Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake and I had the honor of choosing the theme for this month's You Want Pies With That. We asked the participants to come up with a pie that reminds them of a "Taste of Summer". Summer can conjure up seasonal fruit or carnival foods, but it can also be about sunburns and bored kids. I was one of those bored kids.
The concept of over scheduled children driven around by a "soccer mom" didn't quite exist when I was growing up. My parents didn’t send us to camp or summer school. In fact, it was okay to leave children at home alone unsupervised for a few hours back then. My brothers and I would hang around the house and try not to destroy the house or each other.
My mom never let us have any junk food normally. But during the summer break we could occasionally go to the corner store and pick out something sugary. I always chose a Hostess Fruit Pie. I know it sounds gross and I am a bit ashamed to admit that I like it, but a 9 year old me thought it was delicious. [Note: Hostess Fruit Pies are commercially produced hand pies.]
So I decided to bake some miniature blueberry hand pies as a tribute to that childhood summertime treat.
Blueberry Hand Pies
(22-24 mini hand pies)
1 quantity of Flaky Pie Crust (see recipe below)
14 ounces blueberries
6 tbsp granulated sugar
5 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water
1-2 tsp granulated sugar
To make the filling:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
To assemble the hand pies:
Roll out your chilled dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out 4-inch circles. (You can reuse the dough scraps once. Lay the scraps, side by side slightly overlapping and roll them between plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for at least 15 minutes before cutting out more circles from the rolled scraps.) You should get about 22-24 circles.
Spoon about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the blueberry filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges lightly with cold water (to help the dough stick) and fold dough in half. Using your fingers, press the border to seal it and then press the border using the tines of a fork. Refrigerate filled hand pies for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. If desired, brush the chilled turnovers with egg glaze and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 steam vents into the top of each turnover. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden and the filling is bubbling. Let hand pies cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Flaky Pie Crust
(makes 20 ounces dough - enough pastry for 22-24 hand pies)
7 ounces (14 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
11 1/4 ounces (2 1/4 cups) bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
5 to 7 tbsp ice water
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Divide the 7 ounces (14 tbsp) of butter into 2 portions: 4.5 ounces and 2.5 ounces (9 tbsp and 5 tbsp). Refrigerate the 4.5 ounce portion and freeze the 2.5 ounce portion for at least 30 minutes.
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Process for a few seconds to combine.
Add the 4.5 ounces of (refrigerated) butter and process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the 2.5 ounces of (frozen) butter and pulse until the frozen butter is the size of peas.
Add the 5 tbsp of ice water and the vinegar and pulse 6-7 times. Pinch a small amount of the mixture to see if it holds together. If not, add another 1 tbsp water and pulse 3 times. Try pinching again to see if it holds together. If not, add the final 1 tbsp water and pulse 3 times.
Divide the dough in half. Wrap each portion with plastic wrap and flatten into discs. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.