TBT: Cherry Pies for George Washington’s Birthday

These little cherry pies are so delicious, and the kids love them (as if they normally don’t love anything sweet!).  They take a bit longer to make than one big pie, but they’re so much more fun, I think they’re worth it…and the crust is crunchy all the way around never soggy on the bottom. And who wants a soggy bottom? No one, that’s who.Anyway, here’s my post from last February with the yummy recipe for the filling added, since we no longer live within reach of Door County cherries.

Yes, I know the whole cherry tree story about George Washington is fiction…but I prefer to ignore that in order to justify making (and eating) cherry pies for his actual birthday, which is this Saturday, February 22.  I’m an ostrich when it serves my purpose.

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For those of you lucky enough to live somewhere with access to great premade cherry filling, use that, by all means! Pies-Jar

I’ve used the same recipe for cherry pie filling for as long as I can remember, from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (the one with the red and white checked cover).  I think I’m on my third copy of that cookbook, I’ve use it so long! Anyway, to make the cherry filling:

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups fresh tart cherries, pitted, or 2 cans, drained
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 drops red food coloring, optional

Directions

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the cherries, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in food coloring if desired. Yield: 4 cups.

The only other ingredients are two pie crusts (I made my own, but store-bought is perfectly fine), a beaten egg, some powdered sugar, and a bit of sparkling sugar to sprinkle on top.

First, roll out the dough slightly thinner than a pie crust…you want it just thick enough that it doesn’t tear when you pick it up, but not so thick it’s doughy when baked. Use a bowl or other round object about 4” in diameter to cut out circles of dough. You can get about 12 circles from two pie crusts, rerolling your scraps.

Pies-Circles

Spoon a scant two tablespoons of filling onto one half of each circle. Resist the temptation to overfill…they’ll leak for sure if you do, then you’ll get even less filling left in them! Dip your finger in a beaten egg and run it around the outside of the dough circle, to help it seal.

Pies-Filling

Fold half of the dough over the filling and seal with a fork, being careful not to puncture the dough. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (with a rim, just in case you have a leak!).

Pies-on-Pan

I also have a heart-shaped pie press that I ordered a few years ago from Martha Stewart. I use it to make a few of these, because the kids like the smaller, heart-shaped ones better. They’re kind of a pain, though, so go right ahead and only make round ones. Here’s how to make the heart-shaped ones:

Pies-Cutting-Hearts

Place a tablespoon of filling on rolled dough, cut out one heart and put it over the filling, then press down with the pie press. I always have to reseal them with a fork, and they still tend to leak.

Bake the pies at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until barely golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Make a glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Dip the tops of the pie in the glaze and place back on the parchment to dry a bit. While glaze is still wet, sprinkle with sparkling sugar if you’d like.

Pies-Heart

See… those hearts didn’t stay sealed. At least no filling leaked out to be wasted!

My grandma Dixie used to make fried apricot pies for holidays, which were delicious. My mom then inherited the making of the fried pies, and began baking them rather than frying. She uses store-bought rolled pie crusts, and she rolls them so thin she can make 16 out of two crusts. Someday I’ll be that good! Until then, I’ll just enjoy the crunchy crust and the ooey-gooey, oh-so-good filling. Hope you do, too!

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