It's not summer in Northern Michigan without cherries! Cherry Hand Pies have a simple three ingredient cherry pie filling and a super flakey grain-free crust! Their size make them perfect to pack along for a picnic or a day at the beach.
As a Northern Michigander, cherries run in my blood. I live in Traverse City, the cherry capital of the world. We are very well known for our tart and sweet cherries. With the National Cherry Festival getting cancelled this year, I wanted to celebrate by making Cherry Hand Pies.
How to make Cherry Hand Pies:
This recipe starts by making a super simple cherry pie filling. Cherries are pitted (frozen works too!) then boiled with maple syrup until soft. Arrowroot powder is then added to thicken the filling before being cooled in the fridge.
A super delicious grain-free pie crust is used for the top and bottom of the hand pies. The pie dough is rolled out, filled with the cherry pie filling and then baked for about thirty minutes before being enjoyed. We ate these the other night at my in-laws with a big scoop of dairy-free ice cream. They were delicious!
A couple notes about Cherry Hand Pies:
Let's talk about cherries:
Can I use frozen cherries?
Yes! If you prefer to not mess around (pitting cherries can be SO messy!) then buy frozen to keep it simple. Frozen will work just as good!
Can I make a pie?
If you don't want to make hand pies and would like to make one large pie, this is the perfect recipe. The pie filling recipe will be enough for one pie and the crust recipe will be enough for a top and bottom crust.
Let's talk about the pie crust:
For the pie crust recipe, I used Gnom-Gnom's recipe. I have tried making my own that is paleo and is super flaky, but I just have not conquered it yet. The best grain-free pie crust I have come across, is Gnom Gnom's. This crust is easy to make, it's flaky and buttery. I did make a few modifications but I can not take credit.
It is very important to work quickly with this crust. If the dough gets too hot, which will happen during the hot months of July, the dough will start to melt and get too soft to handle. Just keep putting it in and out of the freezer and handle with care. I will typically roll mine out, place back into the freezer, then cut my circles and place the bottoms on a baking tray. I'll place the dough back into the freezer while I place the cherry pie filling on the bottoms and then take it out to cut my top circles. Just know that the dough will get soft and it's OK to pop it back into the freezer so it's easier to handle.
My crust keeps cracking:
Since this dough is gluten-free, it doe not contain the protein gluten which gives breads and baked goods that stretchiness and ease of handling. Don't be alarmed if the pie dough cracks a bit on the top. Like it said, it's gluten-free, it's not going to handle like a traditional pie dough. But I promise the work is worth it-it's super tasty!
SAVE TO PINTEREST!
Looking for more summer dessert recipes? Make sure to check these out!
Cherry Hand Pies
For the pie crust:
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp xanthum gum
- 22 tbsp butter (2 sticks and 6 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- egg wash (optional)
For the cherry pie filling:
- 3 ½ cups cherries, pitted (3.5 cups is about one bag of cherries)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tbsp water
- Pinch of salt
For the cherry pie filling:
- If you are using fresh cherries, pit the cherries and then place them in a medium sized sauce pan. If you are using frozen cherries, no need to pit them. Once all the cherries are pitted and in the sauce pan, add the maple syrup and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. The cherries will start to soften and become watery
- Make a slurry by combining the arrowroot powder and the water in a small dish and mix. Pour the mixture into the boiling cherries and mix well. The cherries will start to thicken and appear kind of gummy. Once thickened, place the filling in a glass container and chill
For the pie crust:
- In a food processor, combine the almond flour, coconut flour and xanthum gum. Process for a second or two until the flours are mixed
- Cube the butter and place in the food processor. Process until just crumbly and all the butter is no longer in large cubes
- In a bowl, combine the egg, maple syrup and vinegar and then place into the food processor. Process for 3-5 seconds or until everything is just combined. You do not want the dough to form a ball. Stop the processor right before it starts to come together
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for a minimum of one hour. The dough can sit in the fridge overnight with no problem
To assemble the hand pies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Remove the pie dough from the fridge and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper until about ¼ of an inch thick. Using whatever size round cutter you want (I used the mouth of a glass Pyrex container to form my circles. It was about 4 inches in diameter), cut the desired amount of hand pies making sure to have a top and bottom for each. The size circle I used allowed for six hand pies. You may have more or less depending on the size. Cut out the bottoms and then place on the baking tray.
- Making sure the cherry pie filling is now chilled, place about ¼ cups worth or the desired amount to fill the circles, in the center. Continue with all the pie dough circles. Take a cut out pie dough circle and place on top of the cherry pie filling. I find that keeping the tops very cold allows me to work with them without breaking. Once they are on top of the pie filling, allow them to gently warm up and then press the top and bottom dough together using a fork. Poke one or two holes through the top of the hand pie to allow steam to release during baking. Once all the hand pies have tops and the edges are pressed together, rub with the egg wash (1 yolk with 1 tbsp water), sprinkle some coconut sugar on top (optional) and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completey. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or eat by themselves. Enjoy!