Mini cherry pies

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I’ve always adored miniature versions of things, especially desserts. When a friend introduced me to Tiny Kitchen a few months ago, my data plan needed to be upgraded because I couldn’t stop watching the videos on the bus. Pies are the perfect subject matter to miniaturize — you can make so many designs with lattice, and more if you invest in 1/2″ shape cutters. Swoon. These pies are only 5″ each, the perfect size for a single generous serving (or two small servings for wanton school children). You’ll also have room left on your plate for ice cream!

This recipe is adapted from the Food Network. I didn’t modify the pastry, but I changed the quantities for the filling because I prefer a less respectable ratio of carbs to fruit.

Ingredients
Makes six 5″ pies

Pastry 
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, plus 1 beaten egg for brushing
8 tablespoons ice water
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Cherry filling
4 1/4 cups fresh bing cherries, pitted
1/2 cup granulated sugar (Note: start with 1/3 cup sugar and gradually add more to taste if necessary)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract

Method

For the crust

Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to incorporate one stick of the butter and the shortening, until the dough resembles pea-sized pieces. Cut in remaining butter. Add the egg yolk and ice water, using a wooden spoon to incorporate. Using your hands, knead dough until it is smooth and uniform. Roll into a 2″ x 12″ cylinder and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the filling

Toss cherries in granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lime zest in a large bowl Add almond extract and lime juice. Set aside to let the sugar dissolve.

Assembly

Remove half the dough from the refrigerator. Cut into 6 equally weighted pieces. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface until it forms a diameter slightly larger than the 5″ pie plate. Gently place each round into the pie plate, letting the excess dough spill over the edge. Trim excess with pastry scissors (or a sharp knife) and use extra dough to reinforce the bottom of pie. Divide the filling among the pie shells. Note: These pies will not be too full (I appreciate a good ratio of pastry to berries!)

Remove the remaining dough from the fridge and repeat the process above to form 6 rounds of dough. Use this dough to form the tops of the pies. You can either create a lattice pattern or simply drape  on top of pie to form a double crust. Brush pies in egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the pies for 55-60 minutes or until bubbly, reducing oven temperature to 375 degrees F after the first five minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with dark chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

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