Cherry Hand Pies

When I posted about my homemade almond extract project on Monday, I suppose I was putting the pit in front of the cherry, so to speak.

I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world I did with all those cherries I had to have eaten to get to all those pits?

Ate them by the bowl-fulls, mostly.

However, when I realized that the last of my plethora of cherries were a little past their peak, I decided to do something else with them.  Cooking something is a really good way to disguise the fact that it’s not super fresh.  Shhhhh….Don’t tell Wheat that.

Over-Ripe Cherries | Oysters & Pearls

First, I had to pit them all.  After reading the many suggestions on Chowhound for how to pit cherries quickly, and trying a few different methods (seriously didn’t get the bobby pin trick?!), I came up with a pretty dern efficient way to get ‘er done.

Easy Way to Pit Cherries | Oysters & Pearls

I scrounged around in my college kitchen remnants and found a funnel flask.  I tried an icing piping star tip and tried to pit cherries a la Martha Stewart, but I just ended up bending the tip.  The funnel worked MUCH better.  It’s sturdy, stable, and fit perfectly.

Just place a cherry (stem removed) stem side down on top of the funnel and push it down!

The pit almost always stayed in the tip of the funnel, and the cherries (mostly) remained intact.  Beware though – this is a MESSY process.  I highly recommend an apron.

Anyway, I was left with a bowl full of pitted cherries!

Pitted Cherries | Oysters & Pearls

And their pits!  Into the freezer went the pits for future almond extract.

Cherry Pits | Oysters & Pearls

Now what to do?  I wanted something easy.  I decided to go with cherry hand pies!

Semi-Homemade Miniature Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

Semi-Homemade because I didn’t have the time nor the energy to make the pie crusts.

After a decent amount of Googling, I came up with a super simple recipe for cherry pie filling based on probably 8 I found and liked online.

Cherries, Sugar, Salt, & Vanilla for Pie Filling | Oysters & Pearls

Simple Cherry Pie Filling


– approximately 2 cups of pitted fresh cherries
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon (a little overflowing) vanilla extract
– 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (I eyeballed half of a 1/4 teaspoon – aka just a pinch!)
– 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (aka 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons)
– 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water (again, 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons)


Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water and set aside.  Add the cherries, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat for about five minutes, or until the cherries really start to release their juices.  Re-whisk the cornstarch/water mixture and add it to the cherries.  Stir together and bring to a rapid boil, stirring often.  Remove from heat (just after bringing to a boil).  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Boiling Cherry Pie Filling | Oysters & Pearls

Cherry mixture boiling (above) and the finished pie filling (below) for reference and pretty pictures.

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling | Oysters & Pearls

To make the hand pies (aka tiny, hand-held size pies), I used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts.  Just call this post Semi-Homemade with Nata-lie.  #foodnetworkjokes

Using a Vintage Biscuit Cutter to Cut Mini Pie Crusts | Oysters & Pearls

The first round I tried using an old biscuit cutter to cut out circles, which I filled with about 1 tablespoon of filling, then placed another one on top and crimped the edges with fork tines.  I do not recommend this method.  It is messier and has more chances of leaking, and I didn’t think they were as cute as the second method.

Round Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

Second go-round I tried using a much larger scalloped cookie cutter and then folding that in half.  Winner winner!

Fold Over Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

For whatever method of hand pie formation you use, to create an egg wash, I mixed two egg whites (or if you save egg whites in the fridge like I do, two tablespoons of egg white) with one tablespoon of cold water.  Use a pastry brush to brush the egg white wash over all the hand pies.  I then sprinkled some sugar on them for a little sweetness and sparkles.  Oh, and don’t forget to use a sharp paring knife to cut slits in the top.  Otherwise, your cherry hand pies will most definitely explode.

Bake on parchment paper or a Silpat (I only had one Silpat, so one baking sheet has parchment paper and one has a Silpat).

Side note: Silpats are awesome.  I want 20 of them, and if you bake or cook a lot, so should you.  They are French silicone non-stick, non-slide, awesome baking sheet liners that are also perfect for rolling out doughs.

I baked these at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  They could have stayed in a minute more, but they turned out REALLY tasty!

Miniature Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

And what doesn’t taste better in miniature form?

Semi-Homemade Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

I went a little crazy with the pictures.

Mini Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

This was on Sunday, and Wheat came home from playing golf to a house smelling like cherry pie, and I won the wifey of the year award.

I barely. did. anything.  Again, do not tell Wheat this.

Cherry Hand Pies | Oysters & Pearls

Make these.  Go forth and impress people, y’all.

Harold, however, was unimpressed, as he did not get to taste-test any cherry hand pies.

Worn Out Pup | Oysters & Pearls

Sorry, Hal.


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16 thoughts on “Cherry Hand Pies

  1. Chanda

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them. I also love your photography; you did a great job all the way around. If they taste half as good as they look they scored a 10!! I look forward to future posts.

  2. Pingback: Sand Pear, Pecan Frangipane, & Mayhaw Jelly Tart - Oysters & Pearls

  3. Charlene

    Thanks for the recipe! I used the cherry filling for a homemade cheesecake. This will be going to my husband’s coworker as a housewarming gift.

  4. Karyn Reiland

    I just got a great deal on beautiful cherries at the local Amish market and am making a topping for a cheesecake for my daughter-in-laws birthday. I found that a plain old straw works great at getting the pits out! I use it for strawberries so I thought I’d give it a try and voila out they popped! I just put the cherries over a bowl,push the straw through the center and out goes the pit into the end of the straw. Push the pit into the bowl and next. For the non-funnel owners.

  5. Diane Lamm

    I’m using the recipe for regular pie filling. I hadn’t found just the right recipe for fresh cherries.
    Oxo makes a cherry pitter. It can also be used for olives. I use it often, it’s worth the purchase . Not just for cherries, the tool makes it easy to make your own stuffed olives.

  6. Erica

    I’m planning on using this for some cherry pies for Thanksgiving this week. Is this recipe the equivalent to one can of the cherry pie filling? Thanks!

    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      I’m not sure if it’s the equivalent to a can, actually. I’ve never used a can filling, but I do think this would make one regular size pie – but if you try it, please do come back and let me know! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Elizabeth

    Hi! This looks delicious! I was wondering if I would be able to use frozen cherries? And if so would I need to make any changes. Thank you!

    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      Hi! Thanks :) I’m sure you probably could! I would thaw them in a mesh strainer over a bowl and allow them to drain completely before using them. Let me know how it works out if you think about it! Happy baking!


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