Heart Shaped Hand Pies for Valentine's Day
A fun recipe for heart shaped, cherry hand pies that you can make for your sweetheart or your gal pals this Valentine's Day.
Hand pies.... in the shape of hearts. Need I say more?! The LOVE month is giving me all of the inspiration for everything red, pink, and heart shaped. These hand pies are super easy to throw together and would be perfect to make for your sweetheart or your gal pals. Valentine's Day can be such a fun time to get creative and show the special people in your life how much you love them. When I was young, my mom would always surprise us kids with gifts on the morning of Valentine's Day; chocolates, "Be Mine" shirts to wear to school, bracelets and trinkets. She was my first Valentine! <3 I have such good memories of holidays growing up, and I really hope that I can make the holidays just as special for our kiddos in the future.
Pies always seem so rustic and old-fashioned to me. Sometimes I enjoy making them just for the aesthetic appeal! I was reading a book recently that was based in the 1800's. One of my favorite things about the book was reading how the women went about their everyday life and what being a homemaker and housewife was like in those days. They would spend a lot of time together in the kitchens making homemade pies and other goodies, especially on holidays and special occasions. So sweet! Most of the ingredients they grew themselves or harvested from their own land, purchased from their neighbors, or occasionally bought in the small shops in town. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong time period; then I remember that I have running water and electricity and I feel a bit better ;)
Back to the pies! Though I would usually prefer a chocolate dessert most of the time, these cherry hand pies have just the right flavor to do away with my chocolate cravings. They are also husband approved! Caleb ate them all in one day, and he kept saying, "These are so good, they are just like mini pies!" or "Honey, can I have another pie?!" So, better get to making them for your sweetheart! This recipe uses canned cherries, but they are the kind that have been canned in water, not syrup! This is very important. Also, don't forget the pinch of cinnamon! The cinnamon and the almond extract really add dimension to the flavors. Someday I would like to find a good recipe that uses fresh cherries. Does anyone have one?! The pie crust recipe is the recipe that my mom and grandma have used for years. Sometimes I have a little bit of difficulty getting it just right, but when I do it makes the perfect, flaky crust. I hope you enjoy this recipe; if you make them please let me know in the comments how they turn out!
For the filling:
- 1 can tart cherries (in water)
- 1/2 of the water from the can (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. milk
- raw sugar for garnish
For the crust:
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup water
Make the pie crust by combining the flour and salt. Take about 1/4 cup of the mixture and place it in a separate bowl or cup. Add 1/4 cup of water to the 1/4 cup of flour mixture and whisk with a fork until it becomes a paste. Add shortening to the rest of the flour mixture and mix with a fork until combined and crumbly. Add the flour/water paste to the flour/shortening mixture. Mix and knead with your hands to form a ball. In order to get a flaky crust, you don't want to over-mix. The dough will be crumby but once you begin to roll it out it should come together easier. Sprinkle a clean surface with flour and roll the dough out, adding more flour as needed so that it doesn't stick. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters about 3" wide to cut shapes out. You will need about 24 hearts (which will make 12 hand pies). Place twelve of the cut out hearts on a parchment lined backing sheet.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. To make the filling, combine all of the filling ingredients (except for the milk) in a small pan over medium heat. Continue to stir 8-10 minutes until the mixture thickens and gels. Remove from heat and let cool. Add a couple tablespoons of filling to each of the hearts on your baking sheet, and cover with another heart. Use a fork to seal the edges, and poke holes in the center, or cut an X. You want to make them as full as you can, as you don't want the crust to overpower the cherries! Brush each of the hand pies with milk and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream!