On the first day of Chirstmas… Pistachio Cherry Hand Pies

I love Christmas. Really, I do. The acts of kindness and generosity. The warm fuzzy feeling you get from embracing the true spirit of Christmas. The warm fuzzy feeling you get from the only day of the year where it is acceptable to put peppermint schnapps in your coffee. I love it! But if I’m being totally honest, there is also a side to Christmas that makes me feel inadequate.  Inadequate as an adult and inadequate as a mother.

At the playground the other day I listened to a bunch of moms talk about how their houses were such a mess, there were boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations everywhere! Isn’t that what adults and parents are supposed to do? The Dad’s put up lights, the moms carefully preserve and store each homemade ornament made by each child. That’s what’s going on in all our kids storybooks. Even Fancy Nancy’s plain Jane mom steps it up for the holidays.

As of right now our family does not own one Christmas decoration. I take that back, after the playground I went straight to the store and bought Elf on the Shelf. So we own one elf. Anyone else’s Elf have a strange sense of humor and a fondness for Barbies clothes?

The thing is we have moved so many times in the last 3 years that in an attempt to get light for the fight we shed all those boxes of clutter sitting in the garage. Christmas decor included, sentimental or not. The truth is out.

So now I have to start from scratch which sounds fun in theory but is quite overwhelming in reality. I went into Pier One two days ago to buy tree ornaments and nearly had a panic attack. I was totally unprepared for the task ahead of me. You have to have a game plan and the right attitude. And by that I mean a color scheme, a theme, and a hearty breakfast. You need to know what kind of Christmas person you are. Are you into Santas, or nutcrackers, or snowman’s, or sleighs?

I left empty-handed.

But I learned from that experience. I went home, ate some lunch and did some pinterest-ing. I’m going back with a full belly and headphones on to block out the techno Christmas music that makes me feel irrationally stressed out. I’m going back because I love my kids and this is what parents are supposed to do during the holidays. Right?

Unless of course someone wants to help me… I will trade your Christmas decorating skills for these Cherry Pistachio Hand Pies. Flaky pastry dough with ground pistachios and goat cheese in it. A sweet cherry filling that oozes out when you bite into it.

Yeah that’s right. Cherry Pistachio Hand Pies. Red cherries, green pistachios.

Take that Christmas, I’m not totally inadequate.

Cherry Pistachio Hand Pies

makes about 16 depending on cutter size

For the Pastry Dough

2 1/2 C AP flour

1/2 C ground pistachios

1/4 t baking powder

16 T butter cut into cubes

1/2 C goat cheese cut into cubes

4 T lemon juice

3/4 C ice water

For the Filling

3 C pitted cherries, quartered

2 T lemon juice

zest from 1 lemon

1/2 C sugar

3 T corn starch

1/2 t almond extract

Egg Wash

1 egg

1 T milk

sugar for sprinkling


Mix flour, ground pistachios and baking powder together in a bowl and put it in the freezer for 1 hour. Cut up your butter and goat cheese, put it in a bowl and into the freezer for 1 hour. Think cold!

After that hour is up, get your ice water ready and add the lemon juice to it.

You can either do this in a bowl with a pastry blender or in the cusinart like I did. Add your butter, goat cheese and dry ingredients to the cusinart and pulse until your mixture has pea size chunks of butter. Slowly add ice water until the dough comes together.

Dump out the dough onto a floured surface and gather together into 2 flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a least one hour before rolling out. You could certainly do this the day before.

Get your filling ready by tossing all the ingredients together. For the cherries you can use fresh or frozen. I used frozen because I had a big bag of organic pitted cherries from Costco I wanted to use up. If you do use frozen, make sure you drain out the liquid created from defrosting.

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with Pam.

On a lightly floured surface roll out your very cold pastry dough to about 1/8inch thickness.

Using a 4-5 inch circle cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible.  Add about a teaspoon of the filling to the center of the round, fold over and seal by lightly pressing with a fork.

Line up your hand pies on your prepared baking sheet. Cut a small slit, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

You can either eat them straight from the oven, or make a meal of it, or both. I burnt my mouth and didn’t care. I also ate more later with goat cheese, honey and pistachios. If you have leftover filling, don’t waste it! Heat it up in a sauce pan with a little water until thick and bubbly. You can pour this over goat cheese or dip your hand pies in it. Or eat it with brie and a baguette. Yum.

I think I’m starting to feel the Christmas spirit!


About Maui Flour Child

Aloha, I'm Maui Flour Child. I love cooking for my family & friends using fresh, local ingredients. Live life with aloha in your heart and flour in your hair! -Angela


  1. Holy yum! And they look so pretty too.

    I did the exact Pier One thing when we were first starting our Christmas decorating journey years ago. I left with like three things. I was so overwhelmed.

    You can also go super easy and get those cheap silver or gold ball ornaments, just make sure you grab the ornament hooks that DON’T come with them – what is up with that? (I used paper clips one year to hang them…worked fine) and silver or gold ribbon, pop some lights on that tree and tadah! Splurge on a tree topper that you do take with you on every move (because you ARE coming back to Maui….you hear?!) 😉

    Have fun and have the kids make ornaments too – your theme could be hand made goodness. Happy holidays guys!
    Sarah recently posted..cute kid gift idea: an ukulele from paper-sourceMy Profile

  2. You are too cute-love your writing style! And I totally feel overwhelmed for you trying to pick out a bunch of Christmas stuff in one shot. The themes really get me..ya know the color themes, birds in cages in trees thing…it’s all too much. I just say whatever makes you smile! Better yet have a bunch of wine before you go…everything will be so much more enjoyable…even the music!
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  3. Ange’
    I Sooo wish i could trade you my decorating excuses for those yummy cherry hand pies! I’m so hungry! My cousin has me on a 3 day, pre-holiday cleanse. We are presently choosing what food we are going to eat and break this diet.
    I almost went to Pier 1 for holiday decor… then i remembered that music and how cluttered it gets in there. One definitely needs a game plan. Some years I pick a theme, for instance Santas: Red, White and Shiny things. Or Forest/Old St. Nick style with earthy toned greens and gold and white, another fun one is winter wonderland: White Silver and Blues. But here in Hawaii, you’re lucky to score a tree under $100-. Remember as kids when we put popcorn and cranberries on the string? Maybe the girls would like that? (Speaking of popcorn, that’s how I’m breaking my cleanse…)
    Whatever you do, DO NOT get tinsel, FLOCK your tree, or leave that Reindeer and star lit up all year like you did that one time!!! Oh wait, that was the crazy neighbor!:)
    I wish you could come help me with a holiday party we are throwing! Cause i could really trade my crafty Martha touch for your bomb-bastic and nourishing food!!

    Happy Holidays
    Love you Guys!!!

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