An old-fashioned cherry hand pie is the perfect summertime dessert. Filled with the flavors of the season, its flaky crust paired with the sweet, ripe cherries makes these hand pies a must enjoy.
Not only are cherry hand pies mouth-watering, but they are a beauty to behold. Bonus, they pack and travel easily. Take them to a picnic, barbecue on the lake, or a cookout at a friend’s house. Much easier to transport than a huge pie, and the individual-sized makes them easy to hand out.
And I mean, look at that crust. Make them just for that. I have a tip for how to get the crust extra flaky below.
Even though they look borderline extravagant, hand pies are easy to make. The crust is just a few ingredients, and fresh cherries plus a few extras make up the perfect filling. You could use frozen cherries or canned filling and they would still be yummy. But fresh cherries, like the ones I used from The Northwest Cherry Growers, take them to the next level.
Cherry hand pie, or calzone?
My brother and I had this debate. He said these weren’t hand pies but rather calzones. I said pshaw, no way! He finally found an article that said sweet fillings could also be considered a calzone, but I beg to differ. This is a hand pie, and it’s amazing.
my tip on How to get that perfectly flaky crust
Ready for this? You cut up a frozen bar of butter. That’s right, put it in the freezer overnight, then the next day when you’re about to make the crust, take the butter and place on a cutting board. Carefully make thin slices into the butter and it should break into pieces each time you cut. Cut the larger chunks again to make them no bigger than a dime, and throw into your crust. There will be tons of butter showing through the dough when finished, and that means it’s going to be perfect!
Ready to make these babies? I bet you already have everything in your house to whip these together!
Simple, flaky classic pie dough
- 1/2 cup frozen butter
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup ice water
- Mix butter, flour, and salt together with a fork or pastry blender. Or, if you're like me and lazy, use a Kitchen-aid! Don't overmix. Stir until just blended. Roll into ball and refrigerate for 4 hours.Roll gently onto a floured surface and taking a 6" plate, cut around it, making the circle for the hand pie filling. There should be enough dough for 6 circles. Once filling is inside, seal with a floured fork, paint with egg white, apply topping, and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
After you’ve had the pie dough chilling for a few hours, it’s time to make the filling! If you’ve already canned this cherry pie filling, feel free to use it! If you have fresh cherries though, use the following recipe.
Cherry pie filling
Cherry filling for hand pies
- 6 cups fresh pitted cherries
- 3 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 Tbs corn starch
- 1 tsp almond extract (if desired)
- Place pitted cherries in large saucepan on low heat. Let them reduce down, stirring frequently. Add lemon juice and sugar. Turn onto med-high heat, stirring frequently. At this point, take a masher and mash the cherries. It's easier to make these smaller hand pies when the cherries are in smaller pieces.After mashing cherries, remove 1/2 cup of cherry juice into a large coffee cup. Add the corn starch into the cup of juice. Stir until all clumps are removed, then slowly add back into saucepan of cherries. Stiring to incorporate. Let thicken, then remove from heat and add almond extrace. Time to make hand pies, or refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze. There will be filling left over if making hand pies. Use to top ice cream, eat straight of of the container, or freeze to use later. See pie dough instructions for how to assemble the pies.
You can’t make this without the streusel topping. It’s a must to get these pies to level epic.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter, room temp
- In medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender or fork. Blend until mixuture is coarse. You don't want it to become dough. Spread over tops of hand pies before placing in oven.
These might take a bit of time with the cooking down of the cherries and refrigerating the dough, but I promise they are worth it. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days and pop in the microwave or oven to warm just a tad before serving. I prefer re-heating in the oven, 350 for 10 minutes. The microwave softens the dough, making it more chewy than crisp.
Thank you to the Northwest Cherry Growers for providing me with ten pounds of cherries so I could share two amazing recipes with you. Didn’t see the first? Check it out here: Traditional Cherry Pie Filling using water bath canning.
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