Cherry Hand Pies

It’s coming to the end of cherry season here and I’ve been trying to make a cherry pie for a while now, but every time I buy any cherries, they are eaten!

Cherries

Thankfully, I managed to make these little pies before anyone scoffed them!

These cherries are sweetheart cherries and are really dark, sweet and luscious to eat right away, but also great for making into pies, jams and tarts.  They don’t need too much sugar and make the perfect filling for a hand pie.

Cherry handpie

The pies are really quick and easy to make, the worst thing is taking the stones out.  It’s a really messy job.  You can either cut the cherries in half and remove the stones that way, or I use a cherry stoner.  I’m not sure either way is any less messy than the other, but the little tool is definitely quicker.

When cherries are out of season, frozen cherries work well too and they are already pitted!

In these pies, I have cooked the filling first as I wanted to lock in all the juice that can run out of a little pie, you just need to let it cool before adding to the pastry.

Cherry handpies baked

Ingredients:
For the filling:
300g cherries, pitted – I used two punnets
125g sugar
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup of water
2tbs corn starch or thickener – I used King Arthur Clear Gel
1/4 tsp almond extract
Pinch of salt

For the crust:
250g plain/all purpose flour
100g icing/confectioner’s sugar
150g cold butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
2 egg yolks
1tsp vanilla extract
1-3tbs iced water
1 egg and a little milk to make an egg wash

Method:
To make the crust, place the flour, sugar, butter and vanilla into a food processor and pulse until you have the texture of rough breadcrumbs.  You can also do this by hand, using a pastry cutter.

Add the yolks and pulse, before adding the iced water one tablespoon at a time, you are looking for the dough to just come together.

Turn the dough out, form into a disc and wrap in plastic before refrigerating until you are ready to roll out.

Cherry hand pie rack

To make the filling, mix the sugar and thickener together and place the pitted cherries into a saucepan, along with the other ingredients.  If you don’t like almond extract, either replace with vanilla, or leave it out.

Bring up to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes – until the mixture has thickened and reduced, then leave to cool completely.

Roll out the dough and cut out enough shapes for the bases and lids.  I’ve used a circle cutter, but the bottom of a glass would do the job too.

Spoon a little of the filling into the middle of each circle and brush a little egg wash onto the edges.  Cover with the lid and press around the edges with a fork to seal each pie.  Dip the fork into some flour if it starts to stick.

Cherry Hand Pies cooling

Place the pies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a non stick liner.  I’ve used a cute little cherry cutter to top my pies too.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F

Brush each pie with a little of the egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown and make sure no one bites into one straight from the oven as they will be insanely hot!

Cherry handpies

These are lovely warm with ice cream, or the perfect portable pie to take on a picnic.  They also make a really nice after-school treat.

Cherry hand pie tin

Apple Hand Pies

The welcome arrival of September (and my very favourite season) also means the arrival of apple season.  We have a tree full of apples to use in the garden and one of my family’s favourite things is apple pie.

Apple Tree.jpg

These are little hand pies and they are just the thing to have on hand for hungry children.  They are portable too, so great to take with you on a trip to the park or to work.

Apples are available all year round, but it’s really worth looking out for the new seasonal arrivals that have been grown locally, to enjoy apple season to the full.

Caramel apple hand pies2

Crust:
375g plain/all-purpose flour
165g butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
2tbs sugar
1tsp salt
Iced water
1 egg and a little milk to make a wash

Filling:
2 crisp dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
Juice from half a lemon
3tbs sugar
2tsp cornflour
1tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2tsp salt
10 soft caramels (like Werther’s) cut into tiny pieces (optional)

Caramel apple hand pies4

Method:
Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor, fitted with the steel blade and pulse until crumbly, with pieces of butter still visible.

Then add one tablespoon of the iced water at a time, pulsing until the dough just comes together – around 4-5 should be enough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, cut in half and pat each half into a disc.  Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Caramel apple hand pies5

For the filling, place the apples into a large bowl and toss them with the juice from the lemon so they don’t turn brown. Then add the sugar, salt, spices and cornflour and turn to coat.

Leaving one batch of dough in the fridge, roll out the first batch evenly on a lightly floured board and cut out circles for the bases (using a cutter measuring approximately 7.5cm/3 inches).  Place them onto a lined baking sheet, re-rolling until most of the dough is used up.  Refrigerate any scraps.

Then place a small, heaping amount of the apple mixture into the centre of each one and top with a few caramel pieces if using.  Take care to leave a gap around the edge.

Caramel apple hand pies

Roll out the rest of the dough and cut out the same number of circles, but use a slightly larger cutter.  Use up the scraps of the first batch if needed.

Brush the pastry bases around the apples with the egg wash and place the remaining pastry circles over the filling.  Crimp and seal the edges together using a fork, dipped in flour to stop it sticking.

When they all have their lids, it is important to chill the pies before baking.  Leave them in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.  This helps stop the pastry shrinking and bursting open in the oven.  They can also be frozen at this point too.

Caramel apple hand pies1

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F

When you are ready to bake, brush the tops with the egg wash and cut little vents in the lids to allow steam to escape.  You can also sprinkle with a little extra sugar too.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until the pies are golden and cooked through.

Caramel apple hand pies6

These are the perfect after school treat, but a personal pie is good at any time and these can be taken on a picnic, or placed into a lunchbox too.

Caramel apple hand pies3

Sage Derby and Onion Buttermilk Scones

Using buttermilk in scones results in a really moist, tender and flaky texture that makes these a really delicious treat.  So often, scones can be dry and crumby – especially ones that you buy and even with butter, they really aren’t very good. Home made ones are always better and they are so easy to make.

Sage Derby Scones

These are filled with sweet caramelised onions, cubes of Sage Derby cheese and topped with a little Gruyere cheese and a crispy sage leaf.

Sage Derby Scones2

I decided to leave the cheese in cubes, rather than grate it as I wanted there to be little pockets of the Sage Derby inside the individual scones.

Ingredients:
2-3 onions, finely chopped
knob of butter and a splash of olive oil for frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g Self-raising flour
70g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
100ml buttermilk, plus extra for brushing the scones
1 (heaped) tsp of English mustard
100g Sage Derby cheese, I used Fowlers – cut into little dice
A little gruyere or cheddar to sprinkle on top of the scones – around 50g
Six sage leaves

Sage Derby Scones1

Method:
Start by cooking the onions.  Heat a small knob of butter and a splash of oil in a non-stick pan and gently cook the onions with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook them low and slow until the have reduced, become sticky and caramelised.  Set aside on some kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and leave to cool completely.

Sage Derby Scones4

Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick liner

Sage Derby Scones3

Rub the butter into the flour, either by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  The mixture should look like rough breadcrumbs.

Sage Derby Scones7

Mix the mustard in with the buttermilk and then add to the egg.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly, to just combine.  Add the onions and mix again, just so they are incorporated and then stir through the cheese cubes.

Sprinkle a little flour on the parchment or baking liner.  Bring the dough together and place directly onto the liner. Pat the dough out into a disc that is around 1.5 inches/3.5cm thick.

Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into six wedges and move them away from each other to give them room to expand a little.

Sage Derby Scones5

Brush the tops with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheese.

Rub the sage leaves with a tiny amount of olive oil and press onto the top of each scone.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until they have become golden, well risen and sound hollow if you turn them over and give them a little tap.

Sage Derby Scones6

Best enjoyed warm with real butter and I like to serve them with chutney.  This one was an apple, date and stout one which worked very well.  Perfect for afternoon tea or an after school treat.