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So easy, so-oh nice. Tangy cherry filling punctuated by bitter-sweet nuggets of sinfully dark chocolate... And less than 1 hour from start to plate.

I make these with shop bought cherry pie filling; it's one of those things like frozen peas that's actually better in the commerially available procesed form than anything you can achieve at home without spending stupid amounts of time and money. Although in general I prefer Morello cherry pies, for these little monsters you definitely want the black cherry variety. The difference it makes is beyond description.

Use a non-stick dimpled fairy cake / muffin / mince pie baking pan as this will save you a great deal of hassle and help make the pies uniform in size and shape. Crucially, do not grease it - puff pastry needs to stick a little in order to rise properly. It's got such a high fat content that the pies come out easily enough once cooled a bit. A lot depends on the size of the dimples in your pan, so it's hard to say quite how many pies this recipe makes (I make 2 dozen but they are almost petit fours-sized).

So, take

  • 500gr ready made puff pastry, defrosted if necessary but cold
  • 1 can black cherry pie filling
  • 250gr dark - not milk! - chocolate chips
  • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
  • A little flour for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F, Gas Mark 7), then

  1. Tip the cherry pie filling into a bowl and mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

  2. Dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out the pastry to an even thickness of about 2mm. With nested cookie cutters or glasses of 2 different sizes, cut out an equal number of larger and smaller circles to fit the moulds in your pan. (Note: it's better if the pie lids are a bit smaller than the circumference of the pies themselves, as the extra space saves you from having to pierce or cut the lids later)

  3. Place the larger circles in the pan moulds and tuck in with your hand (I do it with my knuckles because I have long fingernails that tear the pastry). Spoon in some of the filling - not too much, you don't want it to overflow. Place the lids loosely on top and brush with the beaten egg. Make sure you leave some way for the steam to escape either by leaving space around the lid or by cutting a few slits with a sharp knife, or else you'll have exploding pie all over your oven.

  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and well risen. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then take out (carefully - they're still very squishy at this stage; one tends to "lose" a couple which get mysteriously too mangled to be served to the guests and hence have to take residence in one's mouth) and finish cooling on a rack.

These little pieces of heaven can be eaten warm with double cream, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream as a dessert, or cold as part of an afternoon tea. I'd advise against re-heating as the pastry tends to go limp and heavy, but frankly they won't last long enough to need it!

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