It’s simple, cherry pie is easily and has always been my favorite pie flavor. Not all cherry pies are great however. The best ones are worth having as leftovers for breakfast. Since this holiday season is very non traditional, I decided to go with a more varied dessert spread. It started with my Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider Pie Bites and decided my two person spread needed more than one mini pie flavor. Of course my favorite flavor needed to make an appearance so I put together these Mini Gluten Free Cherry Pies.
The Cherry Pie Filling
The filling is easily the most important part of this recipe. I could eat it by itself, however the magic of cherry pie is when the tart filling meets a sweet, crunchy crust. My mini pie recipes are all inspired off of one of my childhood favorites- mini pecan pie Christmas cookies. The most important element of that recipe is the sweet crust. It’s slightly different from a regular pie in that you include powdered sugar for a slight added sweetness to pair with the flavorful filling. I carried that concept over when creating the gluten free crust featured in my Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider Pie Bites and these Mini Gluten Free Cherry Pies.
This cherry pie filling is slightly different in what flavor enhancers I use to achieve that perfect heartwarming holiday taste. Instead of using traditional almond extract, I use almond flour in the crust and vanilla extract plus a dash of nutmeg and lemon juice in the filling to emphasize the tartness of the cherries.
The order in which you put these ingredients into the filling is very important. To enhance the flavor of the vanilla and nutmeg, I am careful not to add them until right when I turn off the heat. Heat is a tricky element to master when intensifying the flavor of your spices and can completely ruin the flavor of these mini gluten free cherry pies by burning the vanilla and nutmeg. When you add the vanilla and nutmeg right after cooking your pie filling, it has a more robust aroma and the end result has a more mouth watering sweetness. Don’t forget that the pie filling will be heated again once it is filled in the mini pie shells and baked so if there is any left over alcoholic taste from the vanilla extract, it will all mellow out in the oven.
Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 c cassava flour
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/3 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c bobs red mill all purpose baking flour OR 1/4 c white rice flour + ( 1/8 tsp more xanthan gum OR 1 tsp tapioca/corn starch)
- 1 tbsp flax chia mix
- 3 tbsp shortening or 4 Tbsp Butter/Dairy free butter (cold)
- 1 tbsp ghee (cold)
- 2-4 Tbsp ice cold water
mini gluten free cherry pie filling
- 2 cups frozen cherries
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar add 1 Tbsp more if cherries used are very tart
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- dash nutmeg
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp tapioca starch
- 1 Tbsp (Dairy Free) Butter
- Add cherries and lemon juice to a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add sugar and butter, stir until dissolved.
- Once it begins to thicken, sift in tapioca starch and stir thoroughly to avoid lumps
- Turn the temperature down when it begins to thicken. Cook the mixture down until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon and leaves a line when you draw through it.
- Turn heat off and add vanilla, salt and nutmeg.
- Let cool before filling into pre baked pie shells.
- Bake in mini pie crusts at 325 for 10-20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven gets and how crispy you want your crust to be.