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My Dazzling Red Cherry Holiday Sweetheart Pastries

Updated on December 29, 2013

My Sweetheart Pastries are modeled after a Fabulous Norwegian Cherry Pastry

I learned to make this outstanding delicacy from a cookbook compiled by Norwegian Lutheran farmers in South Dakota.

It was a gift from church friends whose relatives back home shared their recipes in a fundraising project. My friend brought one as a hostess gift for a holiday they spent with our family that year.

Our whole family was captivated

by the first bite of this exciting pastry and we promptly adopted the dish into our holiday repertoire. From that time on no holiday morning was complete without my Red Cherry Holiday Sweetheart Pies.

We lived on the land, but we never got around to planting a cherry tree to add to the apple and pear, so for this special treat I depend on canned Oregon cherries. They were the same ones I grew up eating in my childhood home.

Count on these flavorful canned pie cherries

to make your desserts the hit of the day. They have the same marvelous taste all the ladies in my family used when I was a child and now that I have grandchildren.

I use them in my Red Cherry Holiday Sweetheart Pastries and you can too. One of the advantages of using canned, instead of frozen, pie cherries is that you can count on the measurements to produce consistent fine taste and texture in all your cherry treats.

When I tried using frozen pie cherries

my pastries just weren't the same and I decided that I'd need to precook the cherries to get the same flavor and consistency as I favor and still I couldn't ensure the right degree of sweetness contrasted with the delicate tartness my recipes require.

After exhausting our baskets of fresh cherries from our towering backyard tree in a zillion Summer pies and tarts Mom always bought cans of these fine tart cherries from the neighboring state.

When I mastered the art of making

Red Cherry Sweetheart Pastries I ventured into changing the shapes and sizes of the pies to suit the mood and the occasion. Maybe it would be an ornament shape with a bow fashioned out of a strip of dough, rolled and crossed and crimped in the center.

For Presidents' Day I cooked them into log shapes, with little bulges where a branch was cut. I used the steam vent cut lines to simulate bark and cut out a few knot holes too. A few tiny pieces of dough can easily be shaped into a sprouting branch with dough leaves and stuck into a knot hole.

Trims like bows and leaves can be baked on a small piece of parchment on a small pan on the top rack. Just be sure to check often and remove before they turn brown. Then stick them onto the finished pastry with some glaze.

Specializing in tart cherry masterpieces is easy when your shelves hold these prime fruits you can always count on.

A little tidbit from a friend's mom efforts to make this pastry

after she ate it at our house. She featured the Sweetheart Pastry at her son's wedding reception. Along with the sweets were her fabulous Italian family standards. Thinking I was eating one of them I remarked on the fine taste of what I thought was a meat tart (it was a little white lie). Why, it's your recipe, she exclaimed, and I tried to crawl under the tablecloth. Her pastry was brownish, including the fruit, so I couldn't recognize it as anything like the original. She must have used olive oil and I can't imagine what the fruit was.

Olive oil does change the consistency of a sweet pastry, so just in case you're a natural birdie, it's not so good in this recipe.

Sweet anticipation of the delicacy permeates the whole process for me.

Cook time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: 12 - 24


  • Dough:
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • 6 Cs flour (unbleached pastry flour) or 6 C Gluten-free flour + 2 t Xanthan Gum
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 Cubes cut up butter
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C canned milk or light cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Cherry Filling:
  • 3/4 cup sugar add more to taste or add a few drops Stevia syrup
  • 1 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 can Tart Pie Cherries
  • juice from can
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • butter
  • Glaze:
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T canned milk


  1. Warm 1/2 C milk to just 110 degrees (use thermometer) add yeast and gently stir until dissolved.
  2. To large mixing bowl, add flour, salt, sugar and stir to mix well
  3. Cut butter into flour mixture
  4. Add yeast dissolved in milk, heavy cream, milk and egg yolks, and mix until ball forms, then cover with plastic wrap and clean cloth and refrigerate overnight
  5. NEXT DAY: Make Filling: Add cherries, cornstarch and sugar to medium saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve, and simmer until thickened
  6. Remove from heat and add almond flavoring and butter
  7. Gently punch dough down and turn it out onto floured pastry cloth, dividing into six equal parts. Using a light touch roll one piece into a 8" circle, leaving edges thicker
  8. Spread cherry pie filling within 1" of edge, dot with butter, and cover with 2nd 8" pastry, setting it on top of cherries
  9. Seal edges by folding bottom edge over top and squeezing together, sealing edge with fork all around pie
  10. Repeat with other two pastries
  11. Using very sharp large knife, score diagonal crisscross lines 1 1/2" apart across the top, being careful to only slice through the highest points of the top crust, for decoration and to let steam escape
  12. Cover and set finished pastries in warm place, like above or next to the warm oven for up to 1 hour
  13. Bake in preheated oven 35 minutes, checking often after 30 minutes. Remove from oven when just golden on bottom.
  14. Remove from oven and slide onto cooling rack. Cool until medium warm
  15. Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and cream to make thick pourable glaze. Drizzle over pies. Let cool and Enjoy!
AirBake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set, 16 x 14 in
AirBake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set, 16 x 14 in

I always use parchment baking paper to keep my pans fresh and ensure that the goodies don't stick to the pan.

Amco 2 in 1 Dough Blender with Pastry Crimper
Amco 2 in 1 Dough Blender with Pastry Crimper

This pastry cutter perfectly cuts in the butter to the flour mixture, and on the next morning use the crimper feature to seal the edges after folding them over.

Beyond Gourmet 42  Unbleached Non-Stick Parchment Paper, Made in Sweden, 71-Square-Feet
Beyond Gourmet 42 Unbleached Non-Stick Parchment Paper, Made in Sweden, 71-Square-Feet

Once you bake with parchment paper you'll never go back. It makes baking so dependable.



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    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      @smine27: Yah yah......I'm making it today; it's in the refrigerator right now, doing it's overnighter period.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      oh, I could go for a slice right now!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      @DLeighAlexander: The memory of how much they have been enjoyed makes the creation process a pleasure.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      These sound amazing, no wonder it became a family tradition! Thanks for the recipe.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      @sousababy: You bet. They're worth the time investment.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      Ohhh, these sound heavenly. Would love some now.