Recipe: Cherry Hand Pies

One of my greatest pleasures as a mother is when I can immerse myself in my children’s special interests. Over the past years, they have educated me on a variety of topics that I would never have thought to explore. They have taught me about the critically endangered axolotl, how to play the recorder and most recently, how to enjoy baking.

I have never been much of a baker, mostly because I am impatient and don’t like to measure—two qualities that rarely work when making cheesecake or chocolate soufflé. When we go out to dinner, I always encourage my children to order dessert so they know there is more to life than my mediocre chocolate chip cookies!

You can imagine my surprise when I found my daughter intently watching Cake Wars, Cake Masters, and Cupcake Wars Kids this past winter. Over the weeks that followed, her interest in baking continued to grow. She used her allowance to purchase baking books and even requested baking kits for her birthday. It wasn’t long before she was asking me to show her how to use the oven.

As I watched her immerse herself in baking techniques and terminology, I was filled with joy. Being able to witness the satisfaction she gets from gathering ingredients, measuring and mixing is immeasurable. One of our favorite recipes to make together is Cherry Hand Pies. They are a smaller, simpler version of a cherry pie and taste just as delicious!

Here’s how to make your own.

Cherry Hand Pies


For the Cherry Pie Filling:

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen, pitted cherries
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

For the Pie Crust:

  • 1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on top)


Step 1: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Step 2: Combine frozen cherries, dried cherries, turbinado sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the cherry juices are released.

Step 3: In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch, orange juice, zest and warm water. Add mixture to cherry mixture. Stirring often (the cornstarch will gel the cherry mixture), bring to a boil. Once it has thickened, about 5 minutes, remove from heat. Let cherry filling cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Your puff pastry should come in 2 sheets, each with 3 sections. To keep this recipe simple, separate all the sections so you end up with 6 long strips of pastry. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each strip in half. You will now how 12 pieces of pastry.

Step 5: In another small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water to create an egg wash. Working with 1 pastry rectangle at a time, place on a lightly floured work surface (I use parchment paper to keep my dough from sticking to everything) and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 2 tablespoons of cherry pie filling onto one rectangle. Take another pastry rectangle, brush the edges with egg wash, and place egg wash side down on top of the rectangle that has cherry pie filling on it. Gently press the seams together and crimp with a small fork to seal. Using kitchen shears, cut 3 small slits into the top of each cherry hand pie. Place on a prepared parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this step with the remaining pastry rectangles until you have 6 cherry hand pies.

Step 6: Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar.

Step 7: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30 minutes. (If using two smaller baking sheets, rotate sheets at 15 minutes.) Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.