Cook on a Whim: Strawberry and Blueberry Hand Pies

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Strawberry and blueberry hand pies. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

These mini, handheld pies have the flakiest, all-butter pie crust, and are filled with fresh berries and sweet jam. They are the perfect summertime treat!

I feel like I do a lot of confessing on here. Well, here comes another one: I don’t love making pies. (Even though my favorite birthday dessert is a tart cherry pie. But I don’t make it, my husband does.) To me, pies are stressful and finicky and the bottom crust is never done enough. Plus, slicing them is almost always a mess, especially if you want to enjoy them warm with a scoop of ice cream. So I either make galettes — aka lazy pies you can slice and eat like a pizza — or I make hand pies. They are both infinitely easier and way cuter.

I came up with the idea for these hand pies with the Fourth of July in mind. A pie in one hand and a roman candle in the other. What’s more American than that? Plus, I thought it would be a great way to use some red strawberries and blue blueberries for a patriotic photo op. Sparklers in the kitchen — again, what could go wrong?

I use my husband’s perfect, all-butter, flaky pie crust. He makes it and I just roll it and assemble the pies. He also makes the best pizza dough (recipe coming soon). Back to the pie crust: the secret is to make sure everything is cold. Like frozen. He dices the butter and lets it freeze solid. And he uses ice water. The resulting dough is almost like a danish/puff pastry dough. It is truly the best pie crust I’ve ever tasted. Not hard, dry and crumbly like so many pie crusts.

For the filling, I use my favorite jams: Bonne Maman blueberry preserves and strawberry preserves mixed with a bit of corn starch, vanilla and fresh fruit. This recipe couldn’t be easier, and if you want to make it even easier, feel free to use store-bought pie dough or puff pastry dough. Of course, if you want to make your own homemade jam, knock yourself out.

 

Strawberry and Blueberry Hand Pies

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (including dough chilling)

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: Approximately 2 hours

Yield: 12 square hand pies

 

Ingredients

For the flakiest pie crust:

2.5 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cubed and frozen

¼ cup to ½ cup ice water (you may not need all of it)

 

For egg wash and topping:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Approximately 1/4 cup coarse sugar (sometimes called sanding or sparkling sugar)

 

For the berry filling:

1/2 cup strawberry preserves

1/2 cup wild blueberry preserves

1/4 cup diced fresh strawberries

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

 

Instructions

To prepare pie crust:

Place flour, salt and sugar into food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter cubes and pulse about 15 times until the butter is combined and the texture is crumbly/sandy. At this point, slowly drizzle ice water (careful not to add any ice cubes) through the feed tube while pulsing.

Check dough after you’ve added ¼ cup of ice water. When you pinch the dough between your fingers it should clump together but shouldn’t be very wet. Usually in drier months/seasons you’ll use the entire ½ cup, but in more humid months you will most likely only need ¼ cup.

Once the dough comes together, dump onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times, divide dough evenly into two balls and flatten slightly into discs — this makes it easier to roll out later.

Wrap dough balls in plastic, parchment or any way you like. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to a week. If you refrigerate longer than an hour, make sure to let the dough balls sit at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes before trying to roll.

 

To prepare fruit filling:

In 2 separate small bowls (blueberry in one, strawberry in the other), combine 1/2 cup jam, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract and fresh fruit. So you’ll have one bowl of blueberry jam with blueberries and one bowl of strawberry jam with diced fresh strawberries.

 

To prepare pies:

Whisk egg with water until completely combined. Set aside. Line a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside. After dough has chilled, place one dough ball onto a well-floured surface.

Roll until you have a roughly 15×10-inch rectangle. Don’t make yourself crazy, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make sure to move the dough around and make sure it’s well floured underneath the whole time.

Once you have it rolled, trim any rough, uneven edges so you have a neat rectangle. Slice dough in half lengthwise, then in thirds in the opposite direction. You will have 6 small rectangles. Divide each rectangle in half to make squares. You will end up with 12 small squares which will make 6 hand pies.

At this point, using a pastry brush, brush egg wash on 6 of the small squares; these will be the bottoms. Place about a tablespoon of fruit filling in the center of each egg-washed bottom, making sure to leave about a ½-inch to ¾-inch border around the edges.

Cut a slit or any shape you like in the center of each top square and then place gently on top of bottom squares. Press the edges with your fingers and trim any overhang with a sharp knife or pizza cutter so you have neat squares. Then, using a fork, press evenly and firmly around all edges to really seal them closed.

Place your 6 cute little square hand pies on a parchment lined tray and stash in the refrigerator while you repeat this same process with second dough ball.

You will be able to fit all 12 pies on one 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet with a little space in between. They will not spread at all in the oven. Once they are all assembled, give them about 15 minutes in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Once oven is preheated, brush tops of pies with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, extra jam and berries, or just enjoy them as they are.

 

Notes 

  • It is incredibly important to have your butter and water ice-cold for this recipe. It is truly the flakiest pie crust — almost like a puff pastry.
  • If you want to make these in different shapes, feel free. You can keep them in rectangles and you’ll just end up with 6 larger rectangular pies instead of 12 small squares.
  • The prep time is approximate here. It all depends on how long you let your dough chill, how long it takes you to roll out the dough. This is a no-rushing recipe. Enjoy the process and don’t stress!
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