Sometimes you just need a little snack or something that is homemade without having an abundance left over. Sometimes you just need something to go with an afternoon cup of tea.
That is why having the recipe for hand pies is a great idea as they are individual sized pastries that are perfect for those cravings! They are also great for when you are responsible for providing dessert at the next work or social function – and when they have a fresh and rich blueberry filling? Well that’s just the icing on the pie!
Fresh or Frozen Blueberries?
Normally, the answer would be to use all fresh berries as your filling but in the case of hand pies? Then you can easily use frozen as well if that is what you have on hand or if blueberries are out of season. The reason that either or can be used is because with this recipe, you are going to make the berries into a jam rather than leaving them whole so they are boiled down with water and other ingredients.
Typically, baked goods would require fresh berries because the frozen ones contain more water which can create a soggy dough. To offset this, you would have to roll the frozen berries in flour or something similar to soak up the water that is formed when the berries are frozen.
Can You Use Blueberry Pie Filling if Need Be?
Absolutely, when in a pinch and you want to make hand pies with various fillings but you are out of fresh or frozen berries; you can always use a can of pie filling. However, keep in mind that the taste will change if using a prepackaged filling. It will definitely have a more sugary taste and it will be heavier on the stomach due to the preservatives needed to keep the berries as fresh as can be in the can.
Equipment Needed to prepare the Blueberry Hand Pies:
- Heavy bottom saucepan
- Parchment Paper
- Baking Sheet
- Cooling Rack
- Small Bowl
- Wooden Spoon
Yields 10 to 12 hand pies
Ingredients for the Blueberry Hand Pies:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2/3 cups sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 tbsp. Mascarpone cheese
- 1 tbsp. corn starch + ¼ cup water
- 1 store bought pie crust package (with 2 crusts)
- 1 egg + 1 tsp water
- 2 tablespoons sugar in the raw (or any sugar)
How to make the Blueberry Hand Pies:
Before starting anything, the best thing to do is prep your workstation. Have all your ingredients within reach and preheat the oven to 375°.
Step 1: cook filling
Put the berries, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy bottom skillet. Have the skillet simmering on medium-high heat. After about 4 to 5 minutes, smash up the berries with the wooden spoon to make a soupy mixture.
Step 2: mix with berries
Mix together in a bowl the corn-starch and water together until you create a slurry. Pour that mixture over the smashed berries and stir vigorously to mix all the ingredients together.
Step 3: cook mixture
Cook the mixture on medium low heat to give it time to reduce to a jam consistency. Stir occasionally to continue mixing the ingredients.
Remove the berry mixture from the heat source and allow it to settle. Let it sit on the cupboard for 7 to 10 minutes. This will give it chance to cool naturally as well.
Step 4: cut pastry
Using the small bowl and a sharp kitchen knife, cut out circles of pie crust while the berry mixture is cooling.
Make sure the cycles are close together to maximize the number of hand pies you will get.
Once you are done cutting out whatever circles you can, roll the leftover dough together and then use a rolling pin to spread it out once more. Cut whatever circles you can out of this dough as well.
Place your dough circles on a parchment paper-lined cookie or baking sheet.
Step 5: egg wash
While you are waiting for the final minutes of the cooling for the berry mixture, use this time to create an egg wash. This will be used to seal the hand pies together. To create an egg wash, stir together one full egg and 1 tsp of water. Stir together until fully mixed.
Step 6: filling
Fill each dough circle* with 1 tsp of the cooled blueberry jam mixture and 1 tsp of mascarpone cheese. Watch how much filling is added to the pie crust. It will certainly seep out from the edges of the dough, but you don’t want them overfilled as this can disrupt the baking process.
Tip: using a mascarpone cheese helps cut down on some of the sweetness of the blueberries and the mixture but it is completely optional.
Step 7: fold and seal
Fold over each dough circle and pinch the edges together with the prongs of a fork. Repeat all around the edges of the dough circle.
Using the sharp kitchen knife from earlier; cut a small slit in the top of the hand pie. Don’t make it big enough for the filling to come out, just enough to allow ventilation while the pies are baking.
Step 8: more egg wash
Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash mixture to ensure that it is fully sealed. This will not only keep the hand pie closed, but will also give it a nice golden crisp when baked.
Step 9: sprinkle sugar
Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar – the egg wash will help the sugar stick to the pies. This will make the hand pie looks even yummier, and adds that extra little something.
Step 10: Bake
Bake the pies in the preheated to 375° oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until the pies are golden brown as shown in the picture above. Remove them from the oven, allow them to cool on a cooling rack, and dig in!
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