With their deep-red, glistening skin, luscious cherries add a rich sweetness and vibrant colour to summer desserts
950g cherries, stoned
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
250g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
1 egg yolk
4 drops pink food colouring gel
400ml cold water, plus 1 tsp
3 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
large baking tray
mini heart cookie cutter
Place 50g of the cherries in a food processor and blend until a fine puree. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, butter and 50g of the sugar, then rub the butter into the dry ingredients until completely integrated and resembling breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolk, liquidised cherries and 2 drops of food colouring, and stir until a dough. Knead the dough with one hand in the bowl for 1 min to bring completely together. Wrap in an airtight wrap and leave to chill in the fridge for 1 hr.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 and line the baking tray with baking paper. Dust a clean kitchen surface with flour and roll out the pastry dough to approximately 2cm thick. Use the teacups for serving as a guide to cut out the lids of the pies, then transfer them to the lined tray. Cut out a heart shape from the middle of each pie top with the cutter, then bake for 10-15 mins until firm.
In a small bowl, mix the 1 tsp of water with the remaining food colouring and brush the pastry with pink water, then sprinkle with the extra sugar.
In a saucepan, combine the remaining cherries with the remaining sugar, then mix in the water, cornflour and vanilla. Heat on the hob for 6-7 mins, stirring, until piping hot and thickened. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then divide it between the cups and top with the pastry lids. Serve, with a teaspoon and placed on a saucer if desired.
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