Sweet Cherry Hand Pies

This year the cherry trees yielded only enough fruit for a single day of picking for the season.  We arrived in early morning, with dreams of cherry clafoutis, cherry sorbet, and sweet cherry pies.

Our car climbed to the summit of Belltown Hill, with amazing views of the valley below, the city of Hartford glittering in the distance, the last of the winds trailing behind Hurricane Arthur sweeping through the orchard.

Last year there was an overabundance of cherries weighing down the boughs of the sour cherry trees, but because of the way the season went, this spring there were only sweet cherries available for picking. I had always heard that only sour cherries are good in pies. Still red, these early season Bing cherries had yet to turn deep purplish with fully developed sweetness. They made wonderful pies.

Sweet Cherry Hand Pies

for the crust:
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter, process until the mixture resembles a course meal, with some pea-sized lumps of butter, 8 to 10 seconds. It is these larger, firm pieces of butter that create flaky layers instead of a crumbly crust. Add 1/4 cup of the ice water all at once, pulse until the dough holds together when pressed, being careful not to process for more than 30 seconds. If still dry and crumbly, add more water, one tablespoon at a time.

Divide the dough into two parts, dumping each part onto plastic wrap, and using the wrap to press and shape the dough into a flat disc.

Chill in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for at least an hour.

For the filling:

2 cups pitted sweet cherries, halved
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

When you are ready to assemble the pies, stir all of the filling ingredients together in a medium bowl.

To assemble and bake the pies:

1 egg white
sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 400°. Remove one of the chilled discs of dough from the refrigerator. Roll out on a floured board to 1/8" thick. Cut out circles of dough using a 4" round cutter. Spoon 5 sugared cherry halves with a little of the juice onto each round. Brush lightly with cold water around edges. Set aside. Roll out and cut rounds from the other disc. Top each pie with a round of dough, crimping edges with a fork to seal.  Refrigerate on a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Remove pies from the refrigerator, place on parchment lined baking sheet. Cut slashes in the top of each pie to vent. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until lightly golden and juices are bubbling.

Cool completely on a wire rack.


  1. Oh so beautiful!! Love all the cherry picking pictures, and the hand pies look absolutely delightful!