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Sunday
Jul032011

Blueberry Hand Pies

Blueberry Hand Pies

June passed by like a whirlwind for me. One minute it was here and the next, gone. July, ever so sneaky, crept up on me faster than a sunburn in the hot sun (and I unfortunately have a fair number to judge this against). Out here in the Midwest, summer is finally, finally hitting its stride. Spring coats have hesitantly been packed away. Shorts and flip flops dot the streets. Warm breezes brush against legs and blow softly through hair. It feels good.

It wasn't until Thursday of this week that I even realized the Fourth of July was this weekend. A coworker began talking about her weekend plans when it finally hit me. Somehow the vivid red, white, and blue colors that line store shelves, paint the streets, and dress the front of homes managed to escape my eyes. Even the calendar that hangs directly on the refrigerator slipped out of my vision. I did, however, notice that the berries were an unusually low price in the supermarket. Score one in my favor?

Nevertheless, I did have a small moment of panic. Did I already have plans? Should I plan something special for the day? What was I going to do?

But, more importantly, what was I going to bake?

Blueberry Hand Pies

The Fourth of July is, no doubt, a holiday surrounding the grill. This is the true season for hamburgers, hotdogs, and a large bag of chips. It's a chance to separate the men from the boys when it comes to the fine art of barbecuing. Or, in some cases, the women from the girls (my mother can wield a mean pair of tongs).

Like most holidays, I recognize them in the way my family chooses to eat. Whether we're at a potluck with friends or simply sitting around the table on the deck by ourselves, the grill is ever present. My mother usually tries to make this holiday special by grilling up meat and vegetable kabobs with big ears of corn. When I was younger, I wanted to do my part, too. For many years, I secretly whipped up a batch of vanilla instant pudding in the early morning hours. I would dye it red, white, and blue, layer it neatly into parfait glasses, and "surprise" everyone with a festive dessert.

After a couple years, it became less of a surprise and more of a tradition, but the simple magic of a red, white, and blue dessert was never lost.

Blueberry Hand Pies

And so, when it came time for me to decide on a Fourth of July dessert for this year, I asked you for help. Now that I'm a baker, my family expects a little more from me than an instant pudding mix. One of you wisely suggested an old fashioned pie. Perfect. What could possibly be more American than pie? Plus, a good pie also represents independence—well, independence from a healthy diet.

But, I wanted to take my pie a step further. Let's be real here; pie is messy. It's hard to cut. The filling likes to ooze out of the crust despite any orders and desperate pleas you may give it. And, though pie is delicious, it isn't necessarily a good dessert for summer potlucks. Until now. Hand pies are the perfect solution to this pie conundrum. Easy to make, easy to eat, no mess, no forks, no berry stained plates.

Though you may spot a few berry stained faces.

Blueberry Hand Pies

Have a happy Fourth of July, dear American readers! I hope it is filled with laughter, love, delicious food, the boom of a good firecracker, and the glow of flickering bonfire. Or, if you just so happen to be British, I offer you my condolences on this anniversary of your loss of a great colony.

And, for the rest of you, I sincerely hope you have a lovely Monday.

Blueberry Hand Pies

These Blueberry Hand Pies are the perfect summer potluck food. The flaky, buttery pie crust holds in the rich blueberry filling, keeping it well contained. A sprinkling of sugar completes the golden picture. I love these hand pies because they already come in individual portions and they are no mess, no fuss when it comes to eating them (especially wonderful for those of you who hate doing dishes). I hope you'll find you love these little hand pies too.

One Year Ago: Blueberry and Raspberry Mini Tartelettes

Blueberry Hand Pies

Yields approximately 8 hand pies

1 recipe for 9-inch pie crust dough (such as this Pâte Brisée pie dough recipe)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
Sanding or crystal sugar, for garnish

Chill the pie dough for at least 1 hour before making hand pies.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Set aside.

In another bowl, coat the blueberries with lemon juice. Sprinkle on the sugar mixture and stir until blueberries are evenly coated.

Roll out chilled pie dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out circles approximately 5-6 inches in diameter (I used the rim of a 5 1/2 inch diameter round bowl to cut out circles). Fill center of dough circle with blueberry filling. The amount you can fit inside will depend on the size of your blueberries (I was able to fit 2 tablespoons of filling in each hand pie).

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk with two tablespoons water. Brush egg wash on edge of dough circles, fold in half, and seal the edges with a fork.

Chill hand pies for at least 1/2 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Remove pies from refrigerator and brush with remaining egg wash. Sprinkle on sanding sugar and cut a small slit in the top of each pie to let out steam. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until pies are golden brown and flaky. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Reader Comments (21)

I am SO making these tomorrow! Along with some double chocolate Guinness brownies, because I have a problem.

The pictures are gorgeous. So glad I found your blog!
07.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassie
Oh. My. Goodness. These look scrumptious! Over here on the east coast, summer has also come slowly but June whipped right by! Happy Fourth of July!
Delicious lookin' stuff! :)
You know, Gujiyas are made exactly like this in India for Diwali. Except that they're stuffed with dried and thickened whole milk and dry fruits. Scrumptious!
Good post.
07.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHera
What absolutely WONDERFUL photos, they tell a story in their own little way :) these look so so yummy, i am an utter pastry addict and throw in blueberries too...wow! That pastry looks utterly perfect and flaky and mmmm, im craving a bite very badly indeed!
That looks absolutely scrumptious!!! :-)
The whole year is going by in a blink. Who can believe more than half the year is already gone? Crazy. But these hand pies give us all a great excuse to slow down and enjoy a festive holiday today. Happy Fourth to you!
07.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Jung
Those look beautiful! The filling looks so delicious :)
07.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
Good choice, Blueberries keep the brain sharp. and Happy 4th to you!
07.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
Oh my, these lovely pies certainly got my attention. Can't wait to give them a go.
These look really good! I'm definitely going to make them sometime. Would it be possible to make these as apple pies or any other fruit pies? I'll have to try making them as apple or boysenberry!
07.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I'm so glad I found your blog...it's beautiful! I love hand pies. They're one of the first things I remember making with my grandmother...they're wonderful!
I have been agonizing over what to make for an outdoor movie picnic-these look perfect!! Portable, but still completely delicious. I might even throw in some sliced almonds or candied ginger!! Lovely recipe and pictures! :)
I had to "pin" this on Pinterest! Can't wait to try these!!
07.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn
I only just made these today, and I had some doubts.

But whoa.

WHOOOOOOAAAAA these are delicious!

I only managed to make five hand-pies out of one dough recipe (even rolling the dough very thin and making only five-inch diameter pies).

I made them with frozen blueberries that I left in a colander for a few hours to defrost and drain. They've worked out just beautifully and I have to say, I doubled the batch, but I think I have to triple it now. They're just so good!

Once the dough is made, everything is really easy. I've always shied away from recipes involving blueberries in pies because they always seem to take tapioca or tapioca flour, which I've never bought in my life. These are definitely going in the rotation! Thank you for posting!
07.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuney
Luney-- Wow, I'm so happy these turned out so well for you! I agree with you about the tapioca flour--I just don't see the sense in using ingredients that are hard to find or that you'll never use again. Not when cornstarch will do the same thing!
07.24.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
My grandmother used to make Fried Apple Pies, which looked similar but were often a little on the greasy side (which, of course, we all loved growing up but now it's a tough thing to enjoy... knowledge is dangerous ;-)

These look wonderful, though. I am definitely going to give them a try.
Regan-- Oh, knowledge is dangerous. If I focused on how much butter, sugar, and heavy cream were in some of these recipes, I might actually cry. I think I giving ourselves a case of food amnesia can be a beautiful thing sometimes. Let's us enjoy those foods we love with little guilt. :)
08.2.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I just stumbled upon your blog and am so in LOVE! Your photography is gorgeous and all of your food seems completely scrumptious! I want to make one of everything :) You are definitely going into my "favorites." I am looking forward to learning from you and am so excited to follow your blog!
Brooke-- Thank you so much! So happy to have you here!
10.19.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
We made these yesterday - quite good! I might introduce just a smidge of salt with the next go around. Will report back when I try it out. Another thing is I made a minor mistake in getting the berries prepped maybe 10-15 min too early so they started oozing juice which made folding the pies a bit more messy, but they turned out good in the end and of course delicious.
07.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPool Boy
I made these pies today, and I have to say they were absolutely SPECTACULAR! Everyone in my family loved them. The blueberry mixture did get a bit runny, so folding the pies was messy, and some of the juices ran out of the slit in the top, but they were beyond delicious and that's what matters. Thanks so much for sharing :)
01.5.2014 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

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