My cherry memory all started from maraschino cherry. What kind of cherry is that? You know that bright red cherry on top of a cake or drink. Yup, those are maraschino cherries. I hate them with my guts. They are overly sweet with an artificial taste. That texture really throws me off too. Yuck! Because of that, I avoid eating cherries for the longest time.
Until a couple years ago, I tried a rainier cherry in farmer’s market. Wow! It was so sweet. And who doesn’t get attracted by the pretty reddish-yellow color? Ever since then, I always buy rainier cherries when they are in season. The other day, I saw them in Costco. A 2 lbs box for a price of one! I was super excited! I rarely buy fruits from Costco, because the size is too much for two. But since these were rainier cherries, I didn’t think too much. I went ahead and got a box. 😀
When I got home, I tried a few of them. Oh man, so disappointing… They weren’t sweet. Now, I got 2 lbs of sad cherries in my fridge. What do I do? I couldn’t waste them and let the rot in the fridge. Then the lightbulb kicked in and I decided to bake them. Sour cherries are just the right ones to make desserts. They lighten and brighten up the flavors in a pie.
These little hand pies are not to be passed. The juicy cherries were cooked for a little bit and turned into a sweet and tart filling. Combine with a dollop of sweetened cream cheese. Then bake in a buttery crust. I promise you will love them, either for breakfast, dessert or even snack. They look gorgeous, but do not require much work. I used store-bought pie dough to make everything easier and faster. The best thing is that you can freeze them. Bake them when you need them.
Rainier Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies
10 hand pies
– 2 cups rainier cherries (about 10 ounces) (pitted and halved)
– ¼ cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– zest of ½ lemon
– 1½ tablespoon water
– 6 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
– ¼ cup powdered sugar
– ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 (9-inch) store-bought pie crusts (or any you make)
– 1 egg (beaten)
– ¼ cup coarse or turbinado sugar
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 2 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured working surface, unfold 1 pie dough and roll into 1/8-inch thick with a rolling pin. Use a 5-inch round cutter to cut out rounds. Gather the scrapes and roll it into 1/8-inch thick dough again. Continue to cut out rounds. Repeat with the other pie dough, making 10 rounds in total.
- Brush the edges of the rounds with egg wash. Place about 1½ heaping teaspoon cream cheese filling on one half of each dough round. Top with 1½ heaping teaspoon cherry filling. Carefully fold the dough over to cover the ingredients. Press the edges firmly to seal. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the pies to the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife to cut 3 small slits on top of each pie. Brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugars. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- You can use any cherries you want.
- Learn how to remove cherry pits with a pastry tip: Read
- If your cherries are very sweet, reduce the amount of sugar and add a squeeze of lemon juice when cooking the cherries.
- If you don’t have a 5-inch cutter (I don’t), use a bowl or cup that is 5-inch in diameter.
- To make ahead: Freeze the hand pies in a single layer on a baking sheet before egg wash and sugars. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer Ziploc bag. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugars. Bake until golden brown. The bake time should be about the same, maybe just a couple minutes longer.
- The pies can also be served at room temperature. Let them cool to room temperature and loosely cover until ready to serve.
- You can also served the pies with some vanilla ice cream.
(Adapted from Foodie Crush)