Blueberry Hand Pies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (recommended King Arthur unbleached)
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter (recommended Kerrygold)
- ½ cup cold sour cream
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh organic
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon rind
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp. white sparkling sugar, for garnish
Makes 16 hand pies
Hand pies or pasties can be traced back to at least 19th-century England, where they were a convenient lunch for miners. The pastry casing was a way to keep the filling warm and dirt free. Miners would hold the edges, eat the filling, and discard the dough when they were done.
Once you have the pastry made, you can improvise with whatever seasonal goodies or leftovers you have lying around. Leftover sautéed greens, the last bit of beef stew, yesterday’s potatoes and leeks — it’s all potential filling for a hand pie.
These hand pies can be prepared, baked, and then frozen, or they can be prepared and frozen before baking. Either option works great for a last-minute dessert. Make sure you add lemon in order to bring out the flavor of the berries. Serve with or without vanilla ice cream.
To make the pastry:
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the butter, working it with your fingers to make a coarse/crumbly mixture. Some pieces will be larger, and some will be pea-sized pieces. The important thing is to rub the butter into the flour.
- Add the sour cream and stir until the mixture starts to come together in chunks. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and bring it together in a few quick kneads.
- Pat the dough into a rough log and roll it into an 8”x10” rectangle.
- Dust both sides of the dough with flour and, starting with a shorter end, fold it in three, like a business letter.
- Flip the dough over, give it a 90° turn on the work surface, and roll it again into an 8”x10” rectangle. Fold it in three again.
- Wrap the dough and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight before using.
To make the filling:
- Rinse blueberries and drain well.
- Place berries in a saucepan.
- Whisk the cornstarch with the sugar and pour over the berries.
- Add the salt, lemon juice, and lemon rind, stirring to combine.
- Place the saucepan on a burner set to medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the small amount of liquid in the bottom of the pan comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked berries to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. It’s fine to make the filling in advance and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and place the rack on the middle self. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To assemble the pies:
- Roll the dough to a 14”x14” square and cut out 4” rounds (any size will do). You should yield 16 pies, depending on the size of your circles. Brush the edges of the circles with beaten egg using a pastry brush.
- Divide the filling among the circles, using a heaping tablespoon for each.
- Place the filling in the middle of the circle and bring the one edge of the circle to meet the other by folding into each other.
- Crimp edges with a fork, making sure all edges are crimped well. Use a knife to cut vents on the top of the hand pies or use a decorative cutter of your choice.
- Top each pie with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Transfer pies to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake pies for 18 to 20 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
The pies can be frozen and then reheated for 20 minutes in a 425° oven.