Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pies for your hands!

If y'all don't know by now, I'm here to tell you: I LOVE STRAWBERRIES. And I have some kind of physical compulsion to buy them when they're so beautiful and fresh in the store. So I get home and have a couple containers of strawberries and say, 'Now what?'

This time, the 'what' was hand pies. I'm in constant search of an awesome pie crust and I think my search may be over. I found the strawberry hand pie recipe from Good Things Catered but their dough recipe called for buttermilk which I did not have. So I found one from Epicurious and holy cow. It came out damn near perfect. Flaky and buttery! I don't even care about the filling as long as the crust is good!! To be honest, it's my favorite part of pie. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it would've been perfect! I can't wait to make it in a whole sized pie and see if it comes out as good.

The recipe from Good Things Catered calls for 3 cups of strawberries and that was a little too much for the pie dough that I had. I cut that by a cup but kept the sugar content because my strawberries were actually a tad tart. I wish I would've tasted before I baked; I would have added more sugar. So TASTE YOUR BERRIES and then judge how much sweetness needs to be added. Mine needed a bit more.

But overall, this was a smashing success, mostly because I CONQUERED PIE CRUST. And they're so darn cute! Lookit the widdle hand pies!

Adapted from: Epicurious (Original recipe for full pies here.)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat-free)

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 to 7 tablespoons ice water

Freeze cubed butter and shortening until frozen; 15-30 minutes. Combine flour and salt in food processor to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle 5-7 tablespoons of ice water over mixture while lightly pulsing until just incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough. (Personal note: I usually process until it forms a ball and this time, I decided not to. I used 6 tablespoons of water and the mixture did not pull together. Instead, it was clumpy but when I pressed with my fingers, it held. There were dots of butter visible in dough.)

Turn dough out onto a powdered sugar-dusted work surface and form together. Cut pie dough in half and form into two disks. Wrap both portions in plastic wrap and freeze. Pastry dough can be chilled up to 2 days ahead.


2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (or cubed; make small pieces)

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment.

In medium bowl, combine strawberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice and set aside.

Let frozen pie dough disk defrost, 30 minutes to an hour. Dough should be very cold and hard to roll out. Roll onto a powered sugar-dusted work surface to about 1/8 in thickness, moving and turning over constantly to avoid sticking. Using round pastry cutter (or trace knife around small plate), cut out about 5-6 inch rounds.

Place round onto baking sheet and place about 2-3 Tbsp strawberry mixture into center.

Using pastry brush dipped in a small amount of egg, brush the edge of half of the round. Fold dry edge onto egg brushed half, forming semicircle shape, and press edges together to seal with the tines of a fork.

Brush the top of the pie with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Use a small knife to make a 1 inch slit in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Repeat with remaining pastry dough.

Place in oven and bake until tops are beginning to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 7-10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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