So who is watching the Handmaid’s Tale? I was way late to the party because honestly it just seemed too depressing. But about three weeks ago I gave it a shot and before I could say “Praise be” I fell straight down the dystopian rabbit hole. Now I’m all caught up on the happenings in Gilead and I am actually inspired. It’s of course a bone-chilling premise and the story lines can range from macabre to downright appalling, but damn if those women aren’t tough as nails.
What does this have to do with cherry hand pies? Well nothing, but sometimes after mainlining three or four episodes of deeply disturbing, streaming drama one needs a treat – a reminder that life can be full of joy. Today my joy is pie. Specifically these tiny, adorable pocket pies. They are buttery and flaky and bursting with sweet, juicy cherries – basically all that’s right in the world.
Now…anyone have any recommendations on what to watch while I patiently await season 3?
Cherry Hand Pies
Besides being adorable these are really really ridiculously good-tasting (anyone?). Like any baked good there is a slight time commitment involved, but as far as skill level goes they’re actually quite easy. So get to pie-ing!
- Prep Time: 30 Minutes (plus chilling time)
- Cook Time: 45 Minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 9 hand pies
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the pie dough:
1 ¾ C flour
½ tsp salt
1 T granulated sugar
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
7 T ice water
For the filling:
2 C cherries, pitted
2 T granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
2 T turbinado or raw sugar
For the pie dough:
In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, and sugar.
Add chilled butter and toss to coat in flour.
Pick up chunks of butter and rub them between your thumbs and fingertips to break the butter into smaller pieces and distribute them into the flour. Continue until the smallest chunks of butter are about the size of peas. You will also have some pretty large chunks too.
Add six tablespoons of water and mix with your hands until you have a rough dough. I like to do this in the bowl, squeezing the dough together with my hand. It will mostly come together into a ball, but there will still be a few dry bits. Sometimes if it’s very dry I add the last of the water, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the day, humidity, patience, etc.
Pat your dough ball into a round(ish) disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to a day – longer than that and I’d suggest chucking it in the freezer.
For the filling:
Combine cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch into 2 tsp of water and add to the cherries. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. The filling can be done 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge.
To assemble and bake:
Preheat your oven to 400° F.
Remove your dough from the fridge and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a ⅛ inch thickness. I do this by rolling from the center out, giving the dough a quarter turn and flipping often during the process. Dust with flour as needed if anything is sticking. If you have some cracking at the edges that’s normal – everything is OK.
Cut as many 3-4 inch circles (using a biscuit cutter or a small bowl or a comically large drinking glass) as you can. Place them on a sheet tray and chill while you re-roll the dough scraps. I eked out 18 circles for a total of 9 hand-pies but don’t stress if you have more or less.
Retrieve your dough circles from the fridge and make your pies by placing a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of one piece of dough and topping with another dough circle. Use a fork to crimp the edges, making sure they really adhere. (Also if you wanted to chuck a couple of chocolate chips or a tiny teaspoon of cream cheese in there before you close it up – not mad).
Place your hand-pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment*. Whisk egg with one tablespoon of water and lightly paint the tops of the pies with the egg wash (you won’t even come close to using it all – don’t worry it’s just an egg, you can buy more). Use a sharp knife to cut some vents in the top and sprinkle with turbinado (or regular) sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Let cool for at least 15 minutes before digging in.
*If you want hand-pies for a date TBD then stop after you’ve assembled all the pies and put the whole sheet tray in the freezer. Wait until the pies are frozen solid and transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. They will keep for 3 months. Bake them straight from the freezer – they’ll take about 5 minutes longer this way.
Keywords: fancy pop tarts, cherry hand pies, portable desserts, summer dessert