Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cherry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pie wrap

After Memorial Day every year I must make two things: pie and ice cream.  Summer fruits are delicious on their own, but they're also so good inside of a pastry crust.  And even after baking the flavor of the fruit was fresh and maintained its shape, and it didn't turn into that cherry goop I hate in storebought pies.  The cream cheese mixture adds a nice sweetness and tang to the cherries.  I can see myself throwing these in the picnic basket all summer.

Cat collage

I was bummed at not posting last week, but look what I've had to distract me!  Nearly a year after losing my best buddy and the sweetest cat in the entire world, Baby, we found Shnooky a little brother.  We got Dalton,1½ years old, at the local shelter.  During the day he sleeps under the bed, but at night he's a furball of energy.  He loves chasing the laser pointer dot and cries if he loses sight of it, and he likes to sing at 2 a.m. when the world is asleep.  We're working on changing his name, and Joe is pushing for Gandalf the Grey because he waves his paws around like he's casting spells.  You'd think I'd love that, considering the name of this blog, right?  I'm not sure yet that Gandalf sounds cute enough for this fella.

Cherry Hand Pie

I have a point to my digression.  I had done my baking prep, making the pie dough and quartering the cherries.  And since they were frozen cherries, I didn't have to wrestle with the pitter.  Then we got our new cat, plus my editor asked me to submit my next Boston Globe dining review a week earlier than we'd agreed on.  So no time for cherry pies.  The cherries stayed unspoiled in the freezer, as did half a batch of the pie dough.  For some dumb reason I didn't freeze both halves, so I substituted some storebought puff pastry sitting in my freezer and it worked great.  So when life gets busy, baking projects are salvageable!

Also, my next food review runs in The Boston Globe this Sunday, so check back here for the URL!

Update: This post made the Foodbuzz Top 9!

This post was shared with:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Whatcha' Whipped Up Wednesdays
Sweets for a Saturday

Cherry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies
Adapted from Everyday Food May 2012 Issue

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar (divided, see below)
2 tsp lemon zest, plus 1 tbs lemon juice
1 large egg
10 ounces frozen cherries (thaw slightly and quarter)
2 tbs all-purpose flour
Pie dough (below), each disk rolled ⅛ inch thick
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.  Stir together cream cheese, ½ cup granulated sugar, lemon zest, and egg until smooth.  Toss cherries with ¼ cup granulated sugar, lemon juice, and flour.

Lay 1 dough round on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut into quarters.  Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon cream cheese mixture into center of each quarter.  Spoon 2 tablespoons cherry mixture on top.  Brush edges with cream and bring opposite corners together to form triangles (or fold over into a rectangle like I did).  Trim if needed.  Crimp edges to seal, brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Repeat with remaining dough round and fillings.  Cut a small vent in each pie and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Let cool completely on wire racks before serving.

Pie Dough
In a food processor, pulse 2½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp sugar, and ½ tsp fine salt.  Add 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.  Add ¼ cup ice water, pulsing until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary add up to 2 tbs water).  Divide dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).


  1. These are gorgeous. I adore anything cherry. Glad your fur baby is okay.

  2. I'm going to cherry picking this month and I'm so ready to make something delicious (baked goods, yes!) with them. This one looks easy except for the dough recipe... I know I'm supposed to try making everything from scratch. =P If I have courage I should, no more puff pastry... =) Looks really delicious!

    Your cats are so cute. My kids are requesting to have puppies but we don't really have family here to take care of the pets when we go to Asia for a long time... I also wish I have some company too. Mmm maybe after my kids are older (since the pet will be kid #3 and that's way too much!). LOL.

    1. Yay, I'll be excited to see what you make! Hey, nothing wrong with puff pastry. That extra sheet in the freezer saved me this time too, so the other half of the filling didn't go to waste.

      The traveling thing is always a consideration when it comes to pets. A friend with cats just moved into my neighborhood, so we have an agreement now that when one of us travels, the other will check on and care for the cats. It's a great arrangement. A puppy is a lot of work, that would definitely be kid # 3! :)

  3. These sound scrumptious! I jut made some apple pie hand pies and have been looking for other ideas for the filling! P.S. Your kitties are adorable!

    1. Apple pie might be my favorite fruit pie. I made some hand pies in the fall using apple butter. Thanks, I will pass your compliment on to the kitties!

  4. I love these pies:) They sound and look so delicious! Can't wait to try them. Thanks for a great post and have good weekend!

  5. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  6. Love the recipe, love the kitties. Congrats on the Top 9!

  7. What a handsome boy! We lost our Diego a year and a half ago and I still miss him so much; we ended up adopting two grown cats too. Everyone wants a kitten, but once they're full-size, it's so hard for shelters to adopt them out! :(

    Congratulations on making the Foodbuzz Top 9! I still haven't managed to figure out Foodbuzz. ;) Cherry pie is such a great dessert for summer!

    1. Thanks! We actually made a conscious decision not to adopt a kitten because they don't need help getting adopted. I was looking in the age range of 2 to 4, but figured 1 1/2 was close enough. He is a sweetie. So is my Shnooky, I've had him for 10 years and now he's 13. And I still miss my Baby sorely, we were so attuned to each other and I wasn't prepared for this gaping hole in my life when he was gone.

      Thanks! Foodbuzz feels high-maintenance sometimes, but getting into the Top 9 is always nice.

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  9. I love these! THey sound so yummy & I love anything that is "individual sized". Your kiities are pretty cute together. If yo have time I'd love if you shared this on Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday Hope to see you there! Congrats on the Food Buzz Top 9 too!

  10. These look so yummy. Congrats on making the FoodBuzz top 9! What an honor...thanks for sharing. :)


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