I have to admit, this is probably my only successful "pie" out of the millions (ok, maybe half a million) I have attempted to make. My pies are legendary for their soupy innards and hard as a rock crusts. Hey, it takes talent to bake such masterpieces! My husband LOVES pie so I try hard to get it right each time and we both end up holding our breath as he tastes them, which we both know will turn out horribly wrong. But I think I may have kicked the string of failures mainly because these little pocket pies are not your normal pie shape. They don't require that evil pie pan that ruins my crusts (I'm fully blaming the pan) and they are made on a much smaller scale. Faulty as it probably is, this is my reasoning and I am sticking to it. I recently purchased this adorable pocket pie mold at Williams-Sonoma so that I could give this recipe a try and it made life so much easier, and of course, a little sweeter in the end.
The butter golden crust is unbelievably mouth-wateringly flaky and the sweet cherry filling puts it right over the edge with a perfect balance of sweet and slightly tart. As my husband said: "Perfection".
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.com
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt, plus a pinch
2 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 to 8 Tbs. ice water
1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries, thawed and drained if frozen
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
Coarse sugar for sprinkling
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the flour, the 1 tsp. salt and the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar on low speed for 10 seconds. Add the butter and beat until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 1 1/2 minutes more. Add the 6 Tbs. ice water, reduce the speed to low and beat for 20 seconds. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, and beat for 5 seconds after each addition. Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and shape each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
In a saucepan, whisk together the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the cornstarch and pinch of salt, then add the cherries and vanilla. Set over medium-high heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Let the filling cool.
Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using a pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape (4 solid and 4 with the decorative cutout). Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.
Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 1 to 2 Tbs. cherry filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Top with a shape with a decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Brush the top of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Makes about 8 pocket pies.