Tart Cherry Hand Pies


The note inside the package from American Spoon stopped me in my tracks.

“Hope these preserved cherries bring fond memories of your trip to Michigan’s Cherry Festival.”

The timing was perfect, actually. Not only is it National Cherry Month, but the chilly weather (even in California!) and non-stop work schedule made me long for a few days in Traverse City, Michigan, eating cherries and basking in ridiculously long summer days.

 My trip to this part of Michigan in 2010 goes down as one of my favorites ever taken. I heard from so many Michigan natives after that post, many of you from Traverse City, and I can shamelessly tell you that I am jealous of you. That’s right, I’m not afraid to admit it. Jealous of the sunshine during summer, the smiles and conviviality, the lake, and most importantly, those cherries.

Oh, those cherries.

My pantry has a permanent place for dried tart cherries as well as a few jars of preserves, but as luck would have it I was completely out of the preserves when my box from American Spoon arrived. I call this Perfect Timing.

Realizing we only had a few days left to celebrate Cherry Month, Adam whipped up a crust of butter, cream cheese and a little bit of brown sugar. Tucked inside the dough went American Spoon’s Fruit Perfect, they baked and cooled before a Vanilla Bean Glaze was brushed and drizzled on top. I photographed them, using every ounce of my being to hold back devouring them. I double checked my camera’s memory card, realized my shots were good to go, and ate a few without hesitation.

And then I ate more.

Oh Michigan, I really do miss you.

Tart Cherry Hand Pies

For The Dough
4 oz butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For The Egg Wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

For The Glaze
1/2 cup powered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 vanilla bean, sliced and seeds scraped out

For The Filling
about 10 oz Fruit Perfect Sour Cherries from American Spoon

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cold butter and cream cheese until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to just a little over 1/8″ thick. Cut the dough with 4.5″ cookie or biscuit cutter.
Continue rolling the scraps until all the dough is used. Make sure to keep the dough covered once cut. This recipe will yield 12 dough circles.

To fill the pies, lightly brush the edges of the dough with egg wash, place about 1 teaspoon of Sour Cherries in the center. Fold dough over and press lightly to remove air. With a fork crimp the edges, dipping the fork in flour to prevent sticking. Once you have filled all the pies place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425˚.

Remove from refrigerator and brush with remaining egg wash and with a sharp knife cut two slices in the top to vent. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cherry filling is bubbling out. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack. When the pies have cool, brush or drizzle glaze on.  Serve at room temperature.

By the way, have you seen the American Spoon catalog? They live in my permanent collection of beautiful printed catalogs and if you can get your hands on one I really urge you to do so. Breathtakingly beautiful they are.


  1. says

    I love American Spoon, and their catalogs are always one I eagerly await (and then buy way too much!).

    yes, their photos are great – do YOU take them!??! 😀 I’d love one of these cherry pies right about now…

  2. says

    These look wonderful, Matt! Thanks so much for featuring our cherries and for saying such lovely things about our catalog. Our new edition for spring, filled with cherry blossoms galore, mails in just a few weeks. We’d love to send a copy to anyone who’s interested. All you have to do is ask. :-)

  3. says

    these cherry hand pies sound really yummy! I live in New Zealand which is in the southern hemisphere and unfortunately our summer is comming to an end soon.
    I am wondering about the perfect cherry you used, is it a cherry preserve or a cherry jam or just cherries in syrup? would love to recreate this but not sure of what form of the cherry I should use.

  4. says

    I adore cherries!!! How dare you post such a delicious recipe…I’ll be thinking about these little critters all night…did I mention I love cherries. Can’t wait to get my hands on some cherries to try these little guys out, or I’ll just go ask for a catalog.

  5. says

    These look absolutely divine. I grew up in a small town with tons of cherry orchards and learned from my mom how to can them and then use them. I’m definitely going to have to give these a try!

  6. Bertha says

    I’ve been looking for a dough like yours all afternoon for some apple turnovers, I had to settle for something mediocre. The good thing is I still have some filling left, so I’ll try it tomorrow. Those look so good!
    By the way, you’re brown and beautiful!

  7. says

    I know exactly what you mean about Michigan! Fortunately I’m in Chicago and can easily take weekend trips there. There are so many great things to see. You are right about the long summer days. Since it’s just in the Eastern time zone and far north, in mid-June the sun doesn’t set until almost 10 p.m.!

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing! Although the Michigan winter has been pretty tame, I still am eagerly looking forward to summer; especially up north (what we Michiganders call anything north of Lansing). These little pastries may make the wait a bit more tolerable.

  9. says

    I feel your pain, Matt. :-) As a former TC resident, I also miss it. Many fond memories of summer bike rides alongside cherry and apple orchards on Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas then dipping in Lake Michigan to cool off and picnicking on a quiet beach. Sigh…

    American Spoon Foods is one of my all-time favorite catalogs and retailers. (Love Cherry Republic, too; try their cherry salsa if you haven’t yet.)

    Hope you get to visit again soon! –kim

  10. says

    Matt, these look incredible! I love cherries (and live in Michigan!) but haven’t had them in awhile. DEFINITELY going to hop on the cherry train, now! Thanks for sharing, as always. 😀

  11. says

    This brings back my fondest memories of my very first job in Charlevoix Michigan picking cherries…….40 years ago!!!!!

  12. says

    Now that’s what food is all about…bringing back memories of favorite trips or even lazy afternoons in your own backyard with your friends. These little cherry pies look irresistible.

  13. Lynn Ripley says

    If you do make stops in Michigan in the future. Be sure to check out Saugatuck. Off some radars, but is one of the quaintest small town fruit growing areas in Michigan. Not to mention the very best in Lake Michigan beaches, B&Bs and a beautiful harbor.

  14. says

    Yum! Thank you for posting this recipe since this is what I can do with my next jar of cherry jam from American Spoon – which isn’t far from me!

  15. says

    National cherry month! now that sounds like something I’ve got to get involved in. We haven’t quite got to cherry season yet in the UK, but definitely looking forward to it – one of my favourite ingredients. I reckon this is going to be one of the first things I try when I can get some good plump cherries.

    I’ve also never used cream cheese in dough so I’d be really interested to see how that tastes.

    Keep the awesome recipes coming!


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