Rainier Cherry Hand Pies

Ranier Cherry Handpies1

It’s July, guys.

Which means that 2014 is halfway over already. How the heck did that even happen?

I swear it was just yesterday that it was February and I was complaining to you all about the ever-falling snow. Now it’s July and it’s…not snowing here in Michigan. Actually, the weather’s kinda hot. As we’re coming upon the Fouth of July (American Independence Day, for my international readers) I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes pop up around the blogs I follow on WordPress and Pinterest that are centered around some kind of grilling or cookout food. Y’know, lots of red, white and blue stuff.

Of course I think of more than just colors when I think of the Fourth of July. For instance….

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I remember all those ‘patriotic’ American anthems that we learned in elementary school and had to sing in choir recitals : The Star Spangled Banner, This Land is Your Land, O Beautiful For Spacious Skies, 50 Nifty United States (yes, I still remember the lyrics to them all.)

It’s been over 10 years since I last watched it, but July 4th always makes me think of the movie/musical “1776” starring William Daniels (or most people know him, Mr. Feeny from the show Boy Meets World).

You guys ever heard of Christmas in July? I Googled it, and apparently, ir comes from the fact that for countries in the southern hemisphere, winter falls in July. Therefore, in some of these places they’ll actually have Christmas-themed celebrations so that it feels more authentic. I can understand that logic, as I would hate to have to live in a place where it was 90 + degrees in the month of December. After December 25th, I want the cold snow to go away, but before that day comes, I need to at least ‘feel’ like it’s winter time . I think that they may be onto something with this whole Christmas in July thing too because for some reason whenever July comes around, I get my annual “Christmas Itch”, where I start to wish it was Christmas (or at least Thanksgiving) instead of the dead of summer.

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Anyway, back to the food. A little while ago I was contacted by a representative from the website Raise.com. It’s a forum where people are able to purchase giftcards at a discounted price, then sell them back for cash. They’re doing a recipe round up of blogs featuring recipes centered around the Fourth of July/American food, and when I was asked to participate, I agreed.

I decided on doing a dessert for my contribution to the round up, and when I went to the produce section of my grocery store, I saw that there was a sale on cherries. They had the regular red Bing variety, as well as Rainier cherries. I love cherries of all kinds, but Rainiers are my favorite because of the slightly sweeter flavor that they have- plus they’re just gorgeous to look at. When it comes to cherries, you don’t get much more American than cherry pie, right? Well I decided to take that American classic and give it my own twist with these Rainier Cherry hand pies. Hand pies make it easier to share at a barbecue or cookout, and they’re just cute and pretty. I also wanted to throw in another flavor profile, so I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom to the filling to cut the sweetness a tad bit. I was very satisfied with how they turned out, and I’m proud to bring them to this week’s Fiesta Friday #23, (hosted by Margy @La Petite Casserole and Sylvia @Superfoodista) as well as share them with the folks at Raise.com for their July 4th Recipe Round-up (thanks again, Jessica :-))

Have a great holiday weekend, guys!



Rainier Cherry Hand Pies

Recipe Adapted from Seriouseats.com



  • 2 cups, stemmed and pitted Rainier cherries, roughly chopped (approximately 1 pound of cherries)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice from about 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • One half recipe of your favorite butter pie crust


1. In a medium sauce pan combine cherries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon zest. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, corn starch, and vanilla. Pour mixture over cherries and stir to incorporate.

2. Heat cherries over medium high heat, stirring frequently until juices come together to form thick sauce. Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate until cool, at least 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, cut out eight 6-inch squares of parchment paper. Divide pie dough into eight equal balls. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough balls into 5-inch rounds. Place each round on a piece of parchment paper, stacking them together so they don’t stick. Refrigerate pie rounds for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow them to firm up.

4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Place 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons cooled cherry filling in the center of each round, then fold in half to enclose and crimp the edges to seal. Brush the outside of the pies with egg and sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Make 3 small cuts on the top of the pies to vent. Refrigerate prepared pies for 30 minutes

5. Set rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pies until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


46 thoughts on “Rainier Cherry Hand Pies

      1. If this work belongs to an amateur, wonder how you would be in a couple of years 😉

  1. I was also thinking about where the time has gone, Jess. Time really flies so fast. The next thing we know, we are posting about holidays and New Year. 😐

    And these pies, btw, look so yummy and just perfect for FF crowd. Happy FF23 and enjoy the weekend. <3

    1. I know right, Jhuls! I still can’t believe that it’s the middle of the year. But I kinda can’t wait for fall, if for nothing else, then the fall baking 😉 Thanks, and you have a good weekend as well 🙂

  2. I just ate my way through almost an entire sample basket yesterday at the grocery store — Rainiers are here!!!! I love them so much even if they are a bit pricey. You really got a nice cross shot of the filling, too! Thanks for bringing to FF!

    1. Thanks Sue- I can EASILY put away a whoole bag of cherries on my own if I don’t watch it. I always try and stock up on Rainiers for as long as I can get them at my grocery store. Happy FF 🙂

  3. Jess I totally agree with about the right winter atmosphere in December. Despite I moved from Italy to Canada, I’m really happy to have the seasons in the “same order/way” I had in Italy… Your cherry pies look amazing and very yummy, you’re so talented with cakes! Thanks for bring this over to FF!

  4. Wow Jess! There is nothing better than fresh cherries, except fresh cherries in a hand pie! These are gorgeous and perfect for Fiesta Friday! 😀

  5. Oh my gosh! My mouth is watering looking at these gorgeous hand pies. I love pies, and I love cherries so this is the perfect combination for me! And even better, they’re hand pies, so it’s great for individual servings. No need to share =) Thanks for sharing at FF, Jess!

  6. These look delicious. I’ve never heard of Rainier cherries. We only ever get one type of cherry, and it’s just called a cherry! It’s like that for so many things – no Meyer lemons, just lemons, no Vidalia onions, just brown onions. I feel like we’re missing out here!
    I remember Christmas in July being all over the advertising at home, but I don’t know of anyone that actually does anything for it. I reckon it’s just another advertising ploy! It also doesn’t help that it barely snows anywhere in Oz and doesn’t get ridiculously cold, so doesn’t have that ‘traditional Christmas’ feel that you see on cards and in the movies.
    Hope you had a great Fourth of July, Jess!

    1. Thanks Alice- oh man, that must suck. I always use Vidalia onions when I cook. Variety’s supposed to be the spice of life…

      I had a WONDERFUL 4th too- thanks. Have a good rest of your weekend 🙂

  7. Hi Jess, wow, absolutely lovely pies – how perfect for Fiesta Friday!!! Thanks so much for bringing these along and so glad to have discovered your blog through the Fiesta, it’s just such a great platform to meet new fun folks! Hope you had a great time partying with us too! hugs, Sylvia

    1. Thanks Sylvia- I’m soooo glad that Nancy convinced me to start coming/posting to FF. It’s been great to find so many other great blogs. I always have a blast 😉

  8. Funny I was wondering the same thing about the phrase ‘Christmas in July’. Now I don’t have to google. Anyways, these looks really good. And that is genius to add cardamom.

    1. Me too Nancy, they’re one of my favorite fruits, so I knew I had to make something with them- thank you 🙂

  9. Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about these gorgeous hand pies, especially because we’re coming into cherry season! I’ve already received a quart of cherries in my CSA box last week, so I’m hoping for more this week! If I’m lucky enough, then I know exactly what I’ll be making with them! Yep. These hand pies!! As always, a most perfect post, and gorgeous photos. LOVE. <3

    1. Thanks, I have a bad habit of stuffing pies with as much filling as I can get away with without busting open the dough, but it does make for nice pictures lol

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