Perfect quick and easy dessert for Valentine's Day or any day!
Is it just me, or are foods cuter when they're tinier? Mini cupcakes, mini doughnuts...mini pies. So much cuteness!
I first became obsessed with mini desserts while planning our wedding last summer. My husband and I decided to have a mini dessert bar, complete with mini tarts, mini pudding cups, and mini pies-on-a-stick shaped like our home state of Minnesota!
Since then, I couldn't stop thinking about how great it would be to make mini pies in the shape of hearts for Valentine's Day. I mean, wouldn't that be cute? 😉
I had a problem though. Ever since going vegan, my attempts at a vegan pie crust were pretty sad. Instead of buttery and flakey, I got dry and tough with clumps of coconut oil. 👎🏼
After those disappointing pieces of pie I was pretty nervous to make pie crust from scratch again. "I think I'll just get a pre-made pie crust from the store," I told my husband. "You know, the frozen ones."
Let's just say, he was having none of it.
Pie is homey. It expresses tenderness and caring. No frozen pie crust in the world can compare to one made at home, with love. Plus, it simply tastes way better!
Thus began my research on making the perfect coconut oil pie crust. Thankfully, I didn't have to search to long, since Ashlae from Oh, Ladycakes already figured it out (thanks Ashlae!).
Biggest lesson learned? Coconut oil is not a butter substitute. You can't incorporate it the same way you do with butter, while it’s hard and cold, and with a pastry cutter or two knives. Who would've thunk?
And now that I've tasted this pie crust perfection, I'm never going back. So sweet, so buttery, so flaky! Can it be fall again? I'm ready to bake.
Since I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of whole wheat flour (there's a difference) to make these hand pies, I adapted her recipe a bit. If you want to read the whole method on making the perfect coconut oil pie crust, head on over to her blog, Oh, Ladycakes.
AND, since we're all about making things from scratch around here, I even made some cherry pie filling! Blending up the dried pineapple gives the filling a special tartness to it (no, it doesn't taste like pineapple) and the cornstarch helps thicken it up. And of course, a little sugar sweetens things up.
One of the reasons I created this site is so I can encourage people to live a slower life, to take a step back from the everyday hustle and bustle and reignite the beauty of old-time traditions (with a modern twist, of course).
So while you could always cheat and use a frozen pie crust and canned filling, I encourage you to take the extra time to slow down and make something with your own two hands!
Seriously though, don’t be intimidated by making these from scratch. They aren’t hard to make and there are so many possibilities for filling! Apple, blueberry, strawberry or any other wild berry would be absolutely amazing. Change it up however you like.
So grab your sweetheart, flour up your rolling pin and get baking!
Heart Shaped Cherry Hand Pies
For the pie crust:
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 3-4 tbsp water, ice cold
For the pie filling:
- 1/2 cup dried pineapple
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 cups red pie cherries
- 1 tbsp sugar, to taste
For the icing:
- 1/2 cup powered sugar, heaping
- 2 tbsp soymilk
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Place the dough on a well-floured surface and roll out until it's about an 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of the dough. Transfer half of the hearts to the baking sheet and set the other half aside. I got 16 hearts out of the dough.
- Place one or two cherries and a little sauce in the middle of the hearts that are on the baking sheet. Carefully set the remaining hearts on top of the ones with the fruit. Gently press down with your fingers to line it up and start sealing it, but don't press too hard!
- With the tines of a fork, press around the edges of the hearts to seal, then use a small knife to cut two small vents in the top of each heart.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are golden, rotating the pan half way through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Add the powdered sugar to a bowl and slowly stir in the milk until it's a smooth, slightly runny consistency. Drizzle over the hearts while they are still warm.
COCONUT OIL PIE CRUST
(recipe adapted from Oh, Ladycakes)
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Transfer the bowl to the freezer and freeze for 15 minutes.
- Once the flour has chilled, slowly drizzle in the melted coconut oil, one tablespoon at a time, squeezing the mixture between your fingers until all the coconut oil has been evenly dispersed (note: the coconut oil doesn’t have to be cooled to room temperature, but it shouldn't be hot, just liquid). Once all the coconut oil has been added, the mixture should look crumbly with some clumps. Transfer the bowl to the freezer again for 15 minutes and get your ice water ready.
- After 15 minutes, remove the mixture and break up any big, hard clumps with your fingers. You don’t have to get all of them, so do this quickly. Drizzle in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, gently mixing with your fingers like before. Be careful not to add too much water, so add it in slowly.
- Once your mixture seems like it’ll hold together (not too wet though!), form it into a ball of dough. The dough is going to feel tough and dry, but it will soften as it rests. Tightly wrap the dough in plastic and flatten it into a smooth, round disc. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you don’t want to use the pie crust right away, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours (or frozen for up to two weeks), but will need to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Frozen dough will need to be moved to the refrigerator overnight, then allowed to rest at room temperature as stated above.
Yield: Enough dough for one 8-9″ single pie crust or 8 3″ hand pies.
CHERRY PIE FILLING
- Add the dried pineapple, water, and cornstarch to a blender. Blend until mixture is smooth and frothy.
- Pour the mixture into a pot on medium-high heat. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes thick.
- Add in the cherries and sugar. Let cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cherries (not just the sauce) should taste sweet, so cook longer/add more sugar as necessary.
- Once cooked, take off heat and let cool before using. You can store any leftovers in a jar in the refrigerator.
Do you like baking from scratch? Tried this recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
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