July is here and so is the WA cherry harvest!
Your local market and farmers market should be full of this stunning fruit this month. We are picking our Royal Rainier trees in the Lodge orchard as I type with the Bing and Pie cherry harvests soon to follow. This outstanding dessert ideal for summer picnics, Cherry Hand Pies, is from Bon Appetit magazine a few years back. Enjoy!
2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or about 12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, unthawed
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
Flour (for dusting)
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl to blend. Combine fresh cherries and next 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 18x15" rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into nine 6x5" rectangles. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water in another small bowl for egg wash.
Working with 1 pastry rectangle at a time, place on a work surface and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 3 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one side; fold dough over filling so that short ends meet, forming a 5x3" packet. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in top of pie to vent. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling. Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30-40 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.
DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature.