Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sweet Cinnamon Cherry Pie

And I don't mean as in an exclamation, "Sweet cinnamon!" Along the lines of "Great grandmother's spatula!" or "Beard of Zeus!" or my new favorite, "Oh my Goodnplenty!" Although you'll probably be saying something like that when you try this pie.
I mean literal sweetness, cinnamony-ness, and the slight tang of cherry pie. Plus a secret ingredient. 
It's completely different from any store-bought or restaurant cherry pies I've ever tried. I really hate cherry pie, actually, except for this one! So if you usually steer clear of sour, gooey, thick kinds of pie, you should give this a try. If you like that kind of thing, you might hate this. But I doubt anyone could hate this pie!

My mom has been making this for as long as I can remember. It's phenomenal when it's warm from the oven, or perfect for breakfast straight out of the fridge. If it survives that long! And it takes like two minutes to throw together. I usually don't even measure the ingredients. Just toss 'em in there and bake. If you decide to do a fancy lattice crust on top or the little mini ones like I show here, it will take a while for construction. But so worth it!

Cherry Pie

  • Two 9-inch pie crusts (I love Pillsbury!)
  • Two cans of tart red cherries in water (Get these in the canned fruit aisle, not like the pie filling in the baking aisle. The store brand is just as good as the one in the photo, I think.)
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Almond extract (secret ingredient!)
  • Egg and milk for crust wash (optional)

These photos are from my attempt to make adorable little tarts for a baby shower last weekend. I thought the traditional-sized pies would be awkward to serve on paper plates, and plus they're cute. It wasn't a total disaster, but I ended up making regular 9" pies for the party anyway because I missed an important step for these little guys. (More on that later.) So follow these steps if you want to make minis, or just lay out the bottom piece of the pie crust in a pie dish and skip the muffin tin part.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare your muffin tin. Cut squares of aluminum foil larger than the circles of the muffin tin. They should be big enough to press down into the cups and leave four corners sticking up. You'll use these for handles to remove the mini pies when they're done baking. (That's the step I left out in my photos, sorry!) Flatten the bottom dough piece and cut out circles with a cookie cutter, drinking glass, or something the same size as or slightly larger than the circles of the muffin tin. Place the circles of dough into the foil-lined muffin tin, gently smoothing and spreading the bottom so there's enough dough to go up the sides and meet the edge. Set aside.

Mix the filling. Drain the cherries. In a large mixing bowl, gently stir them together with the flour, sugar, almond, cinnamon, and vanilla. I use a generous splash of the flavorings and a few good shakes of the cinnamon. If you're making a 9" pie, pour the filling into the prepared dish. For the minis, fill each muffin cup with a couple spoonfuls of filling. It should reach almost to the top, with just enough room left to finish the edges with the top piece of crust.


Make the top. Here's where you can play around. You can make a plain top, which is much faster, by cutting matching circles of dough from the top piece, placing them on top of the filled mini pies, and finishing the edges with a fork. I did a woven lattice pattern, which takes forever but looks really pretty. You can even leave the top crust off the minis completely. For the woven top, cut circles like you did for the bottom pieces. Try to keep them in rows so that you can slice the strips in fewer cuts. Use a pizza cutter to slice evenly-sized strips from all the circles, try for six from each circle.

 Lay three strips across a mini pie in one direction, then weave in the strips for the opposite direction. It goes more quickly if you place and weave as you go, but it takes practice.

 Finish the edges by rolling or pressing the excess dough from the ends of the strips into the edge of the bottom crust. Press the edges with a fork if you like the way that looks. If you want a golden, shiny crust, whisk an egg into a splash of milk. Lightly brush the eggwash onto the crust before baking. (I've put too much egg wash on a pie before, and I swear it made little puddles of thin omelet everywhere!)

Bake. If you're making the 9" pie, tear off two 4"-wide strips of aluminum foil. Fold them in half and over the edge of the pie dish so that the crust won't burn. The minis bake a few minutes less, so they're alright without it. Bake the 9" pie about 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10. Bake the minis for 20 minutes.

Now here's what they looked like when I tried to pull them out of the pan without the help of the foil lining. Not great. The fragile woven top separated from the bottom. Although, the minis without the crusts tasted just as awesome, and they were easier to eat too!

So... That's the end, I hope you try it and love it! I feel like I should say Bon Appetit!


Anonymous said...

Sweet sassy molassey! That looks amazing. I'm making it.

Lisa said...

MMMMMM!! That looks soooooo good. I may have to make a trip to the grocery store!

Marisa Hopkins said...

Never in my life have I made pie but I TOTALLLLLLLLY want to make this one! Looks divine!

also, OH MY GOODNESS, I am going to exclaim 'Sweet cinnamon!' and 'Great Grandmother's spatula!' And 'Beard of Zeus!' every chance I get from here on out.

emily joy said...

Do you think using baking cups (like for cupcakes and muffins) would work in place of the foil? Somehow I'm patient enough to make tiny lattices, but too lazy to cut squares of foil to line the pan...

SewSweetStitches said...

Thanks everyone!

Haha Emily, I totally understand. The same reason why I'll spend 10 minutes chewing through a plastic price tag instead of getting up and getting the scissors :)
Anyway, the point of the foil squares is so that you'll have the corners to pull the cups out without tearing the tops. With the filling, they're heavier than a cupcake, so you can't really just tip them out easily. Sorry! Maybe if you had jumbo ones that stuck out over the tops of the cups?

Donna said...

Have you ever tried freezing them? I think these are great for my hubby (I don't like cherry pie) who is cutting portion sizes but he still loves his sweets. This would satisfy his craving without eating a whole pie which he totally would.

Lisa said...

Those look so tasty. I love how you made them into minis. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till tomorrow night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your tarts up.

Anonymous said...

Came up with a good idea for the topping, though unffortunately it isn't my own.

How about you get tiny little star cookie cutters and balance them on top of the filling? I've tried it with mine pies and they turn out beautifully... a lot easier than a lattice but just as pretty!

-- K.K.

Jennifer said...

Could you substitute the canned cherries with fresh cherries without making significant changes? There's lots of fresh cherries around this time of year and I'd much rather use those instead! Thanks for the recipe!

SewSweetStitches said...

Great question Jennifer, I'm honestly not sure. I don't know a whole lot about produce, but I'd love to hear how it turns out!

Miriam said...

Note to anyone who wants to try these in muffin tins - DON'T DO IT!!! ;) Um because I just did it and did not think about the face that the cherries bubble and overflow a bit when they are hot and then run down the sides of the cups and then solidify into ROCK hard goo that stick you muffin cups to your muffin tin and you have a big stuck together mess and pies that won't come out of the pan! I did do the other correct method with the parchment paper and they came out beautiful...just got lazy the second time and paid the price!

Mommy Hates Cooking said...

Great pie recipe! I'm adding the link to the latest post I'm doing for Recipe Lion.

PSbyDila said...

It looks delicious!

Rocio said...

wow, these look amazing!!! I'm dying to try, but do you think I could make them with apple instead of cherries?

Kelli said...

Do you have a printable version of this recipe? Sorry if it is there, I can't seem to find it. It looks amazing and I can't wait to try it.

Erin said...

Tried these with the foil as a liner, and they were still crazy hard to get out of the muffin tin, as well as to remove the foil from the pies. I'm thinking parchment paper may be the answer. The lattice-style top crust is adorable, but took ages to do. The filling is delish, though.

Anonymous said...

This recipe, cinnamon cherry pie, was something that Julie made frequently on 'THE Mod Suqad", which is why I was inspired to look for a recipe for it, I LOVE PEGGY LIPTON!

Kate said...

About how many mini pies does one recipe make? These are adorable and can't wait to make them for a baby shower this week!!

Anonymous said...

Just heard of it from Julie on "The Mod Squad" so thought I'd look for a recipe as I don't remember hearing of it. It looks great - thinking of making these for the 4th of July! Thanks!

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