5th of July Appropriate
July 7, 2008
These hand pies were a matter of atonement. You see, on the fourth of July, Kevin and I had a barbecue for a couple friends, so we could all watch the fireworks from our rooftop. The fireworks were the main attraction, for sure, but there was food too: a spread of salsas, guacamole, fajitas and the like. Not exactly all-American. Feeling decidedly unpatriotic about this state of culinary affairs, I knew I had to atone the next night when the same crowd reassembled for another BBQ at our friends’ new place
Thus, I offered to bring hand pies. Because not only are pies as American as … um, right. But I was also planning to fill the pate brisee rounds (white!) with strawberries (red!) and blueberries (blue!). When I made this offering to Maggie, our hostess, I explained that they’d be kinda like those pie things at McDonalds, just not gross. Or empanada-ish, but sweet, rather than savory. She was sold.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
These were really fun to make: rolling the dough (half of which was dreamy, the other half of which was profanity-inducing; I choose to remember the former); tucking tiny mounds of juicy fruit into the dough; crimping the edges (I fluted half of them and used the tines of a fork on the other half; both remained sealed but next time I would stick with the fork for looks and ease); egg washing and showering with glistening turbinado sugar. And I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results: leaky and rustic and golden and oozy and palm-sized. Perfectly patriotic, too, even if they were a day late.
Strawberry Hand Pies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
3 cups strawberries, chopped into roughly quarter-inch pieces*
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 recipe Pate Brisee (see below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. In a medium bowl, add strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon; stir to combine, set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll one round of the chilled dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 5-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture onto one-half of each round. Lightly brush egg around the edge of the covered half of each round. Fold remaining dough over to enclose, forming a half moon. Gently press edges together to seal.** Brush the tops of each pie with egg. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each pie. Sprinkle generously with sanding sugar.
Repeat with the remaining dough and fruit.
Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Or let cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.
* I doubled the recipe and used blueberries in place of strawberries in one of the batches. To that batch, I added a pinch of cinnamon and mashed a few of the berries, so they would release their juices.
** As I mentioned in the post, I liked using the tines of a fork to crimp the edges together.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces (2 sticks)
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.*
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
* I doubled the recipe and, as I mention in the post, one of the batches of pate brisee was a dream and the other was a little disastrous. For the disastrous one, I followed this recipe to a tee. For the delightful one, the dough was wetter than the recipe specified. Next time, I will go with my gut and stick with the wetter dough.