Thanks to one of my sweet clients, I was gifted with a giant bag of fresh cherries last week. Usually I have no trouble eating my body weight in fresh fruit but by Thursday I was getting bored and needed to use up the last bit.
I was thinking of cherry pie, the favorite picnic staple, perfect for all the potato salad we have been having around here.
But… I was bored with pie. I started making my dough and lost any desire for a slice of cherry pie. It just seemed too heavy a dessert, and probably one I would be eating in it’s entirety since BL isn’t the biggest cherry fan.
You know what’s not boring? Mini cherry pies. Cute little handheld desserts perfect for sharing with the neighbors. I get to save 1 (or 3 but whose counting?) pies for myself and gift the rest away. The perfect pay it forward gift from the cherries I had been given.
Mini Cherry Pie
1 1/2 lbs. whole cherries
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 + 1 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold Earth Balance baking sticks (or non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening)
1 tbsp. sugar
7 tbsp. cold ice water
In a stand mixer, food processor, or large bowl combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt. One tbsp. at a time, add the butter. If using a stand mixer or food processor- pulse until the butter is incorporated in. If using a large bowl, cut the butter in with two knives or a pastry cutter. Keep doing this until all the butter is added and the dough looks like coarse meal.
One tbsp. at a time, slowly add the cold ice water to the dough and pulse or stir until it comes together. You might not need all the water. When finished, turn the dough onto a cutting board/smooth surface and combine to make a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for ~1 hour to chill.
Meanwhile, make the cherry mixture. Pit and chop the cherries. Combine all the ingredients for the filling except the cornstarch. Heat over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes until cherries have reduced and the sugar has dissolved. Place the cornstarch into a small bowl and add 1 tbsp. of the liquid from the heated cherry mixture. Stir together until the cornstarch has dissolved and place into the cherry-sugar mix. Keep stirring over medium heat another 10 minutes until mixture has thickned. Remove from heat and let cool.
Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 6 balls. Roll each ball out into a circle. (If I was more of a pastry chef I could tell you the size of the circle but I am lazy and didn’t measure… ) Place ~2-3 tbsp. of cherry mixture onto the center of the pastry circle and fold over. Crimp or crease the seal to close. Be careful not to add too much filling that the dough doesn’t crimp.
Place the pie onto a baking stone and continue to make the rest of the pies. With a sharp knife, make 2 slits in the top of the pie to let steam escape. Bake at 365 for ~20 minutes until crust is browned.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let cool.
Eat one and give to friends!
Happy (almost) 4th of July! This might be one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. It’s no surprise how much I love outdoor BBQs and my fourth is usually spent near water, either a pool or the ocean, cooking up delicious food and hanging out with friends. No gifts to worry about, just spending time with loved ones and celebrating America!
If you’re anything like me, you are already beginning to decide what side dish or entree you are going to make for the big day. Make it easy on yourself, below is a roundup of my favorite Fourth approved recipes:
Have a great 4th! What are your plans? I’ll be celebrating with friends pool side.
This is a delicious twist on regular salt, perfect on vegetables or as a gift! I made some gift baskets last month containing my lavender cookies, strawberry jam, and this lemon parsley salt.
Play with whatever citrus you have available, make a few or make just one. I made a few different varieties: meyer lemon, lime, clementines. However, the lemon parsley one is my favorite. Try it on a fresh tomatoes and corn this summer. Perfection!
Lemon Parsley Salt
1 cup flaky sea salt (Use whatever salt you like, I use Maldon sea salt)
2 1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. parsley leaves
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Zest your citrus to get 2 1/2 tbsp. zest. Reserve the lemon juice for later use. If you’re not using it right away, freeze the juice in an ice cube tray.
Place the zest onto a piece of parchment paper lying on a baking sheet. Spread the zest so it’s in as even a layer as possible.
Dry the zest in the oven for ~45-55 minutes, until there is no more moisture left in the zest. You don’t want to burn it, but you want it to be dry. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a food processor, pulse together the zest, sea salt, and parsley leaves until fine.
Place in airtight jars and use however you would use salt.
Hope you all have been enjoying the potato recipes thus far. If you missed the last two postings, we had Purple Potato Eater Salad and Spicy Thai Salad. This last one is more of a traditional potato salad, without the cups of mayo and/or hard boiled eggs. Instead of weighing down the potatoes with heavy toppings, this light salad lets the potato flavor shine.
I used a mix of potatoes, yellow potatoes, red potatoes, and a sweet potato. The sweet potato gives the salad a sweet flavor without adding extra sugar.
Have you tried any of these salads yet? Which one has been your favorite?
Lightened-Up Mixed Potato Salad
4 medium red skinned potatoes, quartered
2 sweet potatoes, quartered
4 yukon gold potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayo (Veganaise)
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch salt/freshly ground pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, then add the rest of the potatoes and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until just tender to bite through. Remember, potatoes keep cooking even after their boiled.
Drain and cool. I like doing this on a cooled baking sheet to spread the potatoes out in an even layer.
Combine the mayo, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, onion powder and garlic powder together in a food processor or blender. With the blade running, pour in the 1/4 cup of olive oil and continue to mix until the dressing looks creamy. Toss with the cooled potatoes and add scallions, parsley and salt/pepper to taste. Toss to combine, and place in the fridge to cool for ~1 hour before serving.
Disclosure Statement: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the United States Potato Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.