July 7, 2009

Cherry Cherry...

Thought for the day:
"Life is just a bowl of cherries, so live and laugh at it all..."
- George Gershwin

One of the reasons I love summer so much is because the quality and quantity of fresh fruit seems endless. Today, I couldn't resist buying two pounds of fresh, sweet cherries from the market. I was excited to also try out a new "gadget" given to me by a wonderful friend. It's a pocket pie maker from Williams-Sonoma, and it happened to come with a fun little recipe I knew I had to try! You can also make this recipe into a pie or little tarts. You can also make just the cherry filling to spoon over angel food cake. It's so delicious!

This little pocket pie maker is also a two-sided cookie cutter, and when the dough is placed inside the mold, it crimps the pie crust to seal in the fruit filling. I think I'll use it just as a cookie cutter too; it cuts the dough perfectly. They also sell a star shape pocket pie mold which would be awesome to have for birthdays and winter holidays.

Cherry Pocket Pies (from Williams-Sonoma)
(makes 6-8 pocket pies, or one 8-inch cherry pie)

Piecrust (you can purchase a premade crust if desired):
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 sticks of cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dices
6-8 tablespoons ice water

Using a pastry blender (or stand mixer), mix together the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Add the butter and combine until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of ice water; combine well. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers, but should not be sticky. If crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, blending well after each addition. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and shape each into a disk. Refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

2 cups fresh pitted cherries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Wash and pit the cherries. I did not have a cherry pitter, and had to use a small paring knife. Slice the cherries in half, and use the tip of the knife to gently scoop out the pits.

How beautiful do they look?

In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the cherries and extract; mix well. Set over medium high heat and cook until slightly thickened; about 15 minutes. Allow filling to cool.

When ready to assemble, let dough stand at room temp for five minutes. On a floured surface, roll out one dough disk into a round, about 1/8 inch thick. Using the pie pocket mold, cut out heart shapes, 4 solid/4 decorative.

Place the solid dough piece in the bottom of the cutter and gently press into mold. Fill the center with filling and brush the edges with egg wash. Top with shape from decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie.

Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. (Use the same concept if making a pie, except use 8-inch pie plate.) Freeze mini pies or whole pie for 30 minutes on cookie sheet.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush top of dough with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is gently bubbling, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream, cool whip or vanilla ice cream.
*(I also made cherry stuffed cookies with the filling and pie dough. Just cut squares of dough, place a teaspoon of filling in the middle, fold up the edges, then pinch and twist at the top. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.)


Kristin said...

How CUTE! I love the little heart pocket -sigh-. Unfortunately when ever I make my own crust it never seems to turn out as pretty as yours.

figtree said...

Now I can finally use my cherry pitter I bought 5 years ago.These look beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Figtreeapps

Anonymous said...

I made these last night and posted the photo on FaceBook. I used a package of refrig pie crust and a can of no sugar added cherry pie filling.

I made 5 pies and they are so cute. The 2 T of pie filling left over wrnt in the freezer; recycled as part of a smoothie

My next ones will be savory; mushrooms, onions, garlic, and thyme

"Vanilla and Thyme" said...

Thanks for your comment! I'm so glad people are being so creative with these recipes - I just love it-