Friday, February 10, 2012

"Conversation Hearts" Cherry Pies with Homemade Cherry Pie Filling



I've absolutely loved the adorable individual heart cherry pies I've been seeing on blogs and Pinterest.  I knew I wanted to give baking them a try and was excited when I remembered the conversation heart stencils I bought a few months ago.  How cute would conversation heart cherry pies be?  Pretty cute, as it turns out!

I began by making cherry pie filling.  I feel awful about this, but it was my first time making pie filling outside of  pie and I'm not 100% sure of the measurements I used because I kept adding things - a bit more cornstarch, a little more sugar, a few more cherries.  I can tell you how I started and how you can begin and tweak things to reach the consistency you want.  I learned an important lesson along the way, too, about cornstarch.  Did you know that it will NOT dissolve in hot liquid, instead it will clump in little bits?  You did?  Most of my friends knew that, too.  Me?  I learned the hard way.  Here's what happened:

I started with 2 - 24oz. jars of pitted sour cherries.  I strained them reserving the juice, setting the cherries aside.  I measured a cup and a half of the juice and poured it into a small sauce pan along with 1 cup of sugar.  After bringing it to a boil, I added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  It thickened nicely, but I could not get rid of the cornstarch clumps.  I dumped it out and started again.  Cherry juice, sugar, and this time I heated up a splash of water in the microwave adding the cornstarch to it.  I waited for it to dissolve in the hot water.  Nope.  Clumps.  I did not add it to the juice and sugar mixture.  I just stirred and thought about what I could do.  I did not have pectin and didn't want to go to the store.  I wanted to come to an understanding about cornstarch.  I'm not sure why I didn't just Google the answer, but eventually I had the bright idea to try and dissolve the cornstarch in room temperature water.  VOILA!  Completely dissolved.

So, here's where we are at (a.k.a. How to begin the process of making Cherry Pie Filling): 
1 1/2 cups of sour cherry juice
1 cup cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in room temperature water

Bring to a boil and let thicken.  Add 1 1/2 cups of cherries.  Let simmer until thick enough to spoon onto pie crust without making a mess.  Real scientific, huh?

I tasted the filling and found it was still too sour.  So added more sugar.  1/3 cup.  And then a little more until I thought it was sweet enough.  However, this made the filling much runnier.  So, I had to add more cornstarch to thicken it, without using too much water to dissolve it so it wouldn't make it thinner while trying to thicken it.  Are you following all of this?  This is the point where I lost the measurements since I was adding amounts at random.  So, I suggest one of two things:

1. Relax and experiment, you're only making pie filling and not  performing surgery.
2.  Just buy some canned stuff.

Either way, the pies will be cute and delicious!  Here's my finished filling (verys tasty, too!):


Conversation Cherry Pie Hearts

1 can of cherry (or other) pie filling (or homemade filling)
pie crust dough, homemade or store bought
edible color dust in pink and red
powdered sugar to dust pies, if desired

To assemble the pies, either make your own favorite crust or buy pre-made ones (I bought crust.  I admit it).  Roll out the dough and cut out heart shapes.  You will need two hearts for each pie.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  On the top heart, use a small craft paintbrush to brush edible color dust over a stencil placed on top of the dough., You can see this technique by clicking here.  You can buy the color dust at craft stores such as Michael's or online.


Gently lift the stencil off of the dough:



Next, place a spoonful or so of filling on the bottom heart:


After running your fingertips through water, trace around the edge of the heart with filling on it, making sure it's wet enough to create a seal after placing the top heart over it.  Press firmly around the perimeter of the heart:


To complete the process, use a fork and pressing the tines around the heart.  Lastly, use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the pie crust.


Now they are ready for baking!  I followed the instructions, preheating my oven to 425 for baking for 15 minutes, but it didn't work out:


So, I tried again baking for less time (10 minutes) and keeping an eye on them, ready to remove the pies from the oven at the first sign of light browning:



Yay!!  Exactly everything I hoped for *sigh*.  I don't mean to be dramatic, but it was a long morning of trial and error for something I thought should be pretty easy.  Don't let me scare you away from trying these.  They are easy.  Really!  My husband loved them and I did, too.  :)  


Sprinkling some powdered sugar on them makes them even sweeter, though I haven't found a way to do it in an aesthetically pleasing way with the stenciling.  I'll work on it.  In the meantime, Valentine's Day is next week and these are a pretty quick and delicious way to let someone know you love them!


I have shared this recipe with:









21 comments:

  1. These are adorable. I definitely want to try these. Where did you find the stencils you used?

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    1. Hello! I found the stencils online a few months ago. Here's a link to those and many other stencils:
      http://www.designerstencils.com/Large-Candy-Heart-Sayings-P12465C109_SKU_C251.aspx
      I hope you have fun making them!

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  2. These are very cute and so perfect for Vday!! Love it! Thank you so much for linking to Foodie Friday! Not Your Ordinary Agent
    Not Your Ordinary Recipes

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    1. Thank YOU for hosting! Everyone I know received these hearts for Valentine's Day! Not only are they cute, they are tasty, too. :)

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  3. yummO! Thanks for sharing this fun idea!!

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    1. Thank you, Maria! It's my pleasure to share. :) Thanks for stopping by - hope to see you again, soon!

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  4. these look so cute that I had to try them right away. They were so easy to make and make such a pretty presentation. I will be making them for my family on valentines day!

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    1. I'm so glad you tried them and were happy with the result! Hopefully, your family enjoyed them just as much as I did. ;) Thanks for stopping by Life Is Sweets!

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  5. Debbie! Thanks for sharing at Dwell on Joy! These look so good. They remind me of something my Dad used to make us! Have a great week!

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    1. My pleasure, Sarah! Thank you for hosting. :) I'm so happy these brought back a happy memory for you!

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  6. So pretty! I love those stencils. Perfect for Valentine's Day!

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    1. Thanks, Dorothy. I bought the stencils a few months ago and I've just been WAITING for Valentine's Day to use them. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. wow!!so creative....thanks for sharing....

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    1. My pleasure, Amy! They were so easy to make I made them for everyone I know to celebrate Valentine's Day. ;)

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  8. Very cute, Debbie! The baked pie hearts are so pretty.

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    1. Thank you so much, Robyn! I kind of fell in love with these pies. :) I still have to try to bake your apple pie squares...Thank you for stopping by, please visit Life Is sweets again in the future!

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  9. These could not be any cuter!

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    1. Thank you, Sue! The nice thing is they taste as good as they look. :) Thanks for taking the time to comment - stop by again soon!

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  10. What a cute idea! Thanks for sharing and linking up to Six Sister's Stuff! Hope to see you back next Saturday!
    -The Sisters

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  11. These are so adorable! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe @ Things That Make You Say Mmmmm!

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  12. Thanks for sharing! I love cherry pie!

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