Pie of the Week: Mini Sweet Cherry Pies

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[Photograph: Lauren Weisenthal]

This weekend, while worrying over a dessert with the satisfaction level of pie and the portability of a cookie to tote to a Central Park soiree, I landed on an idea so simple, I can hardly believe that it took me this long to figure it out. Hand pies, made in my standard-sized muffin pan and filled with the delicious, simple berries of this blessed season. Yes.

This particular part of the summer happens to be the best for bite-sized berries and cherries for filling tiny pies. At New York's Union Square farmers' market, I scored a beautiful mix of sweet cherries in gold, blush, red, and deep purple hues—the perfect combination of juicy, sweet, and pretty for these tiny, adorable pies. While I'm a huge fan of cherry pies, I know I'll be making these in blueberry, raspberry, and currant before the summer is through.

Keep in mind that for small pies, the same rules about chilling shaped dough before baking apply. For best results, treat the 12 tiny pies with the same care that you would one large pie. Punch out the bottom crusts from one sheet of chilled dough using a round cutter, press them into the muffin cavities, and allow the bottom crusts to chill and relax. For the top crusts, roll out the a sheet of dough and allow it the same resting time in the fridge before cutting into circles, weaving lattices, or punching out tiny shapes with cutters. Whether you're well-practiced in pie dough or a beginner, it's easy to make these adorable pies for your next on-the-go summer celebration.

About the author: Lauren Weisenthal has logged many hours working in restaurant kitchens and bakeries of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking and Pastry Arts programs at the French Culinary Institute. You can follow her on Twitter at @evillagekitchen.

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