North Carolinians are quite proud of Cheerwine and rightfully so. It has been produced in Salisbury, NC since 1917. People often ask, “Is it alcoholic?” Well it isn’t, but it did get its name from its red wine appearance. There’s no better way to celebrate the 4th of July in North Carolina than with Cheerwine Pies and we've been doing it for almost a century. You can start with the home-made cream cheese dough below or nowadays just buy pie dough from your grocery store. Either way the cheery filling and a drizzle of Cheerwine glaze on top will add sparkle to your 4th of July celebration.
Ingredients for Cheerwine cherry filling:
1 cup tart cherries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup Cheerwine soft drink
3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Ingredients for pie dough (if you want to make your own):
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
3 ounces cream cheese
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
Ingredients for Cheerwine glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons Cheerwine
Directions for Cheerwine cherry filling:
Place cherries and Cheerwine in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. After cherries lose considerable juice at about 10-15 minutes, remove from heat.
In a small bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. Pour mixture into hot cherries and mix well.
Return mixture to stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and place in fridge until chilled.
Directions for pie dough:
Preheat oven to 425° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, mix flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add cream cheese and butter into flour mixture and pulse about 6 times to cut the fat into the flour.
Add milk and almond extract and blend until a loose dough begins to form.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly flour top of dough and roll it out to a 12 x 15-inch square. Cut it into about 16 circles with a 3 ½-inch cookie cutter.
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of chilled cherry pie filling into the middle of 8 of the circles, leaving at least a ½-inch margin around the edges.
Place 8 other circles on top of the filled ones, using a fork to crimp the edges closed. Poke vents in each individual pie. Don’t worry if they look messy and the cherry filling oozes out a bit. They’ll be fine!
Directions for baking and glazing:
Brush hand pies with egg wash mixture and sprinkle with extra sugar.
Bake in the 425° oven for 15-17 minutes, until the pie tops are golden brown.
Cool the pies for approximately 30 minutes and whisk together powdered sugar and Cheerwine in a small measuring cup with a pour spout.
Drizzle over the pies.
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