This year we're celebrating Pi Day with some cherry and dark chocolate hand pies. What's Pi Day? Well, it's always on March 14 (3/14), in celebration of the number pi, whose first three digits are 3.14.Since pi represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, my hand pies had to be circles.
And just to reinforce that these cherry and dark chocolate hand pies are for Pi Day, the venting holes for the hand pies are the Greek letter pi.
As I've mentioned in my post for these apple-cranberry hand pies, I'm love hand pies. They're easy to eat (no plate or fork necessary). They are perfect for sharing (no giving someone a half-eaten pie). And most importantly, they have the perfect filling to crust ratio (no huge chunks of filling with a flimsy bottom crust).
I really love the cherry and dark chocolate combination in the recipe. It's not too sweet, and the chocolate adds body to the tart cherry filling. It's the perfect way to celebrate Pi Day or any day!
Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hand Pies
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Ingredients for the Pastry Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
16 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup to 1/2 cup plus 3 tbs ice cold water
1 egg white, lightly beaten (for the glaze)
1 tbs sugar (for topping the glazed pies)
Ingredients for the Cherry and Dark Chocolate Filling
3 cups pitted cherries (I used good quality frozen, pitted cherries which I measured frozen then allowed to defrost before proceeding with the recipe)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice (I used half of a medium lemon in order to yield the zest and juice)
A pinch of allspice (which means less than 1/8 tsp)
A scant 1/8 tsp of cinnamon
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 tbs quick-cooking tapioca
3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate (chocolate with 70% cocoa content) chopped
Instructions for the Pastry
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Cut the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with large, uneven clumps of butter scattered throughout the mixture. Start by adding 1/4 of a cup of ice water. Mix with a spatula. Add enough water for the dough to just come together.
Split the dough into two equal pieces and flatten each piece into two disks. Wrap each disk of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Instructions for the Cherry Dark Chocolate Filling
Mix the cherries, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, tapioca, lemon juice and zest, and almond extract in a medium bowl.
Allow the ingredients to sit for 15 minutes to allow the cherries to macerate. While waiting for the cherries, proceed with assembling the hand pies.
Instructions for Assembling the Hand Pies
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly beat the egg white, and place it in a bowl with a pastry brush.
Taking one disk of dough out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it's about 1/8 inch thick. (I like my pastry to be nice and thin.)
Using a round cutter that's about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out circles. Re-roll the scraps only one additional time and stamp out circles. I only roll out the dough two times because any additional rolling will yield a tough crust.
Place the cut circles of dough on a baking sheet placing parchment paper between each layer of cut pastry. Refrigerate the circles.
While the first set of pastry circles is being refrigerated, cut out additional circles from the second disk of dough. Again, refrigerate those pieces on a metal baking sheet.
Retrieve the first set of pastry circles from the refrigerator. Take half of those circles and cut out a pi symbol. These cutouts will act as a vent to allow steam to escape from the pies. You can cut any shape you would like or simply make a few slits in the dough. When cutting out the pi shape (or any shape) in the pastry, make sure that the pastry is very cold and firm. Using a sharp knife will also be very helpful.
Take the circles without cutouts (they will be the bottom of each hand pie). Place a teaspoon of chopped chocolate at the base. Then place about four cherries (which a chopped in half with my spoon as I placed them on the dough) on top of the chocolate. Spoon over a bit of cherry juice. Place the pastry top of the hand pie (the piece of pastry with the hole) on top of the filling. Use a fork to seal the edges.
Brush the top of the hand pie with egg white. Sprinkle some granulated sugar on top.
Proceed to fill and crimp all of the pastry pieces.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until gold brown.
Yields about 18 hand pies.
This post is linked to these parties.