February is National Cherry Month and somewhere in the range of February 20th through the 22nd is National Cherry Pie Day. I say somewhere in that range because I wasn’t able to find a source to this special day and there are varying statements as to which day it actually falls on. What I do know is that cherry pie is amazing, especially when you use homemade cherry pie filling from cherries you picked off the tree yourself! Of course, any cherry pie filling works great too, but the satisfaction that I feel when I eat anything using my pie filling is wonderful. After all, it was really the first thing I ever canned!
If you remember, I had a neighbor with a sour cherry tree in his front yard. He was kind enough to let me pick as many cherries as I wanted. I picked, rinsed, pitted, and canned as many as I could and I am still reaping the rewards of those efforts. So fun! I have a few jars left, and a few cherry recipes up my sleeve still.
Here’s a recap of the cherry pie filling recipes I’ve tested so far:
Cherry Cake with Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting
Cherry Pie Squares
Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Black Forest Brownie Bites
This recipe uses maraschino cherries instead:
Cherry Pecan Bread
I love those Hostess cherry pies you grab at the gas station or grocery store in a moment of weakness. I really wanted to make some myself, so I experimented using a basic homemade pie dough, my cherry pie filling, and a powdered sugar glaze. They were amazing and I can’t wait to make them again!
One last note: I used the “Good for almost everything pie dough” from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours. If you don’t have this book yet, you really should order a copy! Anyway, you can use whatever pie dough you like, but if you don’t have a recipe I have included Dorie’s below.
Cherry Hand Pies
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 sticks very cold or frozen butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1/3 cup very cold or frozen shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup ice water
cherry pie filling
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Put flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and shortening pieces and pulse several times just until it’s cut in to the flour mixture. Do not over process, you want a mixture that has some pieces the size of peas and some the size of barley. While pulsing the machine on and off, add 6 tablespoons of water gradually. Check the dough, it should stick together when pinched. Add little bits of water at a time if needed to get to this point. Big pieces of butter in the dough are fine.
Remove the dough from the food processor and onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll or pat dough into 5-6″ circles about 1/4″ thick. I made mine a little bit thicker than 1/4″. I also like a heftier crust on my hand pies, so I pinch up the sides a bit as you can see in the photo.
Layer the circles between sheets of parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour, or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Moisten the edges of the dough circle with water. Spoon cherry pie filling onto one side of the circle, using about 1/4 cup or so. You need enough room around the edges to seal the hand pie, so be careful not to use too much.
Fold the other half of the dough circle over the filling and press the half circle edges firmly together. Starting at the right side, turn the edge over to form a crimp. Repeat this process all along the edge. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.
Brush the pastry lightly with the beaten egg to help them brown. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Make a glaze from powdered sugar and a little milk and brush onto hand pies.
Let glaze set and enjoy!