vegan sour cherry handpies


I don't have tons of experience with pies. Wait, correction: with making pies. The first time I made a pie (pumpkin, actually) was when I was a film student in Los Angeles and I was attending a Thanksgiving potluck for everyone who couldn't afford to go home for the holiday weekend. Turns out there are a lot of miles between California and New Jersey. It (the pie, and the day, actually) came out great, which left me feeling pleasantly surprised. I actually ate a fair amount of pumpkin pie while residing in the Sunshine State, which doesn't really make a whole lot of seasonal sense. There's even photographic evidence.

Anyway, even though I've had a few successes since then, this is my first venture into the handpie division of pies. I thought, what could be better than fresh sour cherry pie? Surely you know that the cardinal rule of making anything better is to cute-ify it by making it miniature.

Of course, let's just take a second to note the hazards of a first-time handpie making: making sure those edges are S-E-A-L-E-D is the ticket to 1. Not losing your filling, thus 2. Not losing your flavor and 3. Keeping them cute. Because that was the whole point, right?

For this recipe you'll need:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Earth Balance, cubed and chilled (any other vegan butter brand will work)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

1/4-1/2 cups ice water

3 cups fresh sour cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon organic corn starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Prep two baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper and set aside. 

In a large bowl, add your cherries, sugar, corn starch and cinnamon, if using. Mix together until your fruit is evenly coated. Truth? It's easiest (and most fun) to do this with your hands. 

In the bowl of a food processor, add your flour, salt and sugar. Pulse together until evenly mixed, about ten pulses. Add your vegan butter and pulse 10-20 times or until your butter has form pea-sized or smaller crumbs. Add your ice water in tablespoon increments and continue to pulse until your dough is sticky but not wet. (Test: pinch together a piece between your fingers. If it molds to the shape of the pinch, it's ready. If it crumbles, you need more water.)

Separate your dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least thirty minutes (an hour is better, if you can hold out).

After your dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out your dough as you would for a regular pie crust. Use a round cookie or biscuit cutter (I used a small bowl, actually, that's about 5 inches across--whatever you have on hand will work!) to cut out individual tops and bottoms for each handpie. You should have enough dough to make 6 to 9, depending on the size you choose.

Add a small scoopful of pie filling to each bottom and quickly cover with an additional piece of pie crust. Pinch the edges together and seal with a fork. Use a small knife to cut a slit in the top to allow steam to escape. Repeat until you have enough pies to fit on one prepared pan. You can top these guys with a sprinkle of cinnamon or sugar if you want. Transfer to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. What you're looking for is a slightly golden crust that stays firm when you tap the edges.

These little guys are fun. I admit I had a little trouble keeping the filling in place for the first round, so some of them were a little more, err, sour, than what you'd normally expect from a sour cherry pie. Confusing, I know, but that's what happens when some of the sugary filling escapes. But they were still tasty and could fit in your pocket, if you wanted to wait (why, you weirdo) and if you have a thing for messy pockets. To each their own.

If you're not ready to stop at handpies: