Thursday, May 2, 2013

What's For Dessert: Strawberry Hand Pies

I know you'll find this news shocking (ha ha), but I'm still on a fresh strawberry kick. The last time I was at our local natural foods store, they were having a sale on strawberry pies. And as they were also baking more pies while I was browsing the aisles, the place smelled fantastic. Somehow, I managed to not exit the store with a fresh pie in hand (though I deeply, deeply considered it), and when I got home with my latest pile of strawberry pints, I figured baking was the way to go to use them up.

In lieu of baking a whole pie, I opted to go the hand pie route. As luck would have it, I recently purchased a "pocket pie" crimper (when I purchased mine last week, it was less than $6 on Amazon) -- meaning my hand pies would have lovely uniform crimps. You could just as easily use a large round cookie cutter and pinch the ends closed by hand if you'd rather not clutter up your kitchen with more gadgets. (I would be first to admit that I have a kitchen-gadget collecting problem...)

These hand pies turned out rather deliciously -- and I'm already imagining all sorts of yummy flavor combinations I could put together to make sweet and savory hand pies in the future.

Strawberry Hand Pies (printer-friendly version)
makes four pies

For the strawberry filling:
1 1/2 cups organic strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the pastry dough:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into small cubes and frozen
1/8 to 1/4 cup filtered ice water

1 large egg, lightly beaten
sanding sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the quartered strawberries, sugar, and corn starch. Set aside.
3. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor with the pastry blade attached. Add in the frozen butter cubes and process until the mixture looks like small pebbles, about 10-20 seconds.
4. Slowly add in the ice water until the dough just begins to come together. You can check this by pressing a small amount of dough between your fingers -- if it sticks together it's good to go; if it is still crumbly, you need to add a bit more water.
5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into two portions. Pat each portion into a small round and cover with plastic wrap. Chill the dough rounds for at least one hour.
6. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out one of the dough rounds until it is about 1/8" thick. Cut out a 5- or 6-inch circle. 
7. Add 2-3 tablespoons of strawberries to one half of the dough circle (being careful to allow room at the edge). Brush the edges of the round with the beaten egg, then carefully fold the round in half, crimping the edges tightly closed. Repeat with the rest of the dough until you have four hand pies.
8. Brush each pie with the beaten egg. Cut a few small slits into the top of each pie and sprinkle with sanding sugar. 
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving.

(adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)

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