Working with phyllo dough is the perfect occasion for letting go of any judgment about yourself and your skills. First, it must be said that buying frozen phyllo, instead of making it from scratch, is perfectly acceptable. You’ll never catch any shade from me. Second, it is exceptionally forgiving. Yes, it rips. It folds over onto itself. It looks messy. But if you just slather each layer with butter, the whole thing will come together like a dream. And the ragged bits only add to the beauty of the final product. Just let the praise roll in. You deserve it.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, fold together the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves.
Cut the 16 phyllo sheets lengthwise into 4 1/2-inch-wide strips. Cover with a barely damp towel while you work.
Set a strip on a work surface, with the long side facing you, and brush the entire strip with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar, then top with another strip.
Brush the top with butter. Top with 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling and 1 tablespoon of the cherries in the center about 1 inch from the left-side end. Gently pull the top left corner down, over the filling, to meet the bottom edge and form a triangle. Butter the top of the triangle.
Now, gently grab the bottom left corner and lift it up to meet the top edge and wrap the triangle one more time.
Brush the top with butter. Continue to fold the corners, as you would fold a flag, buttering every dry surface, until the sheet is completely folded into a large triangle. Transfer to 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining phyllo, butter, sugar and filling.
Sprinkle the turnovers with granulated sugar. With a sharp paring knife, cut a small slit in the top of each turnover, taking care not to pierce through to the other side. Bake until puffed and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Drizzle with honey to serve, if you like.
These pies work best if the ricotta is dry. If your ricotta is wet, drain it in some cheesecloth set over a bowl in the fridge for an hour or two before assembling the filling.