Monday, July 9, 2012

Not Just Pie....Hand Pie

Its summer and that means its serious fruit season.  Stop eating the apples and citrus that have been in cold storage since they were actually in season months ago and move on to the good stuff – stone fruits and berries.  I eat fruit in some way shape or form almost every day – in a salad, in a smoothie (my blender is going to throw in the towel soon if I don’t cool it) or just straight up.  But it was high time for pie (say that with your best southern accent).

I usually go to my old neighborhood in Takoma Park for a block party on the 4th of July, and when I do I know I will get at least a slice or two of homemade pie from my friends’ mother.  This year, plans changed so I was left to my own devices.  A group of us cook together on Thursdays so last week I offered to make dessert – strawberry blueberry hand pies.  I’ve seen tons of recipes for hand pies recently and I like the idea of true single servings, because come on, who doesn’t cut their own slice just slightly bigger than everyone else’s…then go back for “just one more sliver”?  This is portion control at its finest.

This recipe actually calls for rhubarb rather than blueberries, but I am a berry fanatic lately so there was no question, the rhubarb was out this time.  A couple more pics, then the details:



Recipe adapted from Crepes of Wrath (

1 batch pie dough (recipe below)
5-6 stalks rhubarb, washed and thinly sliced (I substituted about 1 ½ pints fresh blueberries)
3 ½ cups strawberries (I used a one pound container)
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup corn starch
2 Tbsp AP flour
½ tsp lemon zest (I zested a whole lemon)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp coriander (I omitted)
½ tsp ground cardamom (my addition – just love it)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sugar for sprinkling (I used coarse sparkling sugar for a little crunch)

Pie Dough
3 cups AP flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
¾ cup ice water (give or take)
*Note – I generally like to do half shortening/half butter for a flakier crust, but since these are hand pies all butter works better – less mess!


  1. For the dough – mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until well incorporated and texture is that of coarse crumbs.  Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time until dough comes together in a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Thinly slice rhubarb (or just use blueberries) and dice strawberries.  Place them in a large bowl and toss with the sugars, cornstarch, flour, lemon zest, spices and vanilla.  Set aside.
  3. Remove pie dough from fridge and dust work surface with flour.  Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick (or however thick you prefer).  Using a round cutter, cut the dough into circles and place half of them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place about 1 ½ tsp filling on top of each round.  Lightly brush the edges of the round with egg wash and cover the filling with the other half of the rounds.  Crimp the edges with a fork, brush with egg wash and sprinkle sugar over the top.  Poke small holes in the tops of each pie with a fork and bake for 20-25 min or until golden brown.
  4. Allow pies to cool completely before placing in an air tight container.  Can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature, longer in the fridge and for up to 2 months in the freezer.
*Note – the recipe calls for using a 1 ½ inch cookie or biscuit cutter to make the rounds.  I opted to use a soup mug about 5 inches across and make half-moon shaped pies instead.  Either works fine.

 Serve with ice cream and enjoy the taste of summer!