Friday, August 26, 2011

Cherry Hand Pies

After last Sunday's Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies disappointment, I was sad. Sad because there wasn't any dessert for the week. It would probably be good for my waistline to not have dessert for a week, but emotionally, well, that's another thing. I really, really, really like a little something for dessert every night, and I don't mean a couple M&M's (those are a good afternoon snack, with a latte).

Sunday afternoon I had started to go through all the recipes I've ripped out of magazines since last February. After the yucky twig cookie tasting, I again tackled the mass of clippings and I saw a recipe for Cherry Hand Pies (Bon Appetit, July 2011). Using puff pastry. It looked pretty easy. It sounded good. We had just bought a lot of puff pastry. And we still had a lot of cherries that were nearly a week old. So I cornered SP and waved the recipe in his face. He's no dummy. He clearly remembered my face when I ate the twig cookie (of course it had only been about a half an hour earlier and I'd been complaining ever since about how gross and disappointing the cookies were and how could there be such a thing as yucky shortbread). He grabbed the cherries, the cherry pitter, and a saucepan and got to work.These are easy to make, just a bit time consuming. It takes a bit of time to cook the cherries with vanilla, cornstarch, and sugar, and then the cherry mixture has to cool for a bit. We made the cherry mixture late on Sunday evening. There wasn't enough time to cool the mixture and then make, chill, and bake the pies, so we put the cherry mixture in the refrigerator overnight.

Monday evening we got the cherry mixture out to warm while we ate dinner. After dinner, SP rolled out the puff pastry. I am terrible at rolling dough, so I like that SP does it, though I suspect he wishes he could make me do it. But he's seen me wield a rolling pin. It's not pretty. Since the filled puff pastry packets need to chill for half an hour before baking, the mini pies didn't come out of the oven until nearly 11pm.Then it was decision time. We've been trying to get to bed earlier, so really, I should have headed off to brush my teeth, wash my face, etc. But... yummy looking & smelling pies. They just needed to cool a bit. But that would mean going to bed later rather than earlier. What to do?

Well anyone who knows me knows it probably took me all of 5 seconds to 'manufacture' some before bedtime chores, and when those chores were finished, well what a coincidence, the pies were cool enough to eat! SP and I shared one before bed. The next morning, we shared one for breakfast, mostly because I wanted to take photos in the morning light and I wanted to break one open to photograph the inside.These are quite tasty. Much, much, much tastier than those Earl Grey Shortbreads. No complaining from me, just happy sounds. One night we warmed a couple up in the oven and topped them with little scoops of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Cherry Hand Pies

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted (or about 12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, unthawed)
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry (preferably Dufour), thawed in refrigerator
Flour (for dusting)
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl to blend. Combine fresh cherries and next 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 18x15" rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into nine 6x5" rectangles. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water in another small bowl for egg wash. Working with 1 pastry rectangle at a time, place on a work surface and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 3 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one side; fold dough over filling so that short ends meet, forming a 5x3" 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 for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. So, funny story: After reading your post and immediately wanting to make these myself, I went to Whole Foods on a grocery trip and found, to my delight, that one of the weekend deals was a pound of cherries for $3.99. Not too shabby. I bought them and rushed them home, intending to spend my quiet Sunday evening making pies.

    Then I spent Sunday afternoon gorging on cherries. I need to learn restraint, because now I don't have pies.

    I will have to try again soon.