Cherry and Thyme Hand Pies with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

Cherry and Thyme Hand Pies with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

  It’s officially cherry season in the state of Virginia. My first thought at the beginning of any fruit season is to bake a pie with the fruit I’ve obtained from the farms in my area. And that’s precisely what I did when I discovered my usual grocery store of choice was selling fresh, local sweet cherries from one of my favorite orchards. Such a find can be a rarity in my small town, there’s a slim selection of local vegetables in the summer if any; in the fall there might be apples. But, when it comes to common fruits such as strawberries, peaches, or blueberries, you can only find them at the farmers market once a week. Many times I’ll drive up to an hour to pick fruit from the local u-pick farms in my area, as I love going out and about to visit beautiful places.

  Each pie is filled with a delicious cherry jam, subtly flavored with fresh thyme. Accompanying these hand pies is a creamy, no-churn vanilla bourbon ice cream. There are many no-churn ice creams out there that commonly call for heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk- a canned milk with the water removed and a copious amount of sugar added to make a sweet, sticky dairy product. The condensed milk is usually folded into the whipped cream and the flavoring(s) of your choice is added. Once frozen, the result is a rich and creamy ice cream. To avoid so much sugar, I simply made my own sweetened condensed milk that doesn’t use any canned dairy product, but instead raw cashews and maple syrup. Just blend until smooth and creamy and fold into the fresh, whipped cream along with a good quality bourbon and vanilla.


   bourbon vanilla ice cream

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight then drained

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons good quality bourbon

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

  cherry + thyme jam

1-pounds sweet cherries, pitted and stems removed

2 fresh thyme sprigs

1 1/2 cups raw sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  pie dough

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon raw sugar

12 tablespoons salted butter, cold

5-6 tablespoons water, ice-cold


  1. In a high-powered blender, add the maple syrup, vanilla, bourbon and the cashews; blend until smooth and creamy. This may take a few minutes depending on your blender. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks, then gently fold in the cashew mixture with a spatula until combined. Place the mixture in an air-tight container and freeze for 2 hours until firm, or overnight.
  2. In a saucepan, add the cherries and lemon juice and mash them slightly, then add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then add the sugar. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often until the cherries are very soft and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the thyme. Cool the jam completely before using. 
  3. In a bowl, lightly whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. Pour into a food processor and add the cold butter, cut into cubes. Pulse until small, pea-sized pieces form(it’s okay if there are larger chunks, too). Pour back into the bowl and add three tablespoons of ice cold water to one side of the bowl; then gently work the flour into the water with a fork. Add more water, one tablespoon at a time, when needed. You should be able to gently work it into a ball. Split the dough into four, golf ball sized pieces and gently press them into disks. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. 
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough disks, one at a time, until they’re about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Move them onto the prepared baking sheet and place in the freezer for about 2 minutes to quickly become firm again. Add the jam to the center of each disk, leaving an inch of space from the edge. Fold one side of the dough over the jam and crimp the two sides together until sealed. Gently press a fork around the sealed edges. Brush the tops with egg wash (1 egg, beaten) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Cool until just warm, then serve with the ice cream.


  With Thanksgiving just a mere two weeks (plus a few days) away, I thought I’d post a classic dessert that is often found on holiday dinner tables this time of year here in the South- pecan pie.  This recipe hails from an old 1930’s church cookbook I found while walking about an antique mall not too long ago.  I adapted it a tad bit as I am not very fond of using corn syrup, so in its place, I used maple syrup.  Which, in my opinion, adds so much more flavor to the pie.  The crust is buttery and the pecans on top are crunchy while underneath is perfectly gooey; combined with the boozy caramel whipped cream, the entirety of it all is delicious.  Like other pies, this one did not last long in my home.

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I really love finding such things in antique malls or thrift stores.  The pile of church cookbooks sitting in small corners of such places is often neglected.  But they can be little treasures, really, especially the really old ones.  You don’t know what you’re going to get from them as it’s a collection of recipes from various people of various heritage. Each person contributed one recipe they deemed as a favorite that was passed down to them from generation to generation.  This cookbook I bought has many interesting recipes inside(some advertisements as well that I can’t help but chuckle at; oh, how far we’ve come!) which had me researching the ones I wasn’t familiar with.  The recipes range from fattigmann, rødgrød, and vanillekipferl; to blushing bunny, chicken cacciatore, and stuffed eggplant.  Then you have American classics like apple crisp, this pecan pie, and many others.

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pie crust:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

5-8 tablespoons ice-cold water

pie filling:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dark maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups pecan halves


for the caramel

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 tablespoon bourbon

caramel whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

1/4 cup bourbon caramel 

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

pinch of salt


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Add the cold butter in cubes and using a pastry blender or food processor, blend it into the flour till it’s crumbly(crumbles should be pea-sized).  Push the mixture to one side of the bowl and add 3 tablespoons of ice-cold water to the other side.  Using a fork, gently toss the flour into the water.  Add more water by the tablespoon when it becomes dry.  Repeat this until the dough comes together and all the flour is incorporated; it should be a soft, moist dough when complete.  Using your hands, shape it into a disk and loosly wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 25-30 minutes; meanwile, preheat the oven to 350°F.   Once the dough has firmed up some, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it until it’s about 10-inches in diameter.  Gently wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unravel onto a 9-inch pie tin.  carefully press the dough into the pan using your hands and then finish by crimping the edges however you would like it to look.  Place the crust in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2.  In a medium sized saucepan, melt the tablespoon of butter; add the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla.  Whisk over medium-low heat until warm(not hot).  Slightly whisk the eggs together and add to the sugar.  Whisk until all is combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle on all the pecan halves.  Brush the crust with egg wash(1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)  if you would like it browned.  Bake for about an hour to an hour and 40 minutes.  It will be done when tapped with a spoon and the top is hard.  Cool completely and serve with whipped cream.  

for the caramel and whipped cream:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the water and sugar.  Whisk over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved, once the sugar is dissolves stop whisking and watch the mixture very closely for the next 5-10 minutes.  It should start to turn a light amber, when it does so, quickle remove from heat and stir in the tablespoon of butter.  Once the butter has melted, slowly stream in the cream and stir.  Heat the bourbon until warm and stir into the caramel.  Place the mixture in the refrigerator until cold. 
  2. Place a medium sized mixing bowl in the freezer along with a whisk that attaches to an electric mixer.  Chill for 5 minutes.  Once chilled, add the cold cream, caramel, and powdered sugar.  Whip until soft peaks form.  Serve atop the pie.  


  Ah, September, you came so quickly.  Where did summer go?  I find myself asking this almost every year.  Summer passes by quite swiftly as you grow older.  As a child, I felt as if summer would go on forever(in a good way), even after I moved away from a state where words such as “Fall” and “Winter” were practically non-existent and so were the seasons that matched them.  My favorite seasons have always been spring and summer.  I don’t mind autumn, except when it becomes winter.  This year is different, though; I’m taking the change of seasons quite nicely and actually looking forward to autumn.  At the same time, I can’t help but be a little heartbroken that summer has to end as well.  

  Though the month of September has just begun, I have already felt a change in the air and surroundings.  Most the trees and grass have faded into a different color green over August; they’ve lost their bright euphoria and are on the verge of putting on their autumnal display.  Just today I was able to open all the windows in the house as the weather was beautiful.  As I was standing looking out the kitchen door, a cool breeze swept through the house and outside displayed a shower of yellow leaves falling, like gold, from the black walnut trees surrounding our home.  Here in Northern Virginia, the walnut trees are the last to put on their summer foliage and the first to lose them once late August and September comes around.  It got me giddy about all things fall-ish I will say.

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  I was so sad that I never made it to a peach orchard this year, then on the first of September, I stumbled across an orchard just South of me and about an hour’s drive away.  They had just announced that their gala apples were coming in nicely and were ready for picking, so I took the day off and went apple picking.  Though peaches are almost out of season here, there were still quite a few trees chalked with the delicious fruit.  Of course, I couldn’t leave without picking a few as there’s nothing like a peach straight from the tree.  Just from being there I had recipe ideas pouring out of each side of my brain, so you may be seeing more from my trip to the orchard next week!   

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  Now, let me talk a little about these cupcakes.  They’re a bit addictive!  I could eat them sans frosting because they’re just as good.  The addition of fresh applesauce made them really moist and tender and they pull away from the paper nicely as well.  My favorite part is the top of the cupcake, of course.  It’s chocolate ganache with bourbon, then whipped for a few short minutes with some cocoa powder.  As you’ll see in other places on my blog, I like to use bourbon when chocolate is involved.  That and rum(which you may be seeing soon in another recipe!) are two of my favorite alcohols to bake with.  The ganache piped exceptionally well, you just have to be careful not to have them somewhere hot and rather humid as it will start to soften and may even melt.  

  Can you believe this was my first time ever piping frosting onto a cupcake?  Out of sixteen, just these three made my photo-worthy list.  It really is harder  than it looks, depending on the style you want.  


*Please read through the instruction and ingredients list thoroughly before you commence baking.  I recommend beginning with the ganache first to give it time to stiffen, which can take close to two hours sometimes; then the applesauce, and lastly the cupcakes.


Makes 16 normal sized cupcakes


95 grams unsalted butter, room temperature

185 grams granulated sugar

3 fresh eggs, room temperature

112 mL milk, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

200 grams all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup fresh applesauce, room temperature (recipe below)


3 small to medium sized apples ( I used gala)

1 large cinnamon stick

1/4 cup water

whipped chocolate bourbon ganache:

16 ounces heavy cream

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate

3 tablespoons of good bourbon

pinch of salt


for the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.  Prepare two muffin/cupcake tins by adding sixteen paper baking cups.

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.  Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer with beaters attached, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the vanilla, half of the milk, and half of the flour.  Beat on medium speed till just combined, the beat in the remaining halves of milk and flour.  Gently stir in the applesauce with a spatula.  Spoon the batter into prepared muffin/cupcake tin(s) until 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Check for doneness at 18 minutes with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it’s done; if not clean, bake two more minutes.  Once done, cool in pans for five minutes, then gently transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

for the applesauce:

  1. Peel, core, and cut apples into quarters.  Add to a medium-sized saucepan along with the cinnamon stick and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low; cover and cook apples for 10 minutes until tender.  Once done, drain juices and then mash the apples till slightly chunky.  Spread out onto a plate and bring to room temperature (or put in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes for a quick cool).  Make the applesauce before cupcakes

for the whipped ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, chop the bittersweet chocolate into fine chunks and add to a large heatproof bowl.  Once the cream has reached boiling, pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let it sit 10 minutes, then stir till smooth.  Stir in the bourbon and pinch of salt.  Refrigerate until it has become thick(like a paste), but not completely hard.  Before whipping, I added about a tablespoon of cocoa powder for stability.  Using an electric hand beater, beat the ganache and cocoa powder till it becomes thick enough to pipe onto the cupcakes, about a minute or so.  Pipe the ganache onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with flaky sea salt (optional).


Bourbon Chocolate Cherry Fudge Chunk Ice Cream

  Summer is in full swing around my place and the weather is finally staying hot instead of being all over the place!  Of course, everyone knows what that means.. delicious ice cream pretty much every week- at least at our place anyway.  When it comes to ice cream, my family is pretty up there on the fan base; especially chocolate ice cream.  One can never have enough of it!

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  This ice cream is uber easy to make and did I mention no ice cream maker is required!  It’s so good too, especially when you bite into a fudge chunk(that has cherries!!).  Of course, I had to give this chocolate ice cream some kick by adding some booze, because last time I made ice cream with bourbon it was amazing.

  I can never get myself to drink bourbon straight.  Sorry bourbon lovin’ folks, it’s just…. yeah, I can’t handle it by itself.  Add chocolate or caramel though and it becomes like, THE best stuff ever.  After I bought the bottle and got home, I realized one thing.. it was black cherry infused bourbon.  Believe it or not, it was amazing tasting in this ice cream!  If you want to use your own favorite bourbon though(that isn’t infused with any fruit flavors), then do it!  It will taste just as good.

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  I was debating whether I should make these into milkshakes or not.  I really wanted them to have fudge chunks in them and, well, it was totally NOT going to fit through a straw when I did it that way.. cause we all know a milkshake isn’t a milkshake if you can’t drink it with a straw. 😉  So, instead, I lightly hand stirred a couple two or three scoops till they were thick and chunky, then added a few layers of fudge pieces and ate them with a spoon.  So it was close to a milkshake but not quite one, lol!

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Bourbon Chocolate Cherry Fudge Chunk Ice Cream
Serves 4
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
8 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
8 hr
  1. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  3. 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  4. 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  5. 3 tablespoons bourbon
  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  3. 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1/2 cup *fresh or dried cherries(if using fresh, chop into pieces)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. pinch of sea salt
  7. *Just a heads up if you use fresh cherries like I did; they will let off lots of juice into the fudge.
(optional toppings)
  1. hot fudge sauce
  2. fresh cherries
  1. *Place a large mixing bowl and a whisk (or beaters from an electric hand mixer) in the freezer until ready to use.*
  2. Fill a medium sized pot with about 1 inch of water and place a mixing bowl over the top(don't let bowl touch the water). Turn the heat on medium and place 3 tablespoons of butter inside the bowl, once it is melted, add the 12 ounces of chopped chocolate and stir till it's completely melted. Remove bowl from pot and pour into a bowl that is room temperature, so the chocolate can cool quicker.
  3. Remove the bowl and beaters/whisk from the freezer and add the two cups of heavy whipping cream, beat by hand or with an electric hand mixer till stiff peeks form ( do not over beat ). Drizzle the can of sweetened condensed milk over the whipped cream, then drizzle the cooled chocolate over it as well. Gently fold it all together till there are no more streaks throughout it. Gently fold in the vanilla and bourbon. Pour into a large glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap or tin foil. Freeze 8 hours or over night (best to let it freeze over night ).
  1. Fill a pot with 1-inch of water and place a metal bowl over the top ( don't let the bowl touch the water ), and keep it on medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter, once melted, add the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate. Stir till completely melted, then add the 8 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and dried/fresh cherries. Stir till combined then pour into a small shallow pan, that is lined with lightly buttered tin foil. Evenly spread around Refrigerate till ready to use.
Ready To Eat
  1. Cut the fudge into small cubes and set aside.
  2. Now that the ice cream is ready, prepare 4 ice cream glasses(I like to drizzle fudge sauce around the insides). In a bowl, add 2-3 scoops of ice cream, then lightly stir with a wooden spoon till thick and chunky, but not entirely liquid; pour half of the ice cream into one glass then add a layer of fudge pieces then the remaining ice cream on top the fudge pieces. Drizzle more fudge sauce and fudge pieces/fresh cherries on top. Repeat this process till all glasses are filled. Enjoy!
The Sticky Spatula

Chocolate Bourbon Mousse Cake with Ganache

  You will need a load of chocolate for this chocolate bourbon mousse cake- as if the title didn’t tell you that already!  I went through a total of 32 ounces of chocolate yesterday.  But, that was only cause I messed up what seemed like fifty times on the brownie and once on the mousse(I accidentally put the bourbon straight into the melted chocolate when it had no butter in it, which then turned into a dry ball of chocolate that was unusable for the mousse).  So, you will not have to worry about buying and using as much as I did yesterday…

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   I stayed up till 11:30 last night and finally got the brownie and mousse texture right.  I was frustrated and was about to give up, but as much as it all tried my patience, it came out just fine in the end.  The lesson: pay very close attention to what you’re doing.  When you do that, most the time things turn out as planned.  None of it was a total waste, though, my siblings ate the failures(it was delicious, but was not the outcome I wanted).  I’m so glad I have so many siblings that are more than happy to eat the things that didn’t turn out, cause I hate throwing food away when it’s edible enough to keep down, ha!

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  This is a very rich, not-super-sweet, and just an all around addicting dessert.  So much chocolate!  Hey, the more the merrier, right?  It’s super photogenic too, I took nearly 200 photos.. but alas, I can only post so many on here.  Enjoy wanting to lick your screen!  I’ll be here, stuffing my face with the leftovers…

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*This recipe contains raw eggs.

Chocolate Bourbon Mousse Cake with Ganache
Serves 10
Write a review
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
7 hr
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
7 hr
  1. 3.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  2. 4 ounces butter, unsalted
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 2 eggs, room temp.
  5. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. 8 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 3/4 cups heavy cream
  4. 3 egg whites, room temp.
  5. 1 egg yolk, room temp.
  6. 2 tablespoons sugar
  7. 3 tablespoons bourbon-whiskey
  1. 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  2. 3/4 cup cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch spring foam pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper(cut out to fit the bottom).
  2. Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water/double boiler(make sure the bowl does not touch the water). Melt the butter and semi-sweet chocolate until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla and stir until the sugar is slightly melted, remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. Add flour mixture and two eggs to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Pour and evenly spread around prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  1. In a double boiler, melt the 3tbs of butter, 8oz of chocolate, and stir until smooth, add bourbon and stir till just combined. Turn off heat. When the chocolate is not hot, but warm, add the 1 egg yolk and gently stir into the chocolate, stop when the yolk is incorporated.
  2. Chill a mixing bowl and whisks, when chilled, beat on high speed, the 3/4 cup of cream till soft peaks form. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer with whisks attached(not chilled), beat the 3 egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, add the 2tbs of sugar, and return to high speed until stiff peaks have formed.
  4. In three batches, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate(it should be just warm to touch), making sure each addition is fully combined. Now gently fold in the egg whites, in three batches, until fully combined.
  5. When the brownies are fully cooled in the pan, gently pour the mousse on top and spread around evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight(best to leave in overnight). When the mousse has set, gently remove the ring from around the spring foam pan. Pour the ganache over top and let sit in the fridge to firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Cut and serve.
  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Heat cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and instantly pour over the chopped chocolate. Sit for 1 minute and then stir till chocolate is melted and is smooth. Let it sit for 10 minutes then pour over the set mousse.
  1. *This recipe contains raw eggs.
The Sticky Spatula