Everyone cue the candles and the birthday serenades. Today is my old man’s birthday and we’re celebrating with these cherry lime hand pies!
I read something in a book recently that struck a chord. In “Cold Tangerines,” the author, Shauna Niequist, talks about how we often think of our stories as being chiseled in stone- permanent and defined. Shauna suggests that instead, we ought to embrace the art of writing in pencil, living with a willingness to not plan our futures to death. Living in freedom because our story’s uncertainty is one of the few things we get to be certain of.
Growing up, I wasn’t a serial dater or anything, but I certainly had my fair share of romances. In middle school, I had a boyfriend who I never actually spoke words to. We’d pass notes in Pre-Algebra and I’d clutch that sweaty piece of notebook paper in my hands until the gel ink bled and the paper curled to the shape of my palm. No amount of writing “Mrs. Katie SanPedro” on the cover of my spiral notebook could have validated that joke of a relationship, but for 12 year old me, that was it.
Later, at 17, I fell for the bad boy. I planned my lip piercing and changed my hair, all in an effort to become his girlfriend/groupie/MySpace profile picture. Thick eyeliner and a new playlist on my iPod wasn’t enough to lock him in, and it finally fizzled when I found out he made out with a girl at his high school prom (HINT: it wasn’t me). I’m kind of embarrassed for that girl now, but what she learned that year helped write the script for the years that followed.
Over the next 6 years, I fell in love twice and sold out entirely to the idea of being in love. I gave my heart away and planned my future with men who, deep down, I knew would never be my husband. I thought, “If I try harder or loosen up or love more fiercely, maybe it will work this time. Maybe he will be the one.”
Thank God I was wrong.
I met Brett at an unassuming time in my life and something clicked. He wasn’t perfect. He looked, talked, and walked different from any guy I ever would have cast to play the role of “mine.” He came with a past, a ledger of heartache and broken years, but he carried them with a sincerity that was raw and beautiful. His strength and self-assuredness allowed me the room to be vulnerable, the space to trust and feel hopeful again. I can remember thinking, “Ok, this is it. Now my life is beginning. This is when it starts.”
Now, 4 years into marriage and a few breaths away from a new decade, my life is still far from what I planned. Getting married, moving to a new town, and living with a man and two tiny humans that call you “Mama” is enough of a change of pace to trick you into thinking that you know where life is taking you. But amazingly, I’m still feeling my way through the dark at times. Bills, tired eyeballs, and a hell of a lot more work than 26 year old me thought she was marrying into are enough to assure myself that I am far from being able to begin writing in ink. I’m the leading lady of a story that will continue to be scribbled in pencil, the ending forever unknown, at least on this side of heaven.
But I’m starting to be okay with the unknown, or at least I’m trying to be. Each chapter I live makes me smile knowingly at the pages that came before it, as if I’m telling those former versions of myself, “Buckle up. You’re in for a ride, and you’re gonna want to stick around for the ending. Also, quit stressing. It’ll be okay.” I’m thankful that 12, 17, or 22 year old me didn’t plan my 29 year old today. I’m finally thankful for this pencil-written story.
To be honest, these cherry lime hand pies have zero to do with Brett’s birthday. He’s already requested mint chocolate sandwich cookies for his special day, but I’m sharing this recipe with you today because these little pies remind me of my bowl of cherries life that I live with him- different from how we both imagined it would be, but sweet and beautiful none the less. He’s proof that it’s okay to write in pencil and to trust in something bigger to jot out your endings. So happy birthday, you old man. These pies are for you.
I was inspired to make these cherry lime hand pies because of a certain sparkling beverage at America’s favorite chain drive-in. Cherry limeade will forever be the one non-alcoholic, non-milkshake beverage that I am willing to spend calories on, because, let’s be honest- it’s delicious. When summer’s bounty of cherries rolls through, I’m tempted to throw them all in a pie and be done with it, but these cherry lime hand pies are a cheeky and fun way to celebrate those juicy reds. So let’s dive in!
To start, we need a perfect pie crust. No ordinary pie crust will do, so obviously we will make my favorite, perfect every time pie crust. You can make this ahead of time and freeze, if desired, or just make it a couple of hours in advance so that the dough can chill well. Next, we move on to the filling. Fresh cherries, lime zest, and a bit of cornstarch and sugar round out the majority of the ingredients. They all cook, popping and bubbling, on the stovetop until the whole lot of it becomes thick, rich, and syrupy sweet. Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge completely before you start to assemble your pies.
When you’re reading to start shaping and filling your cherry lime hand pies, roll out the dough to a thin sheet. Use a large biscuit cutter or a sharp rim of a glass to trim out rounds of dough. Plop a scoop of cherry lime filling right in the middle, and fold the dough over itself, crimping and sealing the edges as you go along. I use a rotary pastry cutter like this to crimp and seal my pies. Give each pie a brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar for color and crunch and then bake them away in a super hot oven.
Once baked and slightly cooled, these cherry lime hand pies are flaky, buttery, and full of super sweet juicy fruit. The lime isn’t the star of the show here, so don’t expect a tart hand pie. Instead, you’ll find that subtle lime flavor, cozied up in the background of those syrupy cherries, taking the edge off of what would otherwise be an ultra sweet dessert. Each bite of fruit is surrounded on both sides by flaky pastry, so you can celebrate that extra measure of buttery, flaky goodness. Who doesn’t love the crust the most anyways? So do yourselves a favor- skip the pies and jump straight to the hand pies. Personal dessert, no sharing, extra crust, summer fruit, everyone wins… you get the picture.
If you want an alternative to those summer fruit pies, I hope you’ll give these cherry lime hand pies a try. Make them for your next summer picnic or backyard shindig and think of me when you dive into all that ripe summer deliciousness. Oh, and don’t forget that there is still time to nominate blogs for the legendary Saveur Blog Awards. If you love the recipes, photos, and TMI life stories that you find on this site, I hope you’ll consider nominating moi. Love you guys times a million, always.
If you like these cherry lime hand pies, check out:
Cherry Lime Hand Pies
These cherry lime hand pies are flaky, golden pastries filled with juicy cherries and tart lime zest. The perfect personal dessert!
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 7
- 1 Recipe Pie Dough (See Notes)
- ¾ Pound Sweet Cherries, stemmed, cored, and quartered
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Zest of 1 lime (about 1–1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 egg
- Turbinado or sparkling sugar (optional)
- Add the cherries and lime juice to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until the cherries have softened and the juices have released.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and lime zest. Add the sugar mixture to the cherry mixture and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a heat safe dish and allow to cool completely to room temperature on the counter or in the fridge.
- Once the cherries are cooled, roll out the pie dough until it is 1/8” thick. Use a 4” biscuit cutter (see notes) to cut out flat circles of dough for the hand pies. Combine the scraps and, avoiding overworking the dough, re-roll it and continue cutting circles. Place the circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Work quickly so that your dough stay chilled. If it gets too warm, put the sheet pan in the freezer or fridge briefly.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to paint the perimeter of each dough circle. This will help your edges to stick and crimp together nicely. Spoon out 1 tablespoon of cherry lime filling into the center of each circle and fold them in half, pinching the edge of each half circle to seal. You can use a pastry cutter or the back of a fork to crimp the edges to further seal. Place the sheet pan of hand pies in the freezer to firm up for 2 hours or until well frozen.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the hand pies with the egg and water mixture and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar if desired. Using a paring knife, cut three small slits in the bottom half of each pie to vent the filling. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pies are golden and well baked. Allow to cool briefly before enjoying.
- See my blog archives for my favorite pie dough. You will need ½ of that recipe. You can save the remaining half in the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
- If you don’t have a 4” biscuit cutter, you can use a glass or a bowl with a 4-4-1/2” diameter as your stencil and cut the circles out with a knife. I used a rim of a martini glass for my stencil! Do not use a smaller cutter or stencil, as you will not have enough room to put adequate filling in your pies.