These mini cherry pies from guest blogger, Cyna of Country Hill Cottage, are made with a scrumptious homemade pie crust, cherry pie filling and hazelnut streusel. These little cakes are delicious for afternoon coffee and a lovely food gift.
Every bite of these homemade mini cherry pies is full of sweet fruits, crunchy hazelnut streusel, and a buttery pie crust. The pies are a great dessert for family get-togethers, celebrations, or whenever you crave a delicious treat.
These portion-sized cherry pie bites also make a tasty addition for picnics and potlucks and are a great bake sale treat that will sell out quickly. You can serve them for many occasions and holidays throughout spring and summer, such as Mother’s Day, Memorial Day or at a 4th of July party. I love serving the pies with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Before sharing the recipe, I go over a few tips for making the cherry filling and pie crust from scratch and also show a way to speed up the process. Enjoy!
Tips for making a homemade pie crust
The pie crust recipe is rather simple to whip up, and you only need all-purpose flour, butter, sugar, egg yolk and ice cold water. The pie crust needs to be chilled for 30 minutes to an hour before you can cut out circles to make individual pies. If too warm, the dough becomes too soft and sticky to handle.
The dough makes a little more than what you need for 12 pies. The leftover crust can be rolled out and used for cutouts to decorate the pies, e.g. starts or hearts. But I used the leftover pie crust to make hazelnut streusel to top the pies, which adds extra crunch and deliciousness. Instead of ground hazelnuts, you could also use rolled oats for a crumble-style pie topping.
Tips for preparing a cherry pie filling from scratch
Cherries are in season right now, and every year, my mother, sister, and I visit an orchard to go cherry picking. We always have the best fun, and it’s so peaceful. We usually return home with more cherries than we can eat within a few days, so I either freeze the fruits or make cherry pie filling.
Homemade cherry pie filling is easy to prepare but takes a little time as you have to pit each cherry. The other ingredients include sugar, cornstarch and a splash of water. The cooking times is around twenty minutes and you have to stir frequently to avoid burning.
Sweet or tart cherries?
While I prefer sweet cherries, tart cherries work fine as well. When using the latter, you may have to increase the amount of sugar. Start with the amount listed in the recipe and add more according to your taste. The pie filling can also be cooked with thawed frozen, pitted cherries when fresh cherries aren’t available.
You aren’t limited to use this cherry filling for pies only. The thick sauce also tastes as topping for ice cream, yoghurt, cheesecake, waffles, pancakes and I love using it in my cherry crumble or cherry strudel recipe.
Season the cherry pie filling
Making the pie filling from scratch allows you to customises the recipe and here a few tasty ideas to season the cherry pie filling. When cooking the mixture add one or a combination of the following ingredients:
- the finely grated zest of lemon and 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
I also find that cooking the cherries with 1 tablespoon butter creates a rich and delicious filling.
Shortcuts to make mini cherry pies fast and easy
Now, if you like the idea of making homemade mini pies but dread the thought of making everything from scratch, then you’ll be happy to hear that the recipe can be prepared with ready-made ingredients, too.
For 12 small pies, you need 1 package refrigerated pie crust rolls and 1 can of cherry pie filling. Simply follow the baking instructions as indicated below. Use the suggestions above to customise the filling to give it that homemade flavour.
To save even more time, skip the streusel and decorate the pies with a drizzle of melted white chocolate after baking. So pretty and good!
Bake the mini cherry pies
Baking mini cherries pies is quite simple:
- Roll out the pie crust, cut out dough rounds slightly larger than the cups of your muffin pan. A standard-size muffin or cupcake pan works great, but disposable 3-in aluminum foil tart tins are a good alternative.
- Then press the rounds into the muffin pan and prick the bottom with a knife so that any trapped air can escape while baking. Brush with egg white (more on this below) and add the cherry pie filling.
- Bake the pies for 20 minutes. Then place the pan on a wire rack and let the pies cool in the pan for 30 minutes before removing them. Fresh out of the oven, the crust is very soft and breaks easily.
- The easiest way to remove the mini pies from the pan is to very gently slip a table knife or spatula spreader under a pie and then lift it out of the pan.
- Store the baked pies in the fridge and dust them with powdered sugar before serving
How to avoid soggy pie bottoms
Other than a whole pie, mini pies may not always be eaten on a plate. These little treats make great, portion-sized party food and folks will just grab a pie and eat it walking around. The same goes for bake sales. This also means the pie crust has to hold up and soggy, soft bottoms are a no-no.
My grandma, a prolific and passionate pie baker, gave me this tip to avoid soggy pie bottoms: before adding the cherry filling, brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg white. A thin layer is perfect. The egg white acts as a barrier and the cherry juices won’t soften the pie crust.
Mini Cherry Pies
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp water ice cold
Cherry Pie Filling
- 3 cups cherries cleaned and pitted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup ground hazelnut
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg white
- powdered sugar
Make the cherry filling
- In a small mixing bowl combine the water and the cornstarch until well blended, and no lumps remain.
- Add the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch-water mixture into a heavy bottom saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and then cook over low flame for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cherries soften, and the mixture thickens. Stir constantly, so the fruits don’t burn at the bottom of the saucepan.
- Set aside to cool
Make the pie crust
- Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cold butter cubes and egg yolk.
- Using a pastry blender or a knife, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like damp sand.
- Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
- Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Assemble the mini cherry pies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Roll out the dough between two parchment paper sheets to a thickness of 1/8 in / 3 mm.
- Using a round 4-in / 10 cm cookie cutter, cut out 12 dough rounds. Reserve the excess dough.
- Gently press the rounds into the muffin pan and prick each round with a fork a few times.
- Brush each mini pie crust lightly with egg white.
- Fill each crust with cherry filling.
Make the hazelnut streusel
- Knead the ground hazelnuts and brown sugar into the remaining dough and form streusel.
- Sprinkle onto the cherry filling.
Bake the pies
- Bake the mini pies in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes
- Then remove the muffin pan from the oven. Let cool for 30 minutes before taking the cherry pies out.
Serve and garnish
- Optionally dust the mini pies with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
I’m Cyna, and I blog with my sister Irena at Country Hill Cottage, where we share craft ideas, recipes, beauty DIYs and a ton of pretty printables. I’m a graphic designer and live with my sweetheart husband in the UK. You connect with me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.