A few days ago, I met up with a friend who just happened to be snacking on one of those convenience store mini fruit pies. You know, the ones from the impulse rack on the counter by the register.
Though I do have a special place in my heart for junk-food cravings, I usually try to figure out how I can create the make-at-home version using real ingredients with names I can pronounce. It takes away some of the guilt factor and makes the house smell really good at the same time. So this week I bring you blueberry hand pies.
As we are coming into the height of fresh summer fruit, especially berries, take advantage of some of the grocery store sales and farmers market baskets of ripe fruit and get your pie on.
For those of you who hate making dough (I understand), just cheat the system a little and pick up some premade dough from the refrigerator section. They usually come two in a box, and all you have to do is take it out of the fridge to rest for about 10 minutes before using, unroll it and you're ready to go.
For the brave souls, I've got a fool-proof pie crust recipe for you below. You'll also want to make sure to use the ripest fruit possible for the best natural sweetness. As a personal preference, I also like to brush these little pies with an egg wash just before baking to ensure a beautiful golden brown appearance. For this recipe, I sprinkle sugar onto the pies after the egg wash to mimic that sugary glazed coating on our junk-food favorite.
Blueberry hand pies
Makes 10-12 pies
1 homemade pie dough (see below), or 1 box premade crust dough
2 pints fresh blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. water
sugar for crust
1. Preheat the oven to 365 degrees F.
2. Mix the berries, 1/3 c. sugar, pinch of salt, and vanilla together, and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbs.
4. Roll out or cut dough into 6-8 circles. Place a spoonful of berry mixture on one half of the dough. Fold the other half dough over the berries, and pinch edges together to seal shut. Repeat for the rest of the pies.
5. Brush each pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with sugar.
6. Bake at 365 degrees F on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat for 30-35 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Pie crust dough
For 1 pie crust
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour (plus some for the counter)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 stick cold butter, cut into cubes
6 tbsp. cold water
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and egg and pulse until pea size clumps form.
2. Add the cold water, and pulse until all ingredients are incorporated, and a shaggy, moldable dough forms.
3. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Knead with the heel of your hand 4 or 5 times until its smooth like play dough.
4. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and let rest at least one hour in the fridge. Pull out and let sit on the counter 10 minutes before using.
Jessica Roy is a private chef, specialty caterer and author of foodie blog, Shiso Fresh. Follow her at blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.