Sunday, May 26, 2013
Strawberry and Blueberry Hand Pies
Things are a bit weird around here. For starters, I'm bundled up in my fuzziest sweatpants and hoodie and am sitting underneath a mountain of fuzzy blankets as I'm writing this. The weather has been crazy these past couple of days, and it's been cold and then hot, and then super rainy and super windy, and then suddenly, it's a perfectly calm day, only to be interrupted ten minutes later by gray skies and heavy wind. I don't know what's going on with the weather, but what I do know is that it's brought out all the pollen in the world, and I'm dying because of it. Sheesh, two days of not taking my allergy medicine because it was packed away while I was packing up all my belongings to move back home from school has left me in a serious funk. My allergies are driving me nuts, and wait....move back home from school?
Yep. I'm home for good.
It's so crazy to think that I'm actually finished with college. I don't think it's really sunk in yet, because it just feels like I'm home for summer vacation right now, but I know that sooner or later, it's going to really hit me. I'm both happy and sad about finishing my time at Columbia- I know that it was a huge accomplishment to get to this point, but at the same time, I feel like a huge part of my life is just missing right now. Leaving campus for the last time on Thursday morning felt so indescribably strange, because I knew that there would be no "next year." Nevertheless, as bittersweet as this time is, I know that I've gained so much from my time at Columbia, and I'm so excited to see what comes next!
As for right now, all I know is that I'm going back to work at my internship from last summer next Monday, and right now, I'm sharing with you a delicious recipe for some hand pies- strawberry and blueberry hand pies, to be exact. I have this strange obsession with making pie. Once I found a really great pie crust recipe and really learned how to make it, making pie is just one of my favorite things right now. I love their simple and rustic character, and they're just so darn tasty. I mean, buttery, flaky crust paired with sweet (or tart) fruity fillings is just something that can't be beat!
I used my favorite pie crust recipe when making these little hand pies. I actually thought about experimenting with a new crust recipe, but I decided against it, thinking that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." This crust recipe has yet to fail me, so I figured it would be best to leave the recipe as is. I did, however, make up the filling recipe as I went along, which is how I usually approach fruit syrups and sauces. I was left with some of the berry sauce at the end, but I didn't really have any issue with this. In fact, I was actually hoping that I would have some leftover berry sauce to top off some ice cream with! The sugar is probably the only quantity in the recipe that you might want to play around with, as it should be adjusted according to how sweet/tart your berries are.
I haven't tried this out with frozen berries, so I'm not exactly sure how it would come out, but with the abundance of fresh berries that are coming our way, I would definitely recommend using fresh fruit. Actually, I always have a hard time using fresh fruit in general when I'm cooking in the summer, because I just want to eat them all in their natural state! I had about a cup and a half of blueberries leftover from when I was making the sauce that I had been planning to reserve for photographing the hand pies, but I may or may not have accidentally devoured all of them, and I only realized when I went to take the photos (this is why there's only strawberries pictured!). In any case, these hand pies are a perfect late spring/early summer treat, and would be a great option for a Memorial Day barbecue! Enjoy!
Strawberry and Blueberry Hand Pies
pie crust recipe from Martha Stewart
For the Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, diced, chilled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
For the Berry Filling
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced finely
splash of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 teaspoons cornstarch
To begin, prepare the pie crust. Start out by combining the all purpose flour with the sugar and salt in a food processor, pulsing a few times to combine. Add the cold cubed butter to the flour mixture, and pulse a few times to combine, until the mixture becomes crumbly. Slowly drizzle in the ice water (the original recipe says between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of ice water, but I have found that 6 tablespoons always works perfectly for me), and mix in the food processor until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, and divide in half. Form each half into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the discs of dough for at least 1 hour.
While the dough is chilling in the fridge, prepare the berry filling. Combine the blueberries, strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat the berries until they begin to burst and release their juices. While the berries are heating up, mix together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Once the berries have broken down a bit, after about 5-7 minutes, add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan. Cook the berries for another few minutes, stirring every so often, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the sauce to cool.
After an hour in the fridge, take out the discs of dough. Roll each disc of dough out to 1/8 inch thickness, and cut out 30 circles using a 3-inch circle cutter, gathering the scraps of dough and re-rolling as needed. Arrange the circles of dough on baking sheets lined with wax paper. Refrigerate half of the circles for 30 minutes, leaving the remaining 15 circles at room temperature.
Once 30 minutes have passed, remove the circles of dough from the fridge. Place about 1 tablespoon of the berry filling over each of the refrigerated circles. Brush a little ice water around the edges of the dough, and then place a non-refrigerated circle of dough on top. Seal the hand pies by pressing together the two circles of dough and crimping the edges with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate the little pies for a half hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the pies from the fridge, and brush the tops with a lightly beaten egg. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, and with a knife, cut vents for each pie (this allows the stream to escape so your pies don't explode in the oven!). Bake the hand pies for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the hand pies from the oven, and allow them to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Makes around 15 hand pies