look forward to making it again! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Carolyn Carolyn, originally from Wisconsin, hopped state lines into Minnesota after high school to attend Carleton College. She graduated in 2011 with a BA in Asian Studies, with a focus in Sociology and Anthropology. She now lives and works in Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan teaching English, at six elementary schools. Her favorite food is peanut butter, so she will always be grateful to see that in care packages! You can follow her adventures through her blog. http://www.godzillahotdish.wordpress.com PREVIOUS Composting with a PVC worm tube NEXT Make a no-drip DIY watering can from a milk jug Toggle comments [ 29 ] I applaud your awesomecherrysauce! 2 agree Reply Thank you! I have to be honest and say that it was all the recipe I found, and I was only following that. The links are in my post. 0 agree Reply You did great! I remember when I lived in Japan making do for lots of things I cooked. No fish oven in your apt? That thing saved me many times. 2 agree Reply What did you use your fish oven for? I have one in my apartment that I have never used because I don't know what to do with it. 0 agree Reply I don't have a fish oven, unfortunately. My apartment doesn't have enough room for one at the moment. Perhaps if I move to a bigger apartment! 0 agree Reply I would kill to live in Japan, but I would need an oven! I bake whenever I get the chance! So kudos to your ingenuity and brains! I am so trying this… 0 agree Reply I can't speak that authoritatively for Japan, but in much of Asia where ovens aren't standard in kitchens, stand-alone electric or convection ovens are popular. We have one for our apartment in Taiwan (I do plan to do a home tour at some point, but have been busy ever since we moved in). It would cost more in Japan than Taiwan, but if you lived there and desperately needed an oven, you could get one. 1 agrees Reply Most newer microwaves in Japan come with an oven function. Works just like the oven you're used to just smaller. I could bake a square sized glass dish or six muffins at a time in mine. And I go creative with the rack space to make a dozen cookies at once. Of course, you can always do what I did and become friends with all the restaurant owners in your town so you can just bum their commercial kitchen ovens lol. We cooked many a Thanksgiving feast in the tiny kitchen of a bar we frequented thanks to their oven. I'd also do food culture lessons with my students at school where we took advantage of the bajillion full-sized ovens the home ec department had at their disposal. 0 agree Reply You read my mind! There's a cafe I go to a lot and I had mentioned that I recently had to make a pie without an oven, and the owners turned to me in shock and asked, "Well, why didn't you ask us? We could have helped!" 0 agree Reply Want this pie in my face! Kudos to your ingenuity! 1 agrees Reply Thank you! I was only following what the recipe said, so I can't take too much credit. 0 agree Reply Sounds delicious! I have a question: is there a reason for the corn starch AND gelatin? When eating leftover pie from the fridge, the insides are pretty solid just from the flour. 1 agrees Reply I don't have a complete answer for that, since I was only following what my recipe told me. It worked out really well having a solid pie in the end, because we topped it with almond custard and it made for a perfect picture. I wish I had my camera then! 0 agree Reply My friend has the same issue in his apartment in France, except he doesn't even have burners, just a hot plate. Will totally have to show him this, haha. 1 agrees Reply What a brilliant idea! I bet this would be easy to adapt for a gluten free pie too, just experimenting with GF biscuits/cookies for the base. 1 agrees Reply Actually, using the Annie's brand gluten free bunny cookies works perfectly for cookie crusts. They have vanilla, but I LOVE the snickerdoodle ones in place of graham crumbs. 0 agree Reply So this guestpost is by one of my dearest friends in the world & I am ridiculously giddy that she's all famous-like on Offbeat Home. That's all. XD 0 agree Reply I can only imagine how much that pie must have cost you with all those cherries haha. I rarely bought cherries in Japan because they were just so prohibitively expensive! 0 agree Reply Oh believe me, my wallet is still hurting from all the cherries I bought! Luckily I got them when they were in season so they were a bit cheaper than usual. 0 agree Reply Love this!! 0 agree Reply Thank you very much! 0 agree Reply Awesome idea and usage! What a lovely pie! The problem with getting a stand alone oven or microwave with over capability in Japan is it can be prohibitively expensive, as almost everything related to baking seems to be out here. If you live in a big city and have a nice salary, they are obtainable. Also, if you know you're going to be here for a while and can handle putting that kind of investment into a thing. In the little mountain town where I lived and worked for 2 years, this was not an option. Instead I developed a recipe for rice-cooker meatloaf. Friends I've met since then in larger cities have mostly used similar recipes that don't require ovens so much as boiled filling. 0 agree Reply They're not that expensive. I bought one for about 15,000 yen, which at the time was around $150. And I was living in a small prefecture with not much around it. The trick is shopping the sales and "last year's models" just like anywhere else 1 agrees Reply Carolyn, you are awesome. Did you take Big Bird along to Japan? 0 agree Reply Unfortunately, I wasn't able to! 0 agree Reply I am going to be living in a teeny studio with only a sink and a two-burner stove and I am SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS. also I love cherry pie. always. 0 agree Reply I'm so glad I could help out! I highly recommend eating this pie with almond custard. It's amazing! 0 agree Reply That's a good looking pie. Here's a tip for cherry pitting: put the cherry on a beer bottle, push a chopstick through the cherry. The pit falls in the bottle, the cherry stays mostly intact, and your hands get to stay a little less stained 2 agree Reply That is a fantastic idea. Thank you SO much! I look forward to trying it out when I attempt making this pie again. 0 agree Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.