Making hand pies is not something I’m unfamiliar with. I made some apple hand pies a while back and enjoyed them enough not to even share on the blog. Well, today, I’m sharing almost homemade cherry pies because we got a 20 pound shipment of cherries from The Northwest Cherry Growers, and we had to come up with fun ways to eat them. I mean, we could have just popped each and every one of those luscious berries into our mouth and consumed them that way, but how boring would that have been? Anyway, this is ONE of the recipes that I’ve made from the cherries, and one that had me searching for a brand new cherry pitter. I have an olive pitter attached to a garlic press, but the cherries were a bit too large to fit into the opening without popping out, so I invested.
For this recipe, I had a great idea. Put the kids to work. They were the cherry pitters of the house, and they had a bit more fun than I anticipated. With every bit of deep reddish purple juice that came from the berries, they attempted to trick me into believing that they were cut. It was quite a hilarious afternoon, but one full of laughter.
They each pit cherries in cycles of 20 cherries per child, and let me tell you, that seriousness about holding people to their cherry quota should always be left to be overseen by children. There was always a firm stop after a slow down at 16, 17, 18, 19….20! Kids man, they are going to make sure the rules are followed. Including the rules of working with the dough and the cherries, and how long we let the sugar pull the juice from the cherries. Recipes are biblical for some children, and trying to explain to them that recipes are a guideline results in blank stares and several slow blinks.
These don’t take long to bake up because you use puff pastry to create the pocket instead of making your own dough. I’m not one to deter anyone from making their own dough though, so you do what you want. I know that the kids were starting to salivate and I wanted to make sure that I was able to wake up without anyone standing over me the next morning, so puff pastry it was. Kids are needy for sure. I won’t even go as far as to say that Mr. Houseful was in line before the kids were. *taps self on back*
You can use fresh or frozen or even dried cherries for this recipe, but because we were gifted with 20 pounds of cherries, I’m sure you can guess what we used.
Here’s the recipe for your enjoyment.
- 2 1/2 cups chopped & pitted fresh or frozen sweet cherries thawed
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water
- 1 17- oz. package puff pastry thawed
1. Thaw puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes before making cherry mixture.
2. Preheat oven to 425
3. Mix cherry mixture - cherries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt, and extract in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
4. Unfold puff pastry and cut into equal rectangles and place on baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper
5. Spoon cherry mixture onto each rectangle and set aside.
6. Cut second pastry sheet to match the others, and top first rectangles.
7. Crimp the edges of each pie, and cut two vents into the tops of each.
8. Whisk egg and water, and brush over each pie generously.
9. Set pies into the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up filling
10. Remove pies from the freezer and bake for 30-35 minutes - until tops of pies are golden brown
11. Let cool and enjoy immediately. Leftover pies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.