Cherry Hand Pies

by Maris Callahan on July 4, 2011

Even though they’ve become trite and cliched, I love miniature desserts. First of all, you can have more than one without feeling incessantly guilty for eating more than one dessert. Eating two mini cupcakes? Totally different than eating two full-sized cupcakes.

You see, as much as I joke about excessive French fry consumption and the inability to stop after one cookie, eating healthy is sometimes an uphill battle for me. It’s not that I don’t like to eat vegetables (love them!) or want to eat the foods that make me feel stronger, lighter and more energetic (I do!), but I’ve never been blessed with a small frame or a speedy metabolism. And yet, I like to eat, including the occasional indulgent dessert. Therefore I have an especially strong appreciation for dessert that have built in portion control.

Unless you eat four. That’s a story for another day. 

I think the point I am trying to make is that even when you have a generally healthy relationship with food, it’s freaking hard to balance that with exercise and a healthy lifestyle. No matter what though, my version of a healthy balance  just might include individual cherry pies.

Cherry Hand Pies

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or about 12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, unthawed
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
Flour (for dusting)
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar

How-To:

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl to blend. Combine fresh cherries and next 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 18×15″ rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into nine 6×5″ rectangles. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water in another small bowl for egg wash.

Working with 1 pastry rectangle at a time, place on a work surface and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 3 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one side; fold dough over filling so that short ends meet, forming a 5×3″ packet. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in top of pie to vent. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

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{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

JulieD July 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Thank you so much! I love hand pies, I have been making blueberry ones & love them! Yours look so easy. :)

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justcooknyc July 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

i need some cherry hand pies in my life

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yummychunklet July 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm

How fun do these hand pies look! And the farmers markets are now featuring cherries, so this recipe comes at a perfect time!

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Simply Life July 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

oh my gosh, these are the cutest thing ever! Isn’t puff pastry amazing?! :)

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Three-Cookies July 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Hand pies is a concept I have never heard before. Wow, so much more learning for me to do!

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camille July 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

These are adorable! And thank you for being normal about food! So much in the foodblogosphere is like “don’t WORRY, it’s HEALTHY” or “hey eat this ‘decadent’ dessert but be sure to feel wicked guilty about it since you’re supposed to be living off carrot sticks!” I would like everyone to get a grip, find a relationship with food that works for them, like you said, and stop proslytizing their own personal food relationship to everyone else!

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Green Groats July 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

These just look so cute. I think my problem would be that I wouldn’t be able to eat just one. I love anything that is filled with fruit :) Great pictures too!!

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Erica July 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I’ve always been that same way! Never blessed with a speedy metabolism. I’ve never known the concept of just being able to eat whatever I wanted without issues. These little hand pies are so cute. And cherries are delicious. A great recipe for sure

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Junia @ Mis Pensamientos July 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

wow thanks for sharing your personal story! and i love the little hand pies and anything mini sized. :D

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I didnt know you lived in Chicago!

I am from Minneapolis and then Chicago. Lived all over the city. My sister and her hubs and 1 year old live in Lincoln Pk and my hubs’ family all live in the NW Burbs or North Shore. I will look you up if I ever go back (rare). I make them come to San Diego :)

I love what you wrote about finding your own balance. And one that includes desserts! :)

I love your pies…they look sooooo good! Reminds me of the Hostess Cherry Pies I ate as a kid except 10x better looking and healthier of course!

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NancyC July 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I like miniature desserts, too. It’s hard for me to keep a healthy balance, too. I definitely need to loose a few pounds! Those cherry pies look great, and it’s nice they’re a smaller size!

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Daryl (mom) July 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

You are making these for me next time you are home!

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Maureen July 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I’ve never made a hand pie before. Turnovers, yes but they were big too. I want to try these soon. They look delicious.

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Taylor July 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I can definitely relate to your relationship with food….mine has been up and down but I think I finally have the right balance! I think once I realized that eating real food (not frozen meals) and indulging my sweet tooth were okay, I have settled in at my natural weight. It’s a good feeling to eat healthy and have a few indulgences here and there! Including these cherry pies…ooh boy they look good!!

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Fit Chick Britt July 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm

These look so yummy and cute!! Where do you get the all butter pastry?

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Kelly July 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Ooo these look so delicious!! LOVING your blog and so glad to be your newest follower! :)

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Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray July 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Thanks for this post–both for the adorable hand pies and for the honesty about your ongoing relationship with food. It’s nice to hear perspective from someone else who knows about the balancing act!

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Sarah July 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I exercise to eat. It sounds so stupid, but while some days I think I’m sweating to keep myself fit and feeling great, the reality is I’m doing it so I can eat a slice of cheesecake after dinner. I’d like to say that I try to pack in lots of veg and good fiber because I’m supposed to. I really know it’s so I can have one meal during the week that’s comprised of nothing more then a good loaf of french bread and brie (maybe a fruit will fall into mouth then too). Food balance is happiness.

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Candace July 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Cherry hand pies? What a fabulous dessert! These look absolutely delicious!

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Kate (What Kate is Cooking) July 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm

These may be the cutest desserts I’ve ever seen! The shape reminds me of McDonald’s apple pies :)

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Chaya July 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I was not going to read the recipe, thinking it would be difficult. Then, I saw my pal, puff pastry and now I am raring to go. I would absolutely love these. Thanks for sharing.

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Angie@Angiesrecipes July 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Congratulations, Julie!
Those cherry hand pies you baked look so good!One hand with pie, the other with a double espresso…oh..that’s life.

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 5, 2011 at 12:31 am

I used to not be able to put on weight too and although I’ve never been in the position to have to put it on it’s such a complex issue isn’t it! And yes I’m that person that hasn’t been able to say no to dessert and these palm sized treats would be such a treat :)

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The Harried Cook July 5, 2011 at 1:50 am

I love hand-pies! Thank you for sharing this recipe, Maris! They look really good… :)

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Ruth July 5, 2011 at 4:30 am

These look delicious! I would definitely struggle saying no to these!

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Jamie July 5, 2011 at 5:10 am

I think all women tend to struggle with weight, especially those of us who are happy eaters! Now, I am wondering how I could stop after only one of these fabulous cherry pies…. cherry anything is such a favorite of mine and these look absolutely scrumptious!

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Blond Duck July 5, 2011 at 6:02 am

I love any and all pies.

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Greg July 5, 2011 at 6:25 am

I don’t think they’re trite, but practical and perfect for parties. These look great.

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Kristen July 5, 2011 at 7:27 am

I have the same struggles – desserts are so hard to say no to!
These hand pies look fantastic, Maris!

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing July 5, 2011 at 7:30 am

I’m also a big fan of mini desserts! Then it’s totally okay to try a few different things, right?? :)

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Rosa July 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

Those pies look so lovely!

I have problems saying no to the food I like… At lunchtime and dinner time I eat very healthy meals (low-calorie), so that I can indulge while watching my favorite series. During the weekend, I don’t diet at all.

Cheers,

Rosa

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lisa @ smart food and fit July 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

I can totoallly relate to you on the weight issues and desserts! I can never pass up dessert, I will actually eat dessert before me dinner (if my kids aren’t around – LOL)! It all comes down to finding that right balance and it sounds like you found it! :)
I don’t think the pies are trite! I think they’re brilliant making them into preportioned individual pies! Though I’d eat two and then it would be like eating one big pie! :)

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bellini July 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

Today is Pie Day so this is the perfect thing to showcase. As far as weight is concerned it is easy to have a misperception. I was 119 pounds until I was 30 when I started to pack on the pounds. I still don’t ewcognize the person in the mirror at all because in my mind I am still 50 poinds lighter.

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Claire @ Un Bello Aperitivo July 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

I feel the same way about mini desserts. Sometimes I cut my baked goods into tiny squares instead of larger ones just so I can justify having more than one raspberry bar or brownie. And besides, miniature things are so much cuter, right?

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday July 5, 2011 at 8:39 am

I love how these use puff pastry instead of homemade pie dough… super easy!

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Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking July 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

These remind me of those Hostess pies I used to eat as a child, but Maris, your’s look MUCH, MUCH better and healthier, too. I want one…NOW.

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Mary July 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

I think you are almost at a point where you can be called a self-regulating eater. The pies sound wonderful and I’ll have to try them when things slow down around here. I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Blessings…Mary

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natalie (the sweets life) July 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

I just flipped through Bon Appetit yesterday and these caught my eye! Yours turned out great!

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Delishhh July 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

Totally undestand your struggle – they way i do it is that i will never tell myself i can’t have something – then i just want it more. But i also eat the real stuff – whole milk, not fat free EVER. If you eat the real stuff you are satisfied with a lot less. Never eat anything fat free or with substitute sugars – you will only crave more. Awesome pies!

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kankana July 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I totally agree with you on the miniature dessert … i love that idea too and it looks cute :) This is something I should try too…

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cindy July 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I made hand pies too! These are so cute and cherry is my hands down, favorite pie filling. I definitely understand the battle between food, indulgence, and being active…mini desserts and small portions make it easier for sure!

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Natalie July 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

They are so sweet! I’m always trying to lose weight. I think every woman I know has that “body dismorphia” (not sure if that’s the correct spelling). When you look in the mirror all you see is the negative and loads of it!! I’m getting better though :D

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cakewhiz July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

i like miniature desserts too. not only do they look cute but i also feel less guilty eating them…lol

your little pies look great! i like how there are three slits and we can see the cherries inside.

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Heather @girlichef July 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

These are so great…and I’ve always meant to make hand-pies. I think I just love the name…though it sounds kind of dirty when you think about it ;) sorry…sometimes I think there’s something wrong with me.

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Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 July 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I’m with you – I like veggies, but I like my desserts, too. These cherry hand pies look plenty delicious enough to want to splurge some calories on. Yum!

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Anne @ Baking Me July 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm

These pies are adorable, they looks so good I would love to try one with some vanilla ice cream!

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sheila @ Elements July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

These look so good, and like you, my husband and I also like miniature desserts. First, they’re just somehow cuter when they’re smaller. And it somehow feels indulgent to eat two small ones instead of one regular sized one.

Sounds like you’ve found a good balance for yourself. You let yourself enjoy good food and eat healthy, and I think because you don’t deny yourself the foods you love, it’s bound to make you feel happier and more satisfied.

My experience has been that if I deny myself certain foods, I’ll just end up binging on them. I’d rather let myself eat a little bit of sweets and goodies to satisfy my cravings instead of eating an entire bag of M&Ms like I used to. When I know I’m not going to deprive myself of the foods I love and eat in moderation, I’m much healthier and happier.

Anyway, I’m very happy to have found a good balance too. I exercise and try to eat right without depriving myself and that feels good. :) And eating one of these lovely little hand pies would feel awfully good too! :)

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Anh July 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Believe it or not, the look of these reminds me of pop tarts (and we cant even find them in Australia). Very nice.

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Liz July 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Glad you have not eliminated hand pies from your diet…then all your fans would be deprived, too! These look fabulous…and the individual servings make it easy to follow my motto, “everything in moderation.” I’d love to try a peach version soon :)

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Angela July 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm

It’s all about balance. I could balance a lot of these on my plate;)

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To Kiss the Cook July 5, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Goodnight are you preaching to the choir. Like…on EVERY front. The hand pies are adorable but do you know what is delicious AND low calorie? Oysters and Champagne. Next Tuesday. It’s on.

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Nami @ Just One Cookbook July 6, 2011 at 3:33 am

“Hand pie”!! That sounds so much fun. I also like to eat small bites x 100. I tend to eat one bite whenever I go to kitchen…and after a whole day I get surprised how much I actually ate throughout the day… Okay that’s just me. But this small bites of cherry pie sounds wonderful!!!

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Barbara July 6, 2011 at 5:30 am

I don’t think individual desserts are trite at all. I think they’re fun! Love that you combined two kinds of cherries here, Maris!

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Blond Duck July 6, 2011 at 6:14 am

Could you use apple filling in these?

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Gina (The Candid RD) July 6, 2011 at 6:28 am

YUM!! This is like those cherry pies they sold at lunch when I was in elementary school, with loads of trans fat….but these look much more delicious and strangely, better for you! Do you remember those things? There was apple, cherry, and one other flavor I can’t remember. They are still around, and people buy them, and I cringe.

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Joanne July 6, 2011 at 6:52 am

You and I are so similar…it’s actually insane. I definitely come across as having a very balanced, healthy relationship with food…but it’s so not the case. Internal struggles. Constantly.

Which is why I know I would love these pies. No struggle necessary. Just eat one and be satisfied!

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Kitchen Belleicious July 6, 2011 at 6:58 am

Oh the cherry in those pies just sounds and looks so sweet and delicious. I love the dough and I can see the crust just flaking away in my mouth! I love these especially since this means i can just grab them and go so I can eat as many as I want- right?

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Anne July 6, 2011 at 7:42 am

I have such a serious love for hand pies but surprisingly have not made them before. I can’t wait to try these!!

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Karriann Graf July 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

Portable Pies! These look gorgeous Maris! Happy Baking!

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Sommer@ASpicyPerspective July 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

Such rustic yumminess! I’ve got to try these. :)

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shannon July 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

love cherry pie, and when it’s my own little individual treat that somehow makes it better :)

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Lexi July 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

I just saw a recipe for strawberry handpies somewhere, and they look so much fun! I really need to try them soon.

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claire July 6, 2011 at 10:56 am

Hand pies would be TRICKY for me!

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Nutmeg Nanny July 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

These hand pies look great! I would probably get into trouble and eat them all….haha :)

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sweetlife July 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

these hand pies, rock!! I love anything mini!! I would eat them all, lol no really I would..

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Caroline July 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

Miniature desserts are my favorite–then I don’t feel bad about eating an entire cupcake, pie, etc. Though, then I just tend to eat more than one! These hand pies look heavenly!

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alyssa - fashion fitness foodie July 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm

hand pies are such a great idea! i always love your recipes :)

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Jessica July 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Wow! Julie is so lucky! She wins things all the time! Congrats girl!

And Maris, this looks amazing! Cherry Hand Pies? Awesome.

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Baking Serendipity July 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I love miniature desserts too but have never made a smaller portion of pies before. So smart and delicious!

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Maria @ Scandifoodie July 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

These look adorable! I like to try and fool myself too by making smaller portions or cutting something in half, only to go back for more ;-)

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CookiePie July 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Thanks for the Tweet – your pies are so pretty!

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The Teacher Cooks July 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Good gracious these do look wonderful!

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Tara July 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I love mini desserts. They’re too cute! I’ve never tried cherry pie before, but I love fresh cherries. I’m sure these would be a hit in my house.

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Gen July 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Great post and awesome recipe!!! :D

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Cooking gallery July 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm

These pies look so delicious…! I’ve never tried making pies myself at home, you make it sound so easy, thanks for sharing this :) !

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Roz July 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Dried and fresh cherries??? Be still my heart! I have bookmarked this as I know it will be a hit at a summer dinner party we’ll be going to in a few weeks! Have a wonderful day Maris, as always, thanks for the great recipe!

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katelin July 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm

i’m not a huge cherry fan but these look delicious. maybe i could sub in raspberries instead? or smushed apples? haha.

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designchic July 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm

These look delicious, and I totally agree, anything miniature makes me feel a whole lot less guilty about enjoying them!!

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Kay July 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm

What a cute idea! I also love mini desserts – feels more satisfying than having to leave behind part of a “regular” one.

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Reeni July 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

What lovely little treats! I’ll take one for each hand, please!

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rebecca July 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm

these look great and its all about balance :-)

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen July 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

A good balance can be hard to find, I think all of us who are passionate about food must have the same struggles. I do think life is about the little pleasures and cherry hand pies certainly fit in.

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Little Inbox July 7, 2011 at 5:30 am

Your cherry hand pies looks absolutely delicious!

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thatssoron July 7, 2011 at 6:28 am

looks great and so pretty!

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Trix July 7, 2011 at 7:14 am

After many many years I think I am finally at the point where I have a healthy relationship with food – I eat when I am hungry, enjoy it immensely and occasionally allow myself something extra without (much) guilt. These pies would really be the perfect something extra, and they remind me of treats I liked as a kid, only much more gourmet!

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SMITH BITES July 7, 2011 at 7:22 am

i’ve always said, ‘i’ve never met a pie i didn’t like . . . actually love . . .’ and i to have a love affair with food although with a small frame and thyroid disease i have the metabolism of a dead snail, so Twiggy, i shall never be . . . sigh . . . i do eat healthy for the most part but then these little gems saunter along taunting me and i simply cannot resist . . . so thankful they’re minis!

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Alexis @ There She Goes July 7, 2011 at 8:38 am

love this! have a ton of cherries just waiting to be swooped into these cute desserts :)

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Linda July 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

Mmmm these are adorable cute and portable for outings! I enjoy bike riding and having a backpack picnic lunch – these will be perfect!

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Dishes of Mrs. Fish July 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

These pies are so cute! :) Love them!

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. July 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

These are heavenly. I am loving your site

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amy @ fearless homemaker July 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

wow, these look delicious! i totally agree with your thoughts on healthy eating + maintaining balance. one of the ways i stay in shape is moderation, moderation, moderation. i allow myself to eat/drink anything i want, but not overeat. + you are so correct that mini-desserts make that a lot easier!

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Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen July 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Ver very dangerous! I need to try to make hand pies! So portable and delicious looking! Cute! ♥- K

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Sawsan@chef in disguise July 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I can totally relate to the weight thing..still looking to find my own balance and those minitures are perfect to enjoy without guilt nagging with every bite

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Andrea Meyers July 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I love that you make these hand pies! When I was growing up, I was addicted to those Hostess Cherry Pies, you know the half-round shaped pies with the glaze? Totally not healthy and not really that good at all, but to my kid palate they were the bomb. Your hand pies look and sound so much better than my childhood memories.

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