Serves: 8 servings
- 2 cups (16 ounces) cherry or berry juice
- ¼ cup (1- ¾ ounces) sugar
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 ounces) firmly packed dried sour cherries
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 large eggs, for egg wash
- 3 tablespoons water, for egg wash
- Demerra sugar, for garnish
- 1-¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ to ⅓ cup ice water
Procedures:You may remember the sugar-coated fruit and pudding pies sold in grocery stores during your childhood. Now, pocket pies are all the rage again. These mini-pies are filled with a dried cherry filling like you might find inside a linzer tart. They’re perfect for picnics, after-school treats, or as a nostalgic addition to a dessert buffet. Any remaining filling can be frozen for future use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the upper and lower thirds.
To prepare the cherry filling: Combine juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Add vanilla bean paste and dried cherries. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cherries are plump and soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium mixing bowl. Return the juices to the saucepan and place the cherries in the bowl. Discard the cinnamon sticks.
Bring the juices to a boil over medium-high heat. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the boiling juice, whisking constantly. Cook until the liquid thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately pour over the cherries and stir to blend. Cool completely. To speed cooling, place the bowl of cherries in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir occasionally.
To assemble pocket pies: Remove pie dough from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before rolling. Generously flour a work surface and place chilled dough disk on the flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll chilled dough into a circle, turning and flipping the dough as needed with a bench scraper to prevent sticking, until the circle measures 15 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut 16 circles of dough, rerolling once as needed. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and water for egg wash.
Place 1 teaspoon of cherry filling in the center of each dough circle. Using a fingertip or small brush, coat the dough edge halfway around with egg wash. Fold uncoated dough edge over to create a half-circle shape and press to seal and remove any air bubbles. Place assembled pocket pies on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Continue with remaining dough circles and freeze assembled pies for 30 minutes before baking. Save remaining egg wash.
Baking and serving: Remove pocket pies from freezer and cut a small “x” in the top of each with a sharp paring knife. Brush tops of pies with egg wash to coat. Sprinkle each with Demerra sugar and place pans in preheated oven. Bake until pocket pies are golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and allow pies to cool for 5 minutes. Using a large spatula, transfer pies to a cooling rack.
Pocket pies can be served warm or room temperature.
Flaky Pie Dough
- Yield: 1, 9- to 10-inch crust
To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Stir and fluff the flour mixture with a fork until shaggy clumps form. Pick up the large clumps and squeeze to test for moisture. If clumps hold together, transfer them to a work surface and continue adding tablespoons of ice water and stirring.
Gather the clumps of dough together on a work surface. If the butter feels soft, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before proceeding. If the butter still feels cold, knead the dough gently 4 or 5 times. If dough falls apart, return it to the mixing bowl and sprinkle teaspoons of ice water and mix with a fork until dough holds together when squeezed.
Flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.