For the Pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup shortening
2 to 3 tbsp. ice water, or as needed
For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups drained jarred or canned pitted sour cherries plus 1/3 cup cherry liquid
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
To make the pastry, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse once to mix. Add the butter and shortening and process in short pulses to form pea-size crumbs, 20 to 25 seconds. While pulsing, gradually add the water to form larger, moist crumbs, 10 seconds more. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, shape the mixture into a flat disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Place the cherries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugar mixture and toss to distribute evenly. Add the vanilla and the cherry liquid and mix well. Immediately divide the cherry mixture among 4 mini pie dishes and dot the tops with the butter.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and form each into a small disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each of the disks into a 6-inch round, about 1⁄8 inch thick. Cover each of the filled dishes with a round of dough. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges. Using a paring knife, cut a few slits in the crust. Refrigerate the pies until the dough is firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).
Bake the pies for 12 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve the pies at room temperature.
Makes 4 mini cherry pies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series,Pie & Tart,by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
Date: June 18, 2003