Cherry Hand Pies are simpler than they look with fresh or frozen cherries and puff pastry. An easy dessert or breakfast treat that’s hard to resist, even better with a drizzle of icing.
My latest gadget is a cherry pitter so I couldn’t wait to use it to make cherry hand pies. I don’t have a lot of recipes that call for cherries, so I never felt the need to purchase one until now. I love fresh cherries, but they don’t grow that well around here. This time of year, what we find at the grocery are pretty good, so I tried making little pies using my new gadget.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have a cherry pitter you can use a chop stick and an empty wine bottle. Simple put the cherry on top of the bottle and use the chop stick to push the pit into the bottle.
This easy hand pie recipe is not overly sweet which makes it great for breakfast or brunch. Since the filling is sweetened mostly from the cherries, it’s not overkill to add a little icing to the top. The combination of fresh and dried cherries create a fabulous filling.
Why you’ll want to make these
- The filling is to-die-for with the dried and fresh cherries
- It’s not too sweet
- The crust is so flaky
- You can make them ahead of time and bake right before serving
- They’re great for breakfast or dessert
Which brand of Puff Pastry should you use
I used Dufour puff pastry which is my favorite because it uses butter, Trader Joes’ brand also uses butter but it’s seasonal and not quite as buttery as Dufour. If using Dufour you will have a 14 inch square pastry that you’ll need to roll it out. If using Trader Joes’, the package contains two thinner rolls of pastry, you just need one and you won’t need to roll it out.
Most hand pies use a pie crust like my homemade apple hand pies and raspberry hand pies. And while a buttery flaky pie crust is awesome, sometimes I want to go the easy route and just pull out the puff pastry from the freezer.
What you’ll need
- Cherries – you will use both fresh and dried, you can use frozen in place of the fresh.
- Puff pastry – Dufour is my favorite, the butter makes it so flaky.
- Egg white – this will help seal the edges of the pastry so that the filling doesn’t ooze out.
- Pantry staples – sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon juice.
How do you make this cherry hand pie recipe
Step 1: Start by cooking the fresh cherries a little with some dried cherries and add just a little sugar and some cornstarch to thicken it a bit. You’ll bring it to a boil and that’s it for a fabulous sweet cherry filling.
For a delicious crust you have two choices, make a pie crust like I did with Apple Hand Pies and Raspberry Hand Pies or if you want a light and airy buttery crush, go with puff pastry. The pastry is so light and fluffy, they are like a fruit filled croissant.
Step 2: Roll out the puff pastry, cut it into rectangles, add a dollop of the cherry filling and fold the pastry over. Crimp the edges, cut a slit in the center and brush with an egg wash to give them a golden color. Last but not least, sprinkle with Demerara sugar which is a partially refined sugar with larger crystals. It’s great for topping desserts or pastries. You can also use Turbinado sugar.
Step 3: Bake and let cool slightly before adding a powdered sugar glaze.
BAKING TIP: To help seal the pies, brush an egg white mixture along the borders of the pastry.
This is a great simple dessert that comes together in no time and tastes great warm with ice cream, or with a simple glaze for breakfast or brunch. You probably won’t have leftovers, but if you do, re-heat them in the oven for a few minutes.
I made these over the holidays when the girls were home and they loved them and ask for them every time they come home now.
FAQ and tips
Yes, this recipe works just as well with frozen or fresh. Cherries are one of those fruits that retain their shape and flavor when frozen, you can hardly tell the difference.
The closest to homemade is Dufour because it uses butter, Trader Joe’s also uses butter but is not always available. Pepperidge Farm does not use butter at all but still makes a good hand pie and is great if you are cooking vegan.
You can leave them at room temperature for a couple of days but then store in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them. Let them come to room temperature and warm in an oven at 350º for about 5-10 minutes. In a pinch you can microwave but they can loose the flaky texture.
Do you love CHERRIES, here are some other recipes you might like
- Looking for something sweet, try a cherry streusel bar with frozen cherries and cherry preserves
- Chocolate cherry crinkle cookies are not only delicious but so pretty
- How about some cherry muffins with a cheesecake filling
- Sweeten up dinner with cherry covered pork tenderloin
Fruity desserts you just have to try
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adapted from bon appetit
Cherry Hand Pies
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh cherries stemmed and pitted and cut in half
- ⅔ cups dried cheeries
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 14 ounce package Dufour puff pastry
- egg white
- coarse sugar
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl stir together 1 ½ tablespoons cold water and cornstarch. In a saucepan, combine fresh and dried cherries with sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and bring to boil. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally.
- Roll out pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 rectangles. In a small bowl, whisk egg white with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Place each rectangle on a floured surface and brush edges with the egg white mixture. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of cherry mixture onto one side and fold the dough over the filling. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Cut a couple of slits in the top and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375º. Bake until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool.
- Optional Icing: Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1-3 tablespoons of milk or cream. Stir until it is smooth and the consistency you want.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can use 16 ounces of frozen cherries instead of fresh
- Try Dufour puff pastry or the Trader Joe’s brand
- Roll out the pastry before cutting it into rectangles
- Serve these at room temperature or refrigerate and heat up in the oven
- If you don’t have a cherry pitter, place the cherry on top of an empty wine bottle and use a chop stick to push the pit into the bottle