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!
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.
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.
For the filling:
300g cherries, pitted – I used two punnets
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
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.
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.
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!
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.