My cherry memory all started from maraschino cherry. What kind of cherry is that? You know that bright red cherry on top of a cake or drink. Yup, those are maraschino cherries. I hate them with my guts. They are overly sweet with an artificial taste. That texture really throws me off too. Yuck! Because of that, I avoid eating cherries for the longest time.
Until a couple years ago, I tried a rainier cherry in farmer’s market. Wow! It was so sweet. And who doesn’t get attracted by the pretty reddish-yellow color? Ever since then, I always buy rainier cherries when they are in season. The other day, I saw them in Costco. A 2 lbs box for a price of one! I was super excited! I rarely buy fruits from Costco, because the size is too much for two. But since these were rainier cherries, I didn’t think too much. I went ahead and got a box. 😀
When I got home, I tried a few of them. Oh man, so disappointing… They weren’t sweet. Now, I got 2 lbs of sad cherries in my fridge. What do I do? I couldn’t waste them and let the rot in the fridge. Then the lightbulb kicked in and I decided to bake them. Sour cherries are just the right ones to make desserts. They lighten and brighten up the flavors in a pie.
These little hand pies are not to be passed. The juicy cherries were cooked for a little bit and turned into a sweet and tart filling. Combine with a dollop of sweetened cream cheese. Then bake in a buttery crust. I promise you will love them, either for breakfast, dessert or even snack. They look gorgeous, but do not require much work. I used store-bought pie dough to make everything easier and faster. The best thing is that you can freeze them. Bake them when you need them.
Rainier Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies
10 hand pies
– 2 cups rainier cherries (about 10 ounces) (pitted and halved)
– ¼ cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– zest of ½ lemon
– 1½ tablespoon water
– 6 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
– ¼ cup powdered sugar
– ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 (9-inch) store-bought pie crusts (or any you make)
– 1 egg (beaten)
– ¼ cup coarse or turbinado sugar
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 2 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured working surface, unfold 1 pie dough and roll into 1/8-inch thick with a rolling pin. Use a 5-inch round cutter to cut out rounds. Gather the scrapes and roll it into 1/8-inch thick dough again. Continue to cut out rounds. Repeat with the other pie dough, making 10 rounds in total.
- Brush the edges of the rounds with egg wash. Place about 1½ heaping teaspoon cream cheese filling on one half of each dough round. Top with 1½ heaping teaspoon cherry filling. Carefully fold the dough over to cover the ingredients. Press the edges firmly to seal. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the pies to the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife to cut 3 small slits on top of each pie. Brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugars. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- You can use any cherries you want.
- Learn how to remove cherry pits with a pastry tip: Read
- If your cherries are very sweet, reduce the amount of sugar and add a squeeze of lemon juice when cooking the cherries.
- If you don’t have a 5-inch cutter (I don’t), use a bowl or cup that is 5-inch in diameter.
- To make ahead: Freeze the hand pies in a single layer on a baking sheet before egg wash and sugars. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer Ziploc bag. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugars. Bake until golden brown. The bake time should be about the same, maybe just a couple minutes longer.
- The pies can also be served at room temperature. Let them cool to room temperature and loosely cover until ready to serve.
- You can also served the pies with some vanilla ice cream.
(Adapted from Foodie Crush)
Kennedy Cole@KCole's Creative Corner says
One word: YUM!
This looks sooooo absolutely delicious!
I totally agree with you about the maraschinos. They’re just so artificial and sugary (a cook’s worst nightmare 😉 But fresh cherries are one of my all-time favorite fruits!
Thanks Kennedy! Glad that we are on the same page about the maraschino and fresh cherries! 🙂
I am so tempted by this recipe! We can’t get rainier cherries here. Even regular cherries are a bit on the pricier end. But I think I want to splurge and try this out. You reckon puff pastry would work as well?
I know I am lucky to be able to get many fresh cherries in California. My cousin, who lives in Washington state, has a cherry tree. I am so jealous that she gets tons of cherries every year.
Even though cherries can be pricey, I think these pies are fun way to use them! Puff pastry would totally work! Same temp and time. 🙂
Yum! I love the golden color of the crust, so beautiful.
Thanks Brie! The pies came out really nice! Got to use some egg wash, right?
Nicole @ Or Whatever You Do says
This looks so amazing! I feel like people outside the PacNW don’t fully appreciate the amazingness that is Rainier Cherries. They are my favorite! A couple weeks ago I bought 26 POUNDS of them. Most I made into Rainier Cherry Liqueur, but an alarming amount got just munched on, and I made a pretty killer Rainier Cherry Pastry that I sandwiched ice cream in. Not bad!
Oh my GOODNESS! How can you finish 26 lbs? That is impressive! Even through they are incredible, but I can barely finish 2 lbs. Next time, I need to buy more and use them to make some of your cherry liqueur and pastry. Heading over to your blog now. 😉
You totally made good use of some ‘sad’ cherries. I hate when that kind of thing happens but it’s bound to once in a while. My husband loves cherries, including rainier. For some reason, I haven’t come around to them but you never know. I love your hand pies and baked goods. They look great with that lovely golden crust.
Haha, baking is the best way to use up “sad” fruit. Regular cherries can be substituted in this recipe too. Thanks for your sweet comment, Monica. Have a great weekend!
These look so yum! Man, I miss cherries! x
Thanks! I just googled and found out that cherries are definitely not in season in Australia. Very soon… you can have some! 🙂
I just bought a bag of rainier cherrries the other day! These little hand pies would be a perfect way to put some to use! (the rest will go straight into my belly! haha)
Rainier cherries are the bomb! Enjoy! Have a great weekend Ashley! 😉
Kathleen | HapaNomNom says
I absolutely LOVE rainier cherries! When they’re in season, I can’t get enough of them and I can’t think of a better way to use them! Yum!!!
HIGH FIVE girl! I can’t agree more! I really need to get some more cherries before it is too late!
I love rainier cherries and always look forward to whenever they are in season! These adorable hand pies sound like a wonderful way to use some up!
These are so good and easy! Great way to use the fresh cherries. 🙂
These are beautiful! I really think this might work with strawberries, and it’s so easy and YES, it will work fab with puff pastry too! Love on so many levels, thanks for sharing. Pinned!
Thanks Nagi! Hope this helps! I gotta make them with some other fruits too. 😉
Shelley McGee says
Delicious! I highly recommend this recipe. I made these today and iit was a big hit. Thank you!
Thank you so much Shelley! I’m so glad you liked these hand pies! Cherries are in season now, I need to make some soon. Thank you for coming back and letting me know. Have a great week! ?