Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Cherry Pies

The weather here in Southern California has been gorgeous and I can't wait for spring and the continuous warm weather! Lately I've been craving warmer weather desserts including my all time favorite... PIE! I have a special connection with pie, probably because it was one of the first desserts I successfully made from scratch as a teenager. I didn't even know at the time that pie crust was something that required skill and practice, but I just followed the recipe and lucked out with an amazing home-made pie! Since then, this cherry pie recipe has been my absolute favorite and I make it all the time. The recipe comes from an old 1990's Debbie Fields cookbook that my mom has called Debbie Fields' Great American Desserts (which I can't even find anymore or I'd link to it!) and it is truly the PERFECT cherry pie. If you have a mini pie maker you can use that, but if not, you can just make them regular sized or experiment with mason jars, ramekins, or a cupcake tin. There are so many cute ways to package a pie and they make great gifts for the pie lover in your life! I made these for my bridesmaids for our wedding crafting night and everyone loved them!

  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks COLD unsalted butter
  • 6-7 tablespoons ICE water
In a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut small pea sized pieces of the cold butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is course and crumbly. (These pieces are what make your pie crust flaky so don't skip this step even if it is a hassle!) Then, add the ice water one tablespoon at a time and stir with a fork until the mixture starts holding together. Do not overmix! Seperate the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, flatten into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour before using.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 16oz cans of tart, pitted red cherries drained (reserve 1 cup of the juice)
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Over medium-high heat slowly add the cherry juices whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in the cherries and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool slightly while preparing the crust.

On a floured surface, roll out the larger disk 1/8 inch thick and at least 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Transfer to the pan and trim the edges to a 1 inch overhang. Chill the pan in the freezer. Grab the smaller disk and roll out. Cut into 12 strips. Remove the chilled pan from the freezer and pour in the pie filling. Top with the dough strips in a lattice pattern and press the edges with your finger to seal. Brush the pie with an egg wash (1 beaten egg + 2 teaspoons sugar) and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Lower the temp to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes or until its golden brown and bubbly.

Now obviously that is for a regular sized pie so you'll need to adapt it to whatever way you're making it. For mini pies, you would cut the dough using the cutter your machine provides and only cook for about 8 minutes. You could also fill a mason jar with the filling and lattice the top with dough. Experiment with different containers and see what you like the best! There is no wrong way to eat pie, people! Enjoy and happy Monday! XOXO