Petite cherry hand pies are portable and patriotic
Crimped with a fork, baked golden brown and weeping some of their dark juicy filling, mini pies are perfectly imperfect. These tiny, cherry hand pies are portable and patriotic — a foolproof way to celebrate Fourth of July. Considerably less messy to serve than their pie tin counterparts, petite cherry pies are the ideal companion for another famous American food, the hot dog. And they’re easy as pie.
Prep tip: Making cherry pie doesn’t have to be the pits. To ensure your kitchen doesn’t look like a crime scene, invest in a handheld cherry pitter. Each quick, satisfying pop will make you smile and congratulate yourself on your shrewd purchase. Sans pitter? A sharp paring knife and an hour to kill will net you the same results.
Petite Cherry Hand Pies
Makes about 16 mini pies
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
2/3 cup dried cherries or mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons kirsch, cherry brandy
Chilled pie dough, store-bought or homemade
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar
Whisk together the cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl. The mixture should be a pourable slurry with the cornstarch completely dissolved. Combine fresh cherries and next 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherries release their juices. Add cornstarch mixture and stir to incorporate. Bring mixture to a boil, constantly stirring. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Remove pie dough from refrigerator and let stand 3 to 5 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness in the shape of a rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 16 rectangles. Reroll any remaining scraps.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl for egg wash. Working with 1 rectangle at a time, place on a work surface and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 2 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one half, avoiding the edges. Fold dough over filling so that all ends meet, forming a small packet. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in top of pie to vent. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling. Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Chill mini pies for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake pies until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.
Butter Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold sweet cream butter
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour and salt in bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork just until flour is moistened. Ingredients also can be combined using a food processor fitted with the dough blade.
Divide dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Flatten each ball into a disc. Wrap dough in plastic food wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.