So when we moved here 5 years ago, I realized I’d better figure out what to do with the abundance of cherries growing in our very own backyard!
Cherry jams, cherry cobblers, cherry pies… yum.And after the first year, I realized I’d better figure out a quicker way to pit all those cherries than with a knife!
I will preface this by saying I have never been a fan of cherry pie. Store-bought cherry pie filling or cherry pie? Gag.
But I just never tried the right homemade recipe. This recipe I’m going to share with you is soooo good. It’s the addition of the almond extract that I love. And by baking these mini pies, the ratio of crust to filling goes up, which is just perfect for me! (anyone else out there prefer the dough over the filling?)
A few days ago we had a perfect day to pick cherries – they were at their peak of ripeness and the cloudy day made it a little more comfortable for me to be standing on a ladder picking! I got three quarts… and I think the kids inhaled about a half a quart within minutes.
Mini Cherry Pies
You can use whatever dough recipe you love, or even store-bought! (I won’t tell!)
This is the dough recipe I’ve used forever…
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup very cold water
Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Scatter the chunks of butter over the flour mixture; cut in with a pastry blender until dough looks like coarse crumbs. Drizzle the cold water over the dough and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms moist crumbs. Use your hands to press the dough together into a solid mound. Divide in half and press each half into a flat disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
And here’s the recipe for the filling…
Cherry Pie Filling
4 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 T butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cherries in saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for several minutes, or until cherries lose a considerable amount of juice. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. Pour into hot cherries and mix well. Add salt, almond extract, and vanilla extract and mix. Return to stove and cook on low until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into pie crust; dot with butter. Cover with another crust. Cut slits in top crust; bake for 50 minutes.
You can use those recipes to make a whole cherry pie.
But to make six mini pies, I used a whole pie dough recipe and I halved the filling recipe. I used 6 small ramekins, but you could also use a muffin tin if you like. Roll out the dough and cut into circles big enough to fit the bottom and sides of your mini pies. Fill nearly full with pie filling, place a bit of butter on the top, and cover with another circle of dough. (you might have some dough leftover!) I put my ramekins on a cookie sheet before placing them in the oven. Mine baked for about 40 minutes – you’ll know they are done when the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.