Although some kids are going back to school this week, I’m thankful we have a month left before my kids do. Four more weeks of going to the beach and swimming in the lake, sleeping in without a jolting alarm beeping us out of slumber, and spending time with the people we love the most.
When friends of my children come over, I’ve discovered they don’t mind getting their hands busy and covered with flour with a fun baking project – especially one they can take home. Today, I’m happy to have our friend Amaya over because she is new to baking and soaks in the entire process from start to finish. She is inquisitive, asking the right questions about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’, and is excited to see and taste the final product.
Older elementary aged kids seem to be the most eager to learn how to cook in the kitchen, because they tend to take a more independent approach to executing simple instructions without being overly concerned about the recipe. Instead, it’s all about discovery and learning how to make a dish on their own while having fun.
For today’s baking project, we decided on cherry hand pies. These mini desserts are easy to make and “oh-so-cute” (my daughter’s words, not mine). In my experience, the most frustrating aspect to making a pie is rolling the crust out without it tearing. The beauty of hand pies, aside from their cuteness factor, is how forgiving rolling small balls of pie dough can be compared to the full sized version. Ripping the dough is practically a non-issue, since we are working with very little dough, which can easily be lifted off a floured covered surface.
When kids accomplish a delicious baking project like this, it gives them the confidence to try new things in the kitchen. The more they explore cooking and baking from scratch, the less they will depend on packaged foods. They’ll also be more likely to appreciate all of the wonderful benefits cooking from home can provide. Who can resist the scent of a homemade pie wafting through the air? Or what about the first bite of warm pie? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I invite you to try this recipe and discover what all the fuss is about.
Recipe: Easy Cherry Hand Pies
An easy cherry hand pie recipe using homemade crust and fresh, in-season red cherries. Easy enough for kids to make on their own.
- 1 cup chopped cherries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Up to 2 tablespoons water
- one egg mixed with 2 teaspoons of water.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- To make the filling, mix the chopped cherries with the sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, and salt.
- To make the crust, add the flour, butter, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulsate until the mixture resembles fine corn meal.
- Add the vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon water and pulsate again. Add more water if needed. Dough should be workable but not sticky.
- On a flour dusted surface, roll and cut the dough into small 4 inch circles that are 1/16-inch thick.
- Spoon a tablespoon of filling on to one circle of dough. Place another dough circle on top of the filling and crimp it down with a fork until the edges are sealed. Repeat this until all the dough is used up.
- Cut a "X" on top of each unbaked pie.
- Brush each pie top with egg wash.
- Place the pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes and allow the pies to cool 10 minutes before serving.