Our favorite baker, blogger Lauryn Cohen (a.k.a. Bella Baker), suggests pie pops for Valentine’s Day. You can also think of them as hand pies on-a-stick. First make the pie pastry, then fill it with from-stratch or store-bought cherry pie filling. Specialty companies like Chukar Cherries make high-end fillings.
This is a three-step recipe.
1. PLACE the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse peas or cornmeal. There will still be chunks of butter and that is fine.
2. SPRINKLE the water, one or two tablespoons at a time, over the mixture and pulse a couple of times in between each addition. Test the dough by pinching it: If it holds together it is ready. If not, add some additional water until the mixture begins to clump together.
3. REMOVE the dough from the food processor bowl and lightly knead it into two flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time.
4. REMOVE the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and, using a rolling pin, gently roll out, lifting the dough from underneath and sprinkling additional flour if the dough begins to stick slightly onto the work surface. Once the dough reaches 1/4 inch in thickness, use a 2- or 3-inch round biscuit cutter or a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the pie dough.
To save time, consider store-bought pie filling instead of making it from scratch. Look for a better brand from Whole Markets or another up-market store.
Here is the from-scratch recipe:
*Out of season, use frozen cherries or buy prepared cherry filling.
1. COMBINE all ingredients except for the vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
2. STIR in the vanilla extract, remove from heat, and cool before using.
1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F. Place half the dough circles or hearts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place a 6-inch lollipop stick on top of each circle, pressing gently so it sticks into the dough circle, going about halfway up the circle.
2. ADD about a teaspoon of filling to each dough circle or heart and place another dough circle or heart on top. Use the tines of a fork to carefully crimp together the edges of the dough. It is important to make sure that your dough is securely closed around the entire circle so that your filling does not leak out.
3. MAKE egg wash: Beat egg and milk/cream until combined and brush on the top of each pie pop. Bake pie pops in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The crust should look golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely, then decorate with personalized tags, like the “Sweetie Pie” tags in photo #1, or a pink or red ribbon.
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