The Fourth of July has always seemed to be the kickoff of summer at our house. It opens up the summer festivities with fireworks, family and friends, BBQs, swimming, Popsicles, sparklers, and of course, all American cherry pie!
Last weekend my super sweet neighbor was 10 feet up in his cherry tree picking his beautifully ripe cherries. We had been watching them change vibrant colors for a month or so. I had the back door open and called to my daughter to come look, he was picking his cherries. I then hear a shout,"Bring me a big bowl, and I'll pick you some!" I did not hesitate. I was then the proud owner of 3 lbs of gorgeous ruby red cherries!
We of course savored every cherry we ate, but that's a lot of cherries! So I decided to do something fun with a portion of them and tried out mini cherry pies. You should know I am a cheater. I did not make my own crust. I bought the pre-made refrigerated pie dough by Pillsbury. I thought this would save me time and it did, but I think I'd make my own next time, but it did work!
The filling is beyond easy.
approx 2 lbs cherries
1/2 cup sugar
Lemon or lime juice from half a lemon or lime
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp. ice water
1 egg lightly beaten
First you need to pit the cherries. I personally try to keep them as whole as possible but they break apart. That okay. You're going to eat them anyway!
When all the cherries have been pitted and stems removed, place in a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon or lime juice, and mix.
Place the cherry mixture in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil for about 15 minutes or so.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and the ice water together. Then add to the cherries in the saucepan. Boil for a minute or so as it thickens, and then transfer the hot cherry mixture to a bowl and place in fridge to cool.
In the meantime, spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
Roll out your pie dough on a lightly floured surface and using a circle cookie cutter or similar, cut out the dough and place into the muffin pan. Also cut the dough how you'd like to have the pie tops. I did a few variations.
When the cherry mixture has cooled, place the mixture in each pie crust and then place on the top. Lightly brush tops with egg to make it shiny and sprinkle with sugar.
Cook at 350 degrees for about 20-30 min depending on your oven. They will look golden when done and the cherry juice may start to bubble up.
Let cool and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
We enjoyed our mini pies! I think we will do it next time with fresh berries. (smacks lips!)
Have a Happy Fourth of July!