What’s not to like about hand pies, especially these heart-shaped Sweet Cherry Hand Pies. These little packages of flaky pastry with a fruity filling do not require a fork or knife, they don’t even need a plate. What is great about these pies is they are really a no-fuss, no-mess kind of dessert.
Dark red cherries in a flaky brown crust – oh yeah!
Hand pies are so adaptable to a variety of fruit and savory fillings, these are some of my favorites:
- Apple and Cranberry
- Apricot and Brie
- Blueberry Lemon
- Strawberry and Rhubarb
- Tomato and Mozzarella
Don’t those all sound so good?
Now, what’s your favorite shape for a hand pie? I had to go with hearts today because I have this nifty pie press, but a circle or square is easy to do and you can also use cookie cutters for some great shapes.
The crust for these hand pies may be the best part because it is so buttery and flaky. See all those pieces of butter in the pastry, that is what you want to see when rolling out your dough. The melting butter creates steam in the pastry that creates the flaky layers in your dough. Adding a dusting of sugar on top of the pies creates a nice caramelization and adds even more flavor to your pies, because it’s really all about flavor, right?
You have choices for the cherry filling. I made mine from frozen dark cherries, or you can use canned cherries. And, if you like you can use canned cherry pie filling. No matter what you use your hand pies will still be amazing.
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Sweet Cherry Hand Pies
Sweet Cherry Filling
- 3 cups red cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbls cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups AP, flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed and cold
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold
- 6-7 tbls. ice water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp. sugar
Sweet Cherry Filling
- In a medium saucepan combine the cherries, sugar and cinnamon. Over medium heat cook until the cherries are juicy and the sugar has melted about 4-5 minutes.
- Turn the heat to simmer and cook 5 more minutes. Continue stirring.
- In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of the cherry juice, then add the cornstarch. Stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the pan with the cherries, stir and cook over simmer until the mixture becomes thick; about 6 minutes.
- When thick remove the pan from the burner and stir in the lemon juice. Pour into a small bowl to cool.
Making the Pie Dough
- In a large bowl mix the flour and salt.
- Add the cold cubed butter and shortening to the flour mixture. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is pea size.
- Start adding the water one tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until the dough forms a ball.
- On a floured surface, turn out the dough and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1/2 hour.
- Filling and forming the hand pies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment.
- Roll the pie dough into a large circle. If using a pastry press cut the dough to fit and fill the cavity with 2 tablespoons of cherries. Add the top pie crust and crimp. Place on a lined baking sheet.
- You can also cut the pie dough into 6 1/2" rounds. Fill the center with 2 tablespoons of the cherry filling, fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork.
- Prick the tops of the pies or cut out some shapes to let the steam escape while baking.
- Place the pies on the prepared baking sheet. Brush on the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the pies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes then place on a cooling rack.
The kitchen is all cleaned up and its time to enjoy a sweet cherry pie.
If you love cherries as much as I do try this Grilled Cherry Pandowdy recipe.
Here are two hand pie presses that I use and you might like, a heart and a mini pocket pie mold. Not only are they good for hand pies, but they are great for sandwiches too. You can use frozen or canned cherries and this the Oregon Tart Cherries are my favorite. Try this cloth rolling matt to make rolling pie and cookie dough a breeze.
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