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Gluten free sweet and sour cherry hand pies

Although the sour cherry πŸ’ season is coming to an end, we can still enjoy a great abundance of sweet cherries in many stores and markets and take advantage of that bountifulness to make our favorite cherry pies πŸ’πŸ₯§.

Raw or cooked cherries not only taste fantastic, but as an excellent source of unique antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, they offer multiple health benefits. The regular consumption of cherries is proven to successfully fight or at least reduce serious conditions such as gout, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or muscle-related sports injuries. They also contain fiber, Vitamin C and potassium good for the heart ❀ and blood pressure.

Sweet or sour cherries make a great filling for hand pies.

Of course you can eat them fresh and enjoy their wonderful juiciness and sweetness, but why not get creative and bake something tasty and cute with a delicious filling? Whether you use one type of cherries or a combination of both, these hand pies will come out equally yummy.

I’ve decided to make them gluten free, which was a little more challenging than baking a traditional version, using regular, gluten containing flour, but the result was even better and well worth the effort πŸ€©πŸ‘.

At the first try, I ambitiously used almond flour and corn starch, which made the shaping of the pies rather difficult; the dough, once folded, would crumble and separate, so I had to repeat the same process over and over again, until not so perfect triangular shape was achieved. The second time around, I switched to oat flour, using only a bit of corn starch and that change made the dough more pliable and easier to work with. When folded, the dough would still slightly break along the edges, but it gave the pies a nice, rustic look with a bit of the cherry juice artfully bleeding.

I am sharing this recipe as gluten free, but it’s not only meant for people with allergic reaction to gluten, but for all those, who think they could benefit from reducing gluten in their diet or are curious to experiment with less traditional options in baking. However, if you prefer the traditional version, use organic white, unbleached flour.

Ingredients: (for 6 pies)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

For the crust:

  • 3Β½ cups organic oat flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • ΒΌ cup maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • ΒΌ coconut oil, solid
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 4 cups sweet cherries (or 3 cups sweet and 1 cup tart cherries)
  • Β½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1Β½ tbsp corn starch

1 egg, beaten, for brushing

powdered sugar, optional

Preparation:

  1. To make the crust combine the oat flour, corn starch, salt, maple syrup, egg and coconut oil in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a bowl, wrap in a plastic foil and freeze for about 1 hour.
  2. Place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it out 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet and with a knife cut six 5 x 5-inch squares. With a 1-inch star shaped cookie cutter cut out a star from each square. The star should be in the center of the turnover. Place the squares on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the fridge while preparing the filling.

To make the filling combine cherries, maple syrup and lemon juice in a medium saucepan placed over medium heat. Cook for about 10-12 minutes stirring. When mixture begins to boil, remove from the heat and add the corn starch. Mix well until it combines with the mixture.

The mixture for the filling should look like this when ready. I has to be quite dense and sightly jellylike.

Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the cherry mixture in the center of each dough square. Fold one corner of the dough up and over the filling to form a triangle. Seal the edges with a fork. If the dough breaks, reseal with your fingertips.

Brush each hand pie with the beaten egg. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown and any cherry liquid dripping appears thick. Serve immediately dusted with powdered sugar or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or stewed apples will also make great filling for the hand pies when the cherry season is over.

Note: Sour cherries lower levels of uric acid and are an effective natural remedy helpful to cure gout. The finding was confirmed by a study performed by Boston University Medical Center and published in 2012, in a supplement to the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. Sweet cherries may also reduce uric acid levels and inflammation in the body.

Cherries, both sweet and sour, are a natural source of melatonin, a substance that may improve sleep quality, soothe irritability and relieve headaches.

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