Monday, July 30, 2012

Fresh for the picking!

It's cherry picking time! 
I do believe I've found a favorite new summer treat. Hand pies. Have you ever made them? Easy and oh so yummy. I fried mine because it's been so extremely hot and I didn't want to heat the oven. 
A little light olive oil  in a skillet on medium, low heat. Turn and allow the other side to brown. 
Top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a Tablespoon or so of the homemade cherry pie filling and one more sprinkle of powdered sugar. Presentation is lovely!
Here is the recipe.

Cherry Hand Pies
Crust recipe makes 2 single-crust pie, or 50 hand pies
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into cubes

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg (for egg wash)
sanding sugar
In a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together. 

Turn dough onto a floured work surface and bring it together by hand. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: heat the 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then add cherries with any juices and the sugar and lemon juice and simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. (Cherries will exude juices.) Transfer a few spoonfuls of the cherry liquid into a small bowl, and add cornstarch, whisking to form a paste. Continue to simmer the cherry mixture until cherries are tender but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Then stir cornstarch mixture into simmering filling and boil, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Transfer filling to a bowl and put in fridge.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Or, place hand pie in skillet as I did and embellish with toppings. 
While cherries are cooling, remove one piece of dough from fridge and roll out on floured work surface to  1/8-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch biscuit cutter to cut disks of dough, and transfer disks to one of the baking sheets. When the dough has been cut into disks and one baking sheet is full, gather the dough scraps into a ball, re-wrap in plastic, and return to the fridge. Spoon about 2 teaspoons (depending on size of biscuit cutter) of filling into the center of each disk. Fold each disk over itself to make a half-moon that fully encapsulates the filling, then use the edge of a fork to crimp around the edges of each pie. Transfer baking sheet to the freezer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second half of the dough. Gather the scraps from the second piece, combine with the first scraps, and roll out one last time, repeating steps above. Transfer second filled baking sheet to freezer.
Remove baking sheets from the freezer, and brush pies with egg, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. (Regular or demerara sugar will work just fine.) Use a paring knife to make three diagonal vents in the top of each pie. Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes; serve warm or at room temperature. Hand pies can be frozen in an airtight container between layers of wax paper for up to 1 month.
Happy Summer!
Jill 00

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