Muffin-Tin Cherry Pies

July 14th, 2009 by megan · 13 Comments

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Muffin-Tin Cherry Pies

Muffin-Tin Cherry Pies

I wanted a pie version of the cupcake. That is to say, a portable, easy to eat in a couple of bites, cute-as-a-button version of a slice of pie. I didn’t think that little pie tins would allow easy release of said imaginary mini-pie, so I decided to use a muffin tin. Now, I’m not going to lie. Assembling these little tiny pies is a bit of an ordeal. But in the end, you will be rewarded with little, tiny pies that are absolutely perfect for a picnic. I am going to try blueberry or peach mini-pies next.

I used King Arthur Flour’s Mellow Pastry Blend, and I have to say that I’m going to find it hard to go back to using regular all-purpose flour in my pie crusts – the pastry flour made such a difference in the flakiness and tenderness of the crust, even after re-rolling the scraps several times.  A little pie-dough making tutorial is here.  Also – don’t be tempted to substitute sweet cherries for the sour cherries. While sweet cherries are delicious in pies, no doubt, there is no substitute for the tart zinginess of sour cherries. Combined with the flaky buttery-ness of the crust, you’ll be in heaven. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream….don’t even get me started.

(Makes 12 mini-pies)

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and well-chilled
6-8 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
3 cups sour cherries, washed, stemmed, and pitted
3/4 cup raw or granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Special Equipment: Food processor, 12-cup muffin tin, 4-inch biscuit or other cutter, 3-inch biscuit or other cutter

For the crust:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse once or twice to blend.
  2. Add the butter and pulse several times, or until the the mixture has a course, sandy texture but still has chunks of fat about the size of a pea.
  3. Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water, and pulse again to combine. Pinch a bit of the dough mixture between your fingers. If it holds together, the dough is ready. If not, add additional tablespoons of ice water, one tablespoon at a time. The dough will not form a ball (you will do that later).
  4. Dump the mixture on a large piece of parchment or wax paper and divide the pile roughly in half. Combine each half of the dough bits into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Roll the disks’ sides on the counter to smooth (this will keep your dough from forming cracks when you roll it out).
  5. Wrap each dough disk in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray, or lightly butter each muffin cup.

For the filling:

  1. Combine the pitted cherries, the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine.

To assemble and bake:

  1. After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, take one dough disk out.
  2. Roll out to 12-inches in diameter (I roll my dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to make life a little bit easier).
  3. Cut out as many 4-inch circles as you can, then re-roll the scraps and cut additional circles until you have 12. If it is very hot in your kitchen, you may have to periodically refrigerate your dough to keep it from sticking. (Note: if you don’t have enough dough with the first disk to make 12 four-inch circles – it’s OK. You can use the second dough disk to finish making the rest.)
  4. Fit each 4-inch dough disk into the muffin cups, gently fitting the dough into the corners of each cup. Refrigerate the muffin tin while you roll the remaining dough.
  5. Take the remaining dough disk out of the refrigerator. Roll to 12-inches in diameter.
  6. Cut out as many 3-inch circles as you can, then re-roll the scraps and cut out additional circles until you have 12. Refrigerate the dough disks if they become too soft to work with.
  7. Remove the dough-lined muffin tin from the refrigerator. Spoon in the prepared filling (I used a size 40 ice cream scoop).
  8. Top each cup with a disk of dough. As best you can, pinch together the top and the bottom dough disks. (I just sort of gently pushed them together as best I could.)
  9. Cut vents in the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the crust is golden brown.
  11. Cool completely on a wire rack. Run a flexible, sharp knife around the sides of the muffin tin to release your mini-pies.


Elle Jul 14, 2009 at 10:42 am

Oh! They’re so stinkin’ cute! Cherry pie is my all time favorite. I have such a hard time rolling out pie crust, though. And transferring it to the pan gets me, too. ugh.

These are gorgeous!

Jules Jul 14, 2009 at 10:45 am

I love them!

nina Jul 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Muffin-size….yeah, that means I can get 2!!!!Divine!!

katiek @kitchensidecear Jul 14, 2009 at 11:18 pm

i have been trying to find solutions for my buyers remorse for buying a sh-t ton of cherries. Can i do this with regular cherries? ie not sour?

megan Jul 15, 2009 at 10:25 am

Elle – if you haven’t already – try rolling your dough out between 2 pieces of non-stick parchment. Then refrigerate (on the parchment) before you transfer to the pan. It helps a lot.
Katie – Yes, you could totally do this w/regular cherries, BUT reduce the amount of sugar a great deal and maybe add a bit of lemon juice. It won’t taste the same but it will still be good. You may want to cut the cherries in half, too – sour cherries tend to be a lot smaller in size than the sweet cherries. I’ve got a ton of sweet cherries, too – I think I’m going to make sorbet using that strawberry sorbet recipe I posted the other day as my base recipe.

jessie Jul 15, 2009 at 5:21 pm

you are a genius.

Daily Spud Jul 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm

There is something just so appealing about an individually-sized pie. Even better if it’s a cherry pie. Add vanilla ice cream and, yep, I hear ya – that’s heaven and a bit extra!

Lisa (dinner party) Aug 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm

What a clever idea! And the pies are so cute too.

Eat It Brooklyn Nov 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

This is the best idea! My favorite part of the pie is the crust anyway. Thank you!

Louise Sep 6, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for the recipe. Great idea to make them in a muffin tin.

For those who don’t have parchment paper on hand, use plastic wrap. Dampen countertop. Lay two pieces of plastic wrap on the counter (about 16″ long each), overlapping the longest sides by about 2 inches. Flour well. Place dough and top with another two pieces which have been well floured. Plastic is great because you can see exactly what the dough is doing when you’re rolling.

As an alternative, I add flour not cornstarch to the cherries, along with some little pieces of butter and some almond extract which goes really well with cherries. Mix well but gently.


SarahT Jan 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Hey, I noticed in the picture that you only had a small pinhole in the top of your pies, I tried doing it that way with my pies and it kept popping the top off of the pie because of the expansion of the filling in the oven… maybe i filled it too much? When I made bigger vent holes it still happened… I’m not really sure what to do so I guess my real question is, how much are you filling your pies and what is the best way to pinch the crust together so that it doesn’t detach? (I’m a new baker and am experimenting with limited success sometimes, any tips you have would be great… my food tastes good but i can never get the intended presentation.)

also, before I forget; I’m having trouble popping my pies out of the tin… I’ve tried butter, flour, butter and flour, and Pam for baking. Any tips?

Thanks so much!

ben Nov 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm

i did this with chocolate pie filling, topped it with whipped cream and peanut butter chocolate drizzled over the top- was fantastic.

sweet cherry | Treelife Coaching Jul 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

[...] climbing, reaching, cherry-tree yoga, sweeping, de-stemming, washing, pitting, mixing with goodies, crust-making, jam cooking and canning, well, I think I deserve some pie [...]

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