Sweet and compact, Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies are the perfect travelling treat for your party or potluck. The stone fruit filling is balanced with tart lime and aged rum, then surrounded by a buttery crust that will leave you licking your plate and asking for more!
I think I have a problem.
I’m obsessed with making miniature hand pies.
Ever since I made those Mini Mushroom, Pea, & Gruyere Picnic Pies last month, new versions and recipes have been on my mind. Most of all, I’ve been dreaming about making a sweet pie.
Fruit-filled hand pies seem to be everywhere these days. I’ve been dying to make some of my own, and this recipe for Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies are the answer. The mellow sweetness of the plums balances nicely with the tart notes of cherries and lime, and the crust is so flaky and buttery that it melts in your mouth. The finishing touch of a bit of aged rum (should you choose to include it) adds a warmth that just smooths all the components together into one harmonized dessert that is perfect for any late summer get together.
Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies
These Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies are even more versatile than the savory version, as they can be eaten at room temperature like any normal pie. Or, if you prefer, you can make them ahead and freeze them for easy travel, reheating them at your destination for a pie that tastes freshly baked (directions are included in the recipe below).
Unlike many sweet cherry pie recipes I’ve found, I’m recommending that you pre-cook the filling for these compact beauties before baking. Reducing the sugars in the plum and cherry mixture helps to blend the flavors, bringing out the sweetness of the fruit. The process is similar to that of making a quick jam, which seems appropriate since this flavor combination was inspired by this amazing Cherry Plum Rum Preserves. I tried using an uncooked filling in my first attempts, but I can say just a little time on the stove makes a world of difference, enriching the flavors to something truly special.
Assembling Double-Crusted Mini Pies
The key to making any pie is keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible. That means refrigerating everything when you aren’t immediately using them, from the dough to the filling to even the butter, flour, and sugar. It also means this recipe takes a little longer than you’d expect, as you have to wait for components to chill between steps. If finding one long stretch of time is an issue, you can spread making these Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies over multiple days if that makes it easier.
If this requires a little more patience than you usually give to a recipe, understand that there are very good reasons for it. Keeping the butter cold in the dough helps the crust to become perfectly flaky later. Cold filling and dough also helps to prevent the dreaded “soggy bottom” pies can sometimes suffer from. All in all, well worth any trouble, trust me.
When it comes to actually making the pies, the method is no different from making a normal size double-crusted fruit pie, just in tiny form.
Cut out your bottom crusts by either using a 6-inch round cookie cutter, or by cutting out a stencil to use as a guide (I find you can cut down a cupcake liner to be the perfect size to trace with a knife). The lids of the pies can be made easily with a 3-inch round cookie cutter (or a similar stencil as above).
Remember to add a hole or slash marks in the lid to allow it to vent while cooking! I personally love the look of the little circles, but you could also cut cute shapes or just make a few lines through the dough – totally up to you.
The last piece of advice I can give is to make sure the edges of the pie are crimped firmly against the pastry lid. If there are gaps, the jam-like filling of the pies might overflow. Now this isn’t a disaster and the resulting pies are still perfectly edible, but I figure I’d give the warning. It happens to best of us, don’t worry.
And that’s it!
I know it’s a little late in the season for cherry pies, but hopefully you can still find a scant pound of sweet cherries to make these delicious Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies! They’d be perfect for a late summer picnic or your upcoming Labor Day party. Top the warmed pies with a bit of ice cream, and you’ll be in dessert paradise.
I guess some things are worth obsessing over.
Mini Rum Plum Cherry Picnic Pies
- 1 batch of your favorite double crust pie dough
- 1 lb cherries, pitted and quartered
- ½ lb purple plums, chopped small
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp aged rum (Optional)
- ¼ cup raw sugar for topping
- 1 egg, beaten (for wash)
- Regular-sized non-stick muffin tin
- 6- inch round cookie cutter (or template to trace over dough)
- 3- inch round cookie cutter (or template to trace over dough)
- Prepare your pie dough if making from scratch, and allow to chill at least one hour up to overnight in the fridge. You can use use your favorite homemade or store-bought dough, but I recommend one with a lot of butter. This recipe is my favorite!
Make the Filling
- Combine the fruit, granulated sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and salt in a large measuring cup or bowl. Let it sit until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is syrupy.
- Scrape the filling into a large non-stick skillet, and bring to boil over medium high heat. Add the cornstarch, reduce the heat, and allow the mixture to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. The plums will begin to break down slightly and the syrup will thicken. Do not let it get too thick – it should be the constancy of loose honey. Stir in the rum, let it simmer for another 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
- Let the filling cool before making your pies. Once room temperature, I recommend chilling the filling in the fridge for at least half an hour for best results.
Assemble the Pies and Bake
- Once the filling is nearly cooled, heat the oven to 375°F and prepare your muffin tins. Spritz the inside of the muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray and set aside, away from the preheating oven so that they stay room temperature.
- Keeping unused portions in the fridge to keep cold, roll out your dough on a well-floured surface in batches to a thickness of 1/8-1/4 inch. Using a cookie cutter or stencil, cut out 6 inch circles from the dough and press them gently into each muffin cup – You should use about two-thirds of the dough for the bottom crusts. The circles don’t have to be perfect, but you should try to have at least a quarter inch of dough overlapping the top of the cups. If your pie filling is not yet chilled enough, place the prepared pie crusts in the fridge. Once the filling is cooled, you can fill each crust nearly to the top with about 2 spoonfuls of filling and place the muffin tin back into the fridge to chill as you prepare the pastry lids.
- Roll out the remaining third of the pie dough the same thickness at the bottom crusts, and set them out on a tray or baking sheet. Cut hashmarks or a tiny circle out of the center of each top to allow for steam to vent while cooking.
- Remove the chilled half-constructed pies from the fridge. Working one at a time, place each pie top over the filling of each pie. Crimp the edges of the pie, sealing them tightly. Once all the pies are constructed, brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of raw sugar. Chill in the freezer for a short 10 minutes, and then bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven, and let them sit for 10 minutes before gently removing them from the muffin tin. Serve warm immediately -preferably with a scoop of ice cream! - or allow to cool completely, and follow the directions for storing, below.