individual sour cherry pies

July 8, 2010 |  Category:   baked goods + desserts recipes

Hard to believe, but I bought my first sour cherries ever from the farmer’s market last week.  There are two main reasons I haven’t bought them before.  First, their season is very short so the chances of finding them are slim.  And second, they are very fragile and do not keep for more than a few days so you need to have time to use them if you don’t want to waste your money (and they can be expensive).  I bought these cherries without any clear plan on what to make, but decided on a pie when I got home.  I soon realized I didn’t have nearly enough for a full size pie, so I made a few mini-pies in a couple of individual tart pans.  The sour cherries had a wonderful flavor (they are the traditional pie-making cherry after all, but most recipes usually use canned cherries) and I don’t think I’ll be so hesitant to buy them again.

A note on making individual pies:  Roll the pie dough as thin as you can or else the filling to crust ratio will be off and it would be too much like eating the crust by itself.  To roll the dough extra-thin, make sure it is cold and try rolling it between two sheets of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin.

As for the kids, Mia found a way to eat all the cherries first so there was a hollowed out pie shell before eating most of the crust.  And maybe Claudine didn’t like the cherries as much as everyone else because everything else was gone from the plate except for the cherries, which looked like all the juice had been sucked out of them.

Fresh Sour Cherry Pie (makes 4 individual 4-inch pies)

2-2/3 cups flour
14 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water

2 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the crust, mix the butter into the flour and salt with your fingers until mostly incorporated.  (You can use a food processor for this step if you like.)  Mix in enough cold water to make a dough.  Roll the dough as thin as you can (see note above), cut into 8 circles about 2 inches larger than your small tart pans.  If you need more dough you can just re-roll some of the scrap pieces.  Chill the dough until ready to use.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Toss the pitted cherries with the sugar and let it sit for about 20 minutes.  Drain and reserve the juice.  Put the juice in a small saucepan along with the cornstarch and bring to a boil.  When it has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the reserved cherries.

To assemble the mini-pies, press one circle of dough into a 4-inch tart pan.  Fill almost to the top with some pie filling.  Place another circle of dough on the top, pinching at the edges so it is completely sealed.  Trim any excess dough and crimp decoratively as desired.  Cut a short slit in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.  Repeat with the remaining pies, then bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a  preheated 375-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is cooked on the bottom and the filling begins to bubble out of the top.  Allow to cool slightly before eating.

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  • ABC Dragoo July 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Your photography is glorious!!

  • Adele {modernemotive} July 8, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Ooh, I love mini desserts. I have way too many mini pans but rarely use them. I might have to try this with some other berries too. Ooh, thinking raspberry. Oh yes.

    Great photography as always lady!

  • Paula Prass July 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Seroiusly gorgeous!

  • Jenny N. July 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Those look yummy. I love the little condensation in between the two cherries (last image). Looks like their kissing, hehe. 🙂

  • Mod Human July 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

    You have inspired me to bake something delicious over the weekend!
    I love your photography very much…and I must admit to not have hearing of sour cherries until this post 🙂

    Best Wishes!
    Mod Human Vintage

  • Uncle Beefy July 8, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Listening to vintage French music while landing upon these pics was about the most glorious way one could hope to start a day. Sigh. 🙂

  • nichole July 8, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Perfection! I love that last shot of the cherries.

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers July 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Adorable and delicious. Thanks for the idea – been seeing cherries at the market and trying to come up with a sweet and slightly different way to use them up…this looks perfect.

  • DOTS July 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    my mouth is watering…seriously…I’m drooling.

  • Alicia July 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Sour cherries are very popular here in the midwest, in part because they are self-polinating so you only need one tree to produce fruit.
    I *love* sour cherry jalapeno jam.

  • alexis July 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    wow, these are beautiful. I am working on a menu for a small tea party and I will hopefully be making these (after a farmer’s market trip this weekend). Maybe I’ll pair them with a sencha cherry tea? Thanks for the inspiration!

  • QQ July 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I’ve been meaning to ask you this and I’m sure its not the first time you been asked this but what camera do you use? And how much post-processing do you usually do for your photos? They’re gorgeous of course, but I’m always amazed by the lighting and colors of your photos.

  • custom seamstress July 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Those cherries look so good. I love cherry pie, but like you said the season goes quickly. You have to take them when you can get them.

  • Annie From Seattle July 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Hey Mark, do these sour cherries grow in the Northwest? I have never seen them in any farmer’s markets…am I just missing them? Can I use regular cherries and still get a decent result?

  • Linda July 9, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Love the photos – especially the first and last shots. We took my daughter cherry picking last Saturday and came back with 7+ pounds of cherries! Wish we still had enough cherries to make a mini pie. Next time…

  • Courtney July 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

    these are the cutest things; look so yummy!

  • Jenna July 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    annie, mark’s not very good about checking comments so I’ll answer – I don’t think they are very commonly found in the NW, and regular cherries won’t be the same – they arent really “pie” cherries which need to be tart. anyone else bake pies with regular cherries?

  • Jenna July 9, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    QQ, Thanks for the compliments. I use a canon T1i. A little post processing if needed, but not much…

  • Andrew Thornton July 10, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Those look so delicious! Yummy, for sure!

    My friend was just talking about sour cherry pies. I’ve been looking for the cherries at the local farmers markets here in the boondocks with little success. I’ll have to write it down in my “The Secret” notebook and will it into creation. “Sour Cherry Pies. Sour Cherry Pies. Sour Cherry Pies.”

  • jennifer July 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Um, how yum!

  • emily July 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    oh my goodness. these are the cutest things i have ever seen…

  • ninja July 10, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    LOVE all of the pictures in this post, but especially the connecting water droplet in the last pair of cherries. You have a great eye for catching those little details, that make an otherwise lovely shot … perfect.

  • Aron @ hither and thither July 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    likely the best cherry photos I’ve seen. I admire your style.