Independence Day festivities may be over, but we can still keep the patriotic spirit alive with a dessert that feels inherently American: cherry pie. Thanks to the cherry harvest coinciding with the celebration of our nation’s freedom–and a handful of American songs that reference the dessert–enjoying a tart and delicious cherry pie this time of year only feels right. So if you didn’t get the chance to indulge in this classic dessert on the Fourth, consider this your excuse to make your own with this semi-homemade recipe from Aimee Broussard that will taste like grandma’s–even with the help of store-bought pie crust.
MINI CHERRY PIES
1 box refrigerated pie crust, containing 2 pieces
2 (14½-oz.) cans pitted tart red cherries (packed in water)
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. almond extract
Roll out both of refrigerated pie crusts. Lightly spray bottoms of a pan with 4 individual-size pie molds. (My baking pan was for mini pies and included cutters for bottom and top decoration of pies. You could also use a jumbo cupcake pan.) Line bottoms of pie molds with enough pie crust to extend up sides and crimp at the top. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
To make filling, drain cherries but reserve liquid. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in reserved liquid. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken and bubble; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat completely and stir in cherries, butter and almond extract.
Top each individual pie crust with cherry pie filling. With remaining pie crust, either cut out another circle to place on top of your pie (be sure to vent) or create a lattice or other decoration. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes.
Makes 4 mini pies.