Cherry Hand Pies – Cherry Turnovers

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The title of this post, Cherry Hand Pies – Cherry Turnovers needs just a little explanation. Hand Pies are popular in North America. They can be made with a variety of pastries types. They are usually square or round, depending on preference. Turnover are similar and are very popular in the UK. They usually made with puff pastry, of some sort.

So for this recipe, which uses a simple version of rough puff pastry, I use both terms, hand pies and turnovers. I call it simple since I only make 4 turns of the dough when rolling out. However more turns will make the pastry puffier. But for these pastries something that doesn’t puff too much is perfect. Four turns of the dough, when rolling, gives a nice gentle puff to the pastry during baking. I should stress, however, that the recipe can be simplified by the use of shop bought puff pastry. But that may need to be rolled out to a larger size, or you may require 3 sheets.

Turnovers are often made by folding the pastry in half to create half-moon or triangular shapes. But for these I make squares. I also cut out the square shapes, for ease, but making rectangles and folding will work well too.

The ingredient list is quite long, since we make a cherry filling and the pastry. But those ingredients are all readily available in stores.

Cherry Hand Pies - Cherry Turnovers


Frozen Cherries – these should be thawed and halved, so the juices are released. Fresh cherries will work too, but they will need to cook for longer to get all the juices released.

Sugar – Caster sugar, some for the cherries and a little more for the pastry. Granulated sugar will work too. As well as for the cherries and pastry a little sugar for sprinkling over the top before baking, such as demerara or granulated is a good idea.

Cornflour – also known as cornstarch, to thicken the cherry filling.

Lemon Juice – this is for making a slurry to thicken the cherry filling. It also adds flavour to the filling.

Lemon Zest – for flavouring the cherry filling. Alternatives that will work well are vanilla extract and almond extract.

Flour – Plain flour or all purpose flour.

Water – this needs to be ice cold.

Unsalted Butter – this needs to be very cold, I put mine into the freezer for about 30 minutes before grating it.

Salt – in both the cherry filling and the pastry will help to bring out the flavour.

Egg – this is just for brushing on the top of the hand pies/turnovers, and also to seal the edges.

Process for the Hand Pies – Turnovers

There are three distinct phases to the recipe. The first is to make the filling and the second is to make the pastry. The third phase is assembly and baking

The Filling

For the filling, which is very easy to make, simply place the cherries, sugar and zest into a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved and everything starts to boil. Then cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile mix the lemon juice and cornflour to make a loose paste, or slurry.

Then pour the slurry into the cherries and stir constantly as everything thickens. That will take about a minute. Then transfer the filling to bowl and leave to cool completely. Once cooled somewhat it can go into the fridge until the pastry is ready.

The Pastry

For the pastry if possible put the butter into the freezer for about 30 minutes. You will need a large bowl. Put the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl and stir them around. Grate the butter onto the flour and use a fork to stir the shreds into the flour to get them all coated.

Pour in the water, holding back a little in case you don’t need it all, and stir again untll the mixture starts clumping into a sticky dough. Continue to mix until almost all the ingredients have clumpled well, use the remaining water if necessary.

Tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and use your hands to squeeze it all together into a large ball. Then flatten that into a rectangle. Roll it out to a larger rectangle and do a letter fold. That is folding up one third of the dough onto the middle third and then folding the remaining one third over the top, as if folding a letter. That is one turn. Turn the dough 90 degrees, so and open end is facing you and roll out and fold again just as before. That is two turns.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Then roll it out twice more, just like you did the first time. That will then be four turns achieved, chill again but for an hour. That is all that is needed for this recipe, but you can chill again and do another two turns if you want a puffier pastry.

Cherry Hand Pies - Cherry Turnovers


Chilll the dough for an hour then divide it into two equal pieces. Place the first piece onto a well floured surface, flouring the top as well. Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 16 inches x 8 inches(40cm x 20 cm). Cut the dough into 8 4inch(10cm) squares.

To assemble the hand pies/turnovers brush egg around the edges of 4 squares. The place about 2 tablespoons of cherry filling into the centre of those 4 pieces. Cover each piece with one of the remaining for pieces, pressing down around the edge to seal them. Crimp the edges, with a fork or similar.

Place each assembled piece onto a lined baking tray. Cut a slit into the top of each one, to allow steam to escape.

Take the second piece of dough and repeat the entire process. Then place the trays into the fridge for 30 mins, during which time preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/390F.

Brush egg over the top of each hand pie/turnover and sprinkle a little sugar over the top. Then place the trays into the oven to bake for 25 minutes. The pastry should be a lovely golden brown colour. Transfer the hot pastries to a wire rack to cool until just warm. Then they are ready to serve.

My Cherry Hand Pies – Cherry Turnovers

Cherry Hand Pies - Cherry Turnovers

After 25 minutes of baking I took mine out of the oven and left them on a rack to cool. They did look so good, with a lovely colour on the top. I cut one in half, just to check inside and it was very good. The pastry was nice with a little puffiness. It was fully cooked and the filling looked great. Time to taste so I took a bite. The buttery pastry gave a great texture and flavour. The cherry filling, too, was wonderful. Fruity and sweet, but slightly tart as well. These make such a great little snack. They are good as a dessert too, with some cream or ice cream.

Cherry Hand Pies – Cherry Turnovers – Video

Another great recipe is Apple Pear & Custard Tart.

Cherry Hand Pies – Cherry Turnovers

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Pies, TartsDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Cherry Filling
  • 300g(10 1/2 oz) frozen cherries, thawed

  • 65g(1/3 cup) caster sugar

  • 30ml(2 tbsp) lemon juice

  • 12g(4 tsp) cornflour

  • Zest of one lemon, grated

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pastry
  • 350g(2 1/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 180ml(3/4 cup) ice cold water

  • 285g(1 1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter

  • 6g(1 tsp) salt

  • 25g(2 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

  • granular sugar for sprinkling


  • Place the cherries, sugar, salt and lemon zest into a saucepan.
  • Place the pan onto the heat and bring it to a boil. Then cook gently for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix the lemon juice and the cornflour together until smooth.
  • Pour it into the cherries, stirring all the while, and cook for about 1 minute until the mixture has thickened.
  • Transfer the filling to a bowl and allow to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile place the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl and mix them together.
  • Grate the butter into the flour, stirring around to coat the shreds in flour.
  • Pour in most of the water and stir again until everything clumps into a sticky dough, adding the remaining water if required.
  • Tip the dough onto to a well floured surface and squeeze it into a ball of dough, pulling b=any loose pieces into the dough.
  • Flatten the ball into a rectangle and then roll it out into a larger rectangle, about 15 inches x 8 inches(37cm x 20 cm).
  • Fold the bottom one third onto the middle one third.
  • Fold the top one third over the top.
  • Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out as before (15 x 8).
  • Repeat the folding as well.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for one at least 30 minutes.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and repeat the rolling and folding twice more, just like before.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
  • Divide the dough in half. Chill one half as you work with the other.
  • Roll the dough out on a well floured surface to a rectangle of 16 inches by 8 inches(40cm x 20 cm)
  • Cut it in half lengthwise to create 2 4 inch(10 cm) strips.
  • Cut each strip into 4 pieces each4 inches(10cm) wide to create squares.
  • Brush beaten egg on the edges of 4 of the square.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of cherry filling into the centre of each of those squares.
  • Place the other4 squares on the top and gently press around the edges, trying to remove any air as you do so.
  • Crimp the edges of each square with the tines of a fork.
  • Place each square onto a parchment lined baking tray.
  • Cut a slit into the top of each one, to allow steam to escape during baking.
  • Take the second piece of dough out of the fridge and repeat the process, so you have 8 assemble hand pies/turnovers.
  • Place the trays into the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200c/180C Fan/390F.
  • Brush beaten egg over the top of each square and then sprinkle sugar over the top.
  • Bake the hand pies/turnovers in the oven for 25 minutes until they puff a little and turn a nice golden brown.
  • Remove them from the oven and transfer to a wire rack until just a little warm, then they are ready to serve.

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