mini cherry pies
Cherries are here, y'all. I made a cherry pie at my parent's house during a quick trip last weekend, and now it's time to make them at Casa Lilley. Don't let pitting cherries dissuade you from the sweet, sweet reward of pie (or other tasty treats). I can vouch for this cherry pitter that pits six at a time and is easy to clean. I try not to get too bogged down in kitchen gadgets, but this one is a winner. The other super helpful items used in making these beauties are a pastry cutter (or food processor) and a mini pie pan. Unfortunately, the pie pan I use is no longer available from Williams-Sonoma. But if I had to buy mini pie pans now, I'd get these.
I keep this recipe super simple with an all-butter crust (this is my go to pie crust) and just the basics for the filling. Less is more, right? Let the fruit do the heavy lifting. And speaking of fruit, most recipes call for tart cherries, but all I can usually find in the store are sweet cherries, so that's what I use with a reduced amount of sugar.
Mini cherry pies
Makes 4 mini pies, each serves 1-2
For the double pie crust
2.5 c (300g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
20 Tbsp (10 oz) chilled butter cut into 1/4 pieces
7-8 Tbsp ice water
For the cherry filling
7 cups pitted cherries (I used the ubiquitous sweet cherry)
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp cornstarch
What to do
1. Make the pie crusts.
By hand: Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut the cold butter in using a pastry cutter until you have lima bean-sized chunks of butter. Add 6 Tbsp of ice cold water and mix together. Add another 1 to 2 Tbsp of water until the mixture holds together. Should be moist, but not wet. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
With a food processor: Pulse the dry ingredients for about 10 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms lima-bean shaped pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough comes together. Should be moist, but not wet. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
2. Make the cherry filling. Place cherries into a large pot over medium heat, and cover the pot. Heat cherries until they release their juice and come to a simmer, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar with cornstarch until smooth. Pour the mixture into the hot cherries and juice and thoroughly combine. Return to low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until the filling has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. Roll out the pie dough and assemble. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough to 3/16" thick. Cut dough into circles to line the bottom of the pie pan. Add about 1/2 cup of pie filling (or enough to fill the well so until it is level with the top of the pan). Roll out the other half of the dough and top the cherries in whatever style you choose.
4. Bake for about 32-35 minutes until crust is golden brown.
5. Let the pies cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then remove them to finish cooling. (The waaaaiiiting is the hardest part... (Thanks, Tom!)).