I don’t know how you feel about pie, but I for one am a huge fan. The only thing holding it back is the fact that it requires a fork to eat it. Problem solved with these handheld confections, as they allow you to get straight to business, no utensils necessary.
They begin with my tried-and-true TAK’s Perfect Pie Crust, a flaky and buttery pastry dough that’s beyond easy to make. Next, on to the filling: A simple and almost effortless cherry sauce made using frozen cherries, a bit of sugar and a touch of lemon. It’s sweet, yet tart, and I have my suspicions, if you give it a go, you might find it irresistible not to eat this sauce by the spoonful. They bake up beautifully and taste incredible. Plus, miniature things are adorable. I hope you will enjoy this recipe and have yourselves a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
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- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 8 tablespoons cold shortening cut into tiny cubes
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour plus extra for rolling dough
- 1 ½ tablespoons + 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar separated
- 1 teaspoon + a pinch fine sea salt separated
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons ice-cold water separated
- 1 pound frozen sweet cherries thawed
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 egg
Place butter and shortening cubes in the freezer temporarily to harden, if necessary. Add flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Pulse until evenly incorporated. Add the butter and shortening cubes, a few pieces at a time with the motor running, until all fats are incorporated and pea-sized clumps begin to form. Slowly drizzle in a ½ cup of water. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and knead until the mixture comes together.
Alternatively, use a pastry blender and a large mixing bowl to cut in the fats, and sturdy wooden spoon to stir in the water.
Cut the dough ball in half using a knife or a pasty cutter, and form into two flattened round disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until chilled through, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Dough will be sticky if not properly chilled.
Place the package of frozen cherries in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Alternatively, allow to thaw on the countertop at room temperature, 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Transfer to a colander and drain. Combine cherries, 1/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice, almond extract and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Allow to rapidly simmer for 10 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the cherries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the mixture to the cherries, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To Assemble the Hand-Pies:
Preheat the oven to 375° and have ready two sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
On a large floured work surface, working with one dough round at a time, dust both sides of the round with flour. Begin rolling out the disk until an 1/8 of an inch thick and 12 inches in diameter.
Using a 3” heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out 9 hearts, gathering dough scraps and rolling once more, if needed. Carefully transfer hearts to the baking sheets, using a spatula if necessary and spacing them at least 1 inch apart.
Add a generous tablespoon of jam to the center of each heart. Roll out the second dough round and cut out 9 more hearts, placing them atop the jam. To enclose the filling, using the tongs of a fork, crimp the edges together all the way around the perimeter of the hand pies.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash across the top of each hand pie and sprinkle liberally with 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Gently poke holes across the top of each pie with the tongs of a fork. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Serve and enjoy.