Friday, December 08, 2023

VEGAN WALNUT CHERRY CHOCOLATE HAND PIES

A fantastic blend of slightly tart sour cherries, earthy walnuts, rich dandelion honey, rum, and vanilla is absolutely perfect for colder weather, either with a cup of coffee or a mug of tea. The crispiness of the golden, baked filo, combined with the crunch of roughly ground walnuts, and almost fudgy texture of baked cherries is simply wonderful.
They can be decorated further with some extra dark melted chocolate or even simple icing sugar, but they do not need any adornment to be beautiful and delicious. However, do keep in mind to decorate them just before serving and keep them plain in a tightly sealed container, so they remain fresh for longer.
On a final note, you will have as many hand pies as you have filo sheets, so if your package had fewer sheets, simply make the pies slightly larger and bake them until they become golden and crispy.


Ingredients
500 grams filo pastry sheets, 16 pieces
800 grams pitted sour cherries, fresh or defrosted
35 grams semolina
50 grams granulated sugar
200 grams roughly ground toasted walnuts
80 grams roughly chopped extra dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids)
50 grams dandelion honey
150 millilitres hot water
80 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon dark rum

Preparation
Place the pitted cherries into a strainer, and set them aside to remove some of the liquid. This is even more important if using defrosted cherries. Take two medium bowls, tip the sugar, walnuts, chocolate, and semolina into one of them, and pour the water, oil, vanilla, and rum into the other. Whisk the dry ingredients well, and briefly mix the liquids so they somewhat blend. Take one filo sheet and lay it flat on the work surface. Brush it lightly with the water and oil mixture, and place a portion of the cherries in the centre of the sheet.
Sprinkle a portion of the dry ingredients on top, drizzle some dandelion honey, and fold the sheet into a nice, small parcel. Repeat this with the rest of the filo sheets and cherries, and arrange them on a large baking sheet, lined with baking parchment. Brush each of them with the remaining mixture of water and oil, and bake them immediately in a preheated oven, at 200˚C, for about 20-25 minutes. Once they are golden and fragrant, remove them from the oven, let them cool down on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, and serve. Yields 16 servings.

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