Take advantage of cherry season by making this easy pastry recipe with a naturally sweet cherry filling! With a delightfully easy lattice pattern on top, these cherry hand pies are not only a wonderful treat, but a feast for the eyes as well!
Last week there was a sale on cherries at our local supermarket. As fresh cherries are expensive and I don’t get to enjoy them often, I decided to jump on this opportunity and ended up buying a few pounds! Unsurprisingly, I ended up with so many cherries that I wasn’t able to finish them. Luckily, I find myself with excess fruit on my hands all too often so I knew exactly what to do — bake them into something delicious! This time around I decided on cherry hand pies!
When I bake with fruit, I often like to use puff pastry dough, which has a light and crispy texture and can serve as a base for countless desserts! I usually don’t have the patience to fully laminate the dough, so I use the rough puff pastry recipe that you’ll find below. Buying ready-made puff pastry is also a good solution if you’re short on time or just don’t want to go through the hassle of making your own dough. However, I’ve found that with some practice the process of making this dough becomes faster and faster and the taste of homemade pastries always wins over store-bought for me!
I love the variety of scandinavian pastries, which is where I got the inspiration for the lattice pattern topping these cherry hand pies. The lattice pattern not only looks amazing, but also allows the hand pies to show off their delicious filling. Making the pattern is also really easy! You just need to make alternating cuts in the dough parallel to the short side: one long cut, followed by two short cuts all the way down the pastry (see photos below). Reserve about ⅛ of an inch on the sides to make sure there’s enough room to seal the hand pies.
For this cherry hand pie recipe I wanted the cherry flavor and texture to really shine. To achieve this I made the filling with fresh cut cherries. The cherries that I used were on the sweeter side, so I only added a bit of sugar. You can adjust the amount of sugar to taste, especially if your cherries are more sour. With this recipe, you’ll get cherry hand pies that are not overly sweet, but full of cherry flavor and chunks! If you prefer a filling that’s more on the gooey side, you can definitely cook the cherries down with sugar and thicken them with cornstarch. And if you’re short on time, you can always buy premade cherry pie filling! When my favorite fresh fruits are out of season, I sometimes even use jam — particularly around the winter holidays like in these finnish christmas pastries!
- chilled butter 230 g (1 c)
- flour 315 g (2½ c)
- salt ½ tsp
- sugar 2 tbsp
- cold water 120 ml (½ c)
- white vinegar 1 tbsp
filling & assembly
- cherries 350 g (12 oz)
- sugar for filling 1½ tbsp
- egg 1 yolk
- milk 60 ml (¼ c)
- sugar for topping 1 tbsp
- Grate the butter or cut it into small pieces. Place it in the freezer.
- Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
- Begin working the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or a pair of forks, but do not incorporate entirely. The dough should still have flecks of butter in it.
- Add the vinegar and half of the water. Begin mixing the dough. Gradually add the rest of the water.
- Once the dough has formed, shape it into a disc. Dust your working surface with flour and roll out the dough away from you until it is about 4 mm (⅛ inch) thick.
- Fold the dough into thirds (like a letter). To do this, fold the top third of the dough over the center and then fold the bottom third over the center. Turn the dough 90 degrees, roll out again and repeat the folds.
- Cut the dough in half, wrap it in plastic and let chill for 30 minutes.
assembly & baking
- Stem and pit the cherries and cut them in half.*
- Place the cherries and sugar in a bowl. Mix well and place in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 450F (220C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out half of the dough into a rectangle of 10x12 inches (26x32 cm).
- Cut the dough into 8 equal rectangles of 3x5 inches (13x8 cm)
- Make the lattice pattern on half of the rectangles. Make cuts parallel to the short side. Alternate a long cut with two short cuts. Leave about ⅛ inch (3mm) of dough on the edges to have room to seal the hand pies.
- Place two spoonfuls of cherries on the uncut rectangles. Top with the patterned rectangles. Seal the edges and then press them with a fork.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Transfer the hand pies onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- While the pastries are baking, prepare an egg wash by mixing the egg yolk and milk.
- Remove the pastries from the oven, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of sugar if desired.
- Continue baking for approximately 5-7 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- dough: the most important part of making this dough is to not let the butter melt. To achieve this, you can chill the dough in the fridge between steps. cherry pits: while you could use a special cherry pitter to remove the pits, I just make partial cuts in each cherry until I reach the pit and then twist the pit out.