Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cherry Pie Shortbread Bites

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When it rains, it pours. I hate to be a grump but I seem to be a bad luck magnet at the moment. I mentioned a while back that I was having a bad week, but it seems to have extended to a bad month, for every aspect of my life. I'm currently battling some kind of mystery virus and it's kept me bed-bound for the last couple of days. Also this post might not make a lot of sense since I'm on a lot of cold and flu medication. The one thing that I always feel like doing when I'm not well is to get into the kitchen and bake. It might sound weird to some people, but nothing cheers me up like freshly baked goods and since no one else in my house bakes I have to do it for myself. So last night when I was feeling like I was on the mend (false alarm), I dragged myself out of bed to make these cherry pie shortbread bites.
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In my opinion it's not Christmas without shortbread, and lots of it. I know it might seem strange that I've posted two pie filling recipes in the space of one week, but it's a little more than a coincidence. I came across this fruit mince bites recipe on Taste while brainstorming ideas for Christmas shortbread but I was determined to put my fruit mince into poptarts. I did love the idea of the little shortbread cups filled with something yummy so I adapted the shortbread bites recipe to include this amazing cherry pie filling. Originally I was considering an apple pie filling similar to my apple pie tiramisu but fresh sweet cherries are synonymous with Christmas meals in Australia (one of the many benefits of celebrating it in the middle of summer), so I decided that cherry pie would be a much better option. I was right. These cherry pie shortbread bites are the perfect holiday treat and dangerously addictive.
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Of course I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have tons of fresh cherries available to them at Christmas time, but frozen cherries will work just as well in this recipe as fresh ones. Plus they have the added bonus of being pre-pitted, which I realised after about 10 minutes into pitting my annoying fresh cherries. Anyway, the pie filling is lusciously thick and lightly flavoured with spices and vanilla bean. It is so so so good. It's the perfect filling for these buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread cups. While my mini poptarts may have suffered a bit from the lack of filling to pastry issue, these babies have no such problem. They are perfect. Perfect I tell you! I swear it's not just the cold and flu drugs talking.
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As with all shortbread, make sure you use some really good quality butter. I always prefer using salted butter for my shortbread, it does something magical to it. These shortbread bites would be perfect for any Christmas party or just as a Christmas snack. It would be great any other time of the year, and if you're not a fan of cherry pie (in which case we probably can't be friends), you can substitute the cherries with any kind of berries or other fruit. And now I am going to lie in bed eating many of these cherry pie bites and watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls. P.S. how cute is my vintage Quality Streets tin? I love eating tons of Quality Streets during the holiday season.
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Cherry Pie Shortbread Bites
(Adapted from this recipe from Taste.com.au, makes 24 biscuits)
For the cherry filling:
300g cherries (fresh or frozen), pitted and diced
1/8 tsp mixed spice
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) + 2 tsp cold water

For the shortbread:
250g salted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1/3 cup rice flour, sifted
1 tsp lemon rind

Prepare the cherry filling first; place chopped cherries, mixed spice, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium saucepan and place on medium heat. Stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Mix cornflour and water together in a separate small bowl then add to the saucepan and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
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Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease two 12-hole, 1 1/2-tablespoon capacity mini muffin pans. Place butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy. Mix sifted flours together in a separate bowl and then add flours and lemon rind to the mixing bowl. Mix together, then turn mixture onto a floured surface. Lightly knead until dough comes together. Press 1 level tablespoon of mixture into 1 hole of prepared pan. Using your finger, make a hole in the centre of the mixture and fill each with about 1 heaped tsp of filling. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Bake for 12-15 minutes until shortbread is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes and then gently remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Lightly dust tops with icing sugar and serve. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
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27 comments:

  1. These are super cute! Totally love these...gorgeous! :)

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  2. These look totally cute! So perfect for Christmas and I think they would make lovely little gifts :)

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  3. You've almost inspired me to get out of my cupcake comfort zone and try these (which is saying a lot more than it may seem) - they look and sound amazing.

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  4. cuteeeeeee..!! I love your pictures, and I will like to try your recipe,something different to share for christmas.. *and.. I love your cookie tin, so adorable

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  5. I was getting ready to cook shortbread and fruit mince pies for gifts tomorrow, but these look much more interesting - and no cutting out to boot!
    PS. and yes, I completely agree, your cookie tin IS adorable!!! I love all that stuff :)

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  6. pps. Hope you are feeling better soon xx

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  7. Woah lady! These look great :) I'm not sure I would have had the patience to pit all those cherries, especially if I was sick. Take care & hope it all clears up with plenty of time for Christmas.

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  8. I love your photography and your props. you make everything look delicious, even though I'm sure that it is...

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  9. I like that tin box! And lovely photography as always!

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  10. ooh i do indeed like cherry pie woohoo we can be friends!

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  11. Gorgeous little bites of cherry goodness! They remind me of jammy dodgers, and I'd love to be given a box of these for Christmas :-) Cherries aren't in season at the moment, but as you say, I imagine you don't really notice if frozen ones are used the sticky sweet filling.

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  12. wow! excellent way to present shortbread!

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  13. These look so tasty! I love anything cherry (natural not that fake cherry flavored stuff) and especially something bite sized. The problem with bite sized goodies are that before you know you've eaten all of them! They just go down so easily. Hope you feel better! I always find that lots and lots and lots of hot green tea helps.

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  14. Wow! Your pictures come alive! Your recipe is so vibrant. Can't wait to start making them...I hope I can find luscious looking cherries in the market today. ;) Great post!

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  15. These are so pretty! I love the dusting of powdered sugar, and you captured them beautifully. They look delicious too, cherry pie filling is one of my favorites :D

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  16. I made these over the weekend. I told Lisa to pass on the msg but I thought I'd tell you myself... AMAZEBALLS!!!!!!!! I think that I'm going to have to make another batch before the week is out :)

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  17. These look yummy - I make something similar with raspberry jam, but I never thought to use fresh cherries!

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  18. As always, stunningly photographed. I made these last Sunday and they were so wonderful, much loved by my workmates! Thank you for sharing.

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  19. Georgeous!!!! this cherry filling looks delicious and pics are beautiful ;-)

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  20. Delicious, I've tried it, thank you for the recipe, it's really special!
    I took some nice photo and I think to make a post, I will let you know when I will do it.
    Bye, Rosi.

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  21. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have lost count of how many times I have made this for my family and they have loved them every time, great for pretty much any occasion!

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  22. These are worth skipping dinner and just eating them instead :)

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  23. I've made these with both fresh cherries and frozen raspberries for other times of the year, both have been huge hits!

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  24. What exactly is mixed spice?

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    Replies
    1. Similar to allspice/pumpkin pie spice. Google/Wikipedia is your friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_spice

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