Sunday, August 26, 2012

Strawberry Hand Pies

The first time I attempted to make a pie, the results were a little mixed. As good as the berry pie tasted, the filling came out a bit runny and the crust was not at all flaky. But with company coming for dinner, I decided to give pie another shot, but with a twist this time. Rather than make one large pie, I opted for more conveniently sized strawberry hand pies, with a nutella cream dipping sauce on the side.

This time, things turned out very differently than my first pie attempt. These came out perfectly crispy and flaky, and the strawberry filling was sufficiently thick rather than runny. You can practically SEE how flaky they are just by looking at them! I won't lie to you, though, this perfect flakiness comes at a cost - this is not an easy recipe to prepare, with many steps to perform and long periods of waiting for things to freeze or chill. Of course, I'll walk you through it step by step as always, but just know that it isn't for the lazy or faint of heart. They are, however, well worth the effort, and I consider them one of my most resounding dessert success stories to date.

Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats

Difficulty: Tough
Active Prep Time: About 1 hour
Total Prep Time: 4 1/2 hours
Special Equipment: Pastry Blender, Electric Hand Mixer (Optional)
Makes: 15 - 20 hand pies

Pastry Ingredients:
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup ice water

Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 lb. strawberries
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon spiced rum
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Nutella Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (Or regular cream cheese, softened)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Pinch of salt


1. Begin by whisking together flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add the butter. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour.

2. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the middle of the flour. Put the cubes of butter in the well and cut it into the flour using a pastry blender. It's hard work, but by the time you finish, the mixture should resemble coarse meal. When it's done, make another well in the center of the mixture.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and ice water. Pour half of the mixture into the flour well and combine by hand. Remove the large lumps that form to a separate bowl.

4. Pour in the rest of the sour cream mixture and mix by hand. You should now have a bunch of separate clumps. Pat the lumps together into a ball, but do not overwork the dough; the ball should be loosely packed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

5. Prepare a lightly floured work surface. Remove the ball of dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Put one half on the work surface and return the other half to the fridge. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch in thickness. Using a circular template or stencil, cut circles out of the dough about 3 - 6 inches in diameter. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough, and place all the cut out pieces onto a parchment-lined backing tray. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. (You have to work pretty fast during this step, since the dough becomes very difficult to work with if it's not cold enough.)

(While the pastry shells refrigerate, prepare the filling)

6. Dice up your strawberries and put them in a large bowl. Add the flour, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and rum. Mix well with a rubber spatula until the strawberries are completely coated. Set aside until needed.

7. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Spoon some of the strawberry mixture onto the center of a dough round, making sure not to overfill (used about 1 tablespoon of filling per pastry).

8. Brush the edges of the dough with cold water, then fold in half to cover the filling. Press the edges together, then use the tines of a fork to create a decorate seal. Repeat the process until all pastries are filled and sealed, then refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the chilled pastries from the fridge and cut a small slit in the top of each. Beat an egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water to create an egg wash, then brush it over each pastry. Sprinkle each pastry with a generous pinch of raw cane sugar. Place in the oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

(While the pies bake, prepare the Nutella cream dipping sauce)

10. In a small bowl, add the milk, Nutella, and mascarpone. Beat until well combined (I used an electric hand mixer to help speed up the process). Set the mixture aside until needed.

11. When the pies are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Serve with the Nutella dipping sauce on the side.

1 comment:

  1. This is a difficult recipe requiring a lot of strong arm mixing. It looks delicious and I wish I could taste it. I\Do the chocolate Nutella and mascarpone really add to the pastries or could it be "overkill".

    Keep up the good work. Love,