Valentine’s Day is coming up and I’m starting to think of some fun sweet confections. My hubby is a nut for cherry pie. But it can’t be just a boring regular pie. It’s Valentine’s Day for Gosh sakes. You gotta go the extra step and make them heart shaped hand pies! This makes them easier to eat and guilt free for eating more than one or two! The cherry filling is homemade which makes all the difference. Don’t forget to add Indonesian/rum Vanilla. It will bring out the cherry overtones and send these hand pies over the top. They are irresistibly delish!
- 1 can red tart cherries in water; reserving half of the liquid (I buy Oregon Fruit Products, usually sold in the canned fruit section rather than with the canned pie fillings in the baking aisle)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- Scant 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
- 1-2 tsp Vanillapura Tongan/rum vanilla extract
- 1 recipe pie crust (see below, or buy if you prefer)
- Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)
- Mix the cherries, half the liquid from the can, sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid turns thick, gels, and bubbles. Remove from heat add vanilla and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Also, bring the pie crust dough out of the fridge to soften slightly (15 min).
- Roll out half of the pie crust on a floured surface. Use a 3 inch, heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of the dough. Transfer to parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Spoon a couple tablespoons of cherry filling onto the center of each heart.
- Cover each with a second dough heart. Press the edges closed with fork tines.
- Use a sharp knife to cut an X (for a kiss) in the top crust.
- (Alternately, use a tiny heart cookie cutter to punch a heart out of the center of the top crusts, before placing them over the filling.) Brush each hand pie with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown at edges.
- Enjoy warm or at room temperature.