Today’s recipe has several inspirations.
First was this month’s Cook the Books Club. Ultra sappy but engaging. Here’s my review.
The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I know this isn't supposed to be a comedy but HONESTLY! This is a Lifetime Movie in book form. For those unfamiliar with Lifetime Movies, they are the most predictable, farfetched, sappy stories out there. Typically theres a successful woman who ,for reasons, leaves the "big city" and winds up in a super rural town where see meets a rough man in flannel and they have tension and eventual a love affair. But then she runs back to the city and he follows her and it's usually Christmas and snowing and in the end, they wind up back in rural USA and live happily ever after.
This is that but with a punk hair dyeing main lady from the "big city" who likes to have affairs with older men and hasn't figured out how to adult winds up in a super tiny Vermont town. Rustic man in flannel is there too, but - PLOT TWIST - he's from the "big city" too! Woah! Christmas happens (of course), misunderstanding happen (duh), and the expected reconciliation happens too. Oh an lots of great desserts.
View all my reviews
Yeah, I found it laughably sappy. I couldn’t help myself. However, there was an abundance of food, especially pies. Apple pie was the main event, but many pastries played a role as the main character was a pastry chef.
Cue the second inspiration. After I made that fateful clafoutis, I had some cherries left over which I stuck in the fridge to either eat or make something later. Then things took a 180 and life suddenly became much busier as my work situation changed dramatically. I won’t get into details here because it’s my blog, but if you know me IRL ya know.
Anyhow, things are totally working and back in August I read the book thinking it was the August book (it wasn’t) and had cherries sitting around, about to go bad, so I needed to use them up. I realized I had just enough to make a couple mini pies.
You guys, I love making minis. I’ve made mini pies and mini cheesecakes. I love them because they make just enough for Hubs and I to eat before they go bad (or to keep us from gorging ourselves to eat the delicious desserts since the kids are weird and won’t eat cheesecake or pie).
So how did the mini pies turn out? Amazing! I made sure to use all of my favorite flavors from that clafoutis in the pie and Hubs and I absolutely devoured it! It was probably a good thing we didn’t have a whole pie - it would not have lasted long!
Mini Cherry Pies
½ tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
2-3 tbsp cold water
1 ¾ cups cherries
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons water, divided
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/16 teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon spiced rum
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon butter, cut in small pieces
To make the crust:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter pieces into the flour until it forms pea sized crumbles.
Beginning with 2 tablespoons of water, sprinkle the water over the flour and butter mixture and lightly mix until it forms a ball. Add additional water if necessary. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough in 3 parts. Roll 2 balls of dough to fit 2 mini pie plate (mine were 4 ½ inches in diameter)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Place the cherries and ¼ cups sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil. Whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the boiling cherries and cook until thickened. Stir in the remaining sugar, water, lemon juice, salt, extracts, rum, and cinnamon and cook until the sugar is dissolved.
Scoop the cherries out of the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Cool slightly then divide between the 2 mini pie crusts. Continue cooking the remaining juices until very thick. Cool slightly then divide over the cherries.
Add pats of butter on top of the cherries. Use the remaining dough to add a decorative top crust to the pies.
Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is thick and bubbly.
Serve pie warm or chilled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.