Move over Hostess and Little Debbie! Here is a recipe for creating hand pies for all of the wonderful summer fruit on the vine, trees, and in your counter bowl right now. So seriously easy, you will never want to toss some pies in the basket from the supermarket again. Double the dough recipe if you want to and keep it refrigerated for up to one week – or freeze it for up to a month. That way, it is handy for fruit or meat pies whenever the opportunity presents…..
So,,, let’s start with the crust. I know this might seem whacky, and I don’t know why it works, but follow these steps for a remarkably tender crust.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick very cold butter cut into small 1 inch pieces
1 stick very cold Imperial Margarine cut into small 1 inch pieces
3 Tablespoons of ice water
About 4 Tablespoons or so of Bread Flour for dusting the work surface and rolling out the dough – this makes a difference
1 whole egg – for brushing the crust with
3 Tablespoons or so of Natural Sugar Crystals (Demerara Sugar)
Filling mix Ingredients:
1 cup (do not pack) light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon nutmeg
Peeled and sliced fruit/fruits of choice
Nuts if desired
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine and fluff up the flour.
Next, drop the pieces of butter and Imperial ( I am telling you Imperial because for some reason it seems to make a difference – probably something added to the production process that I do not even want to know about) over the flour mixture and pulse until well combined. The usual pea size consistency will look more like powder – don’t worry.
Then, add the chilled water one tablespoon/pulse at a time. Your dough will end up looking wetter than you would normally want to see – don’t worry.
Then, gather the dough in either one or two balls and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, as the dough is chilling, mix the brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and nutmeg together and set aside.
Then, prep your fillings: cut/peel fruit, chop nuts, etc.
When you are ready to assemble the pies, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Then, remove the dough and break off a hand full at a time and dust & roll out on a flour dusted work surface (use bread dough to dust the work surface – I don’t know why it makes a difference, but it does. Then, cut out 4 ½ inch Circles.
Place ½ teaspoon of the brown sugar mixture on the top of one of the circles. Then place your fruit over it. Then, top the fruit with another ½ teaspoon of the brown sugar mixture.
Run the roller lightly over the circle you will top the fruit with to slightly enlarge it. Then place it over the fruit.
Now, crimp the top and bottom circles of crust together with a fork. Then, even it all up by pressing the circle cutter over the edges to cut off the raggedy excess.
Place the little pie on a stone or baking sheet and repeat the process.
I filled some of my pies with peaches which had been peeled and sliced into small manageable pieces, some were filled with mangoes, some were filled with sliced bananas with chopped walnuts.
When you have one of your baking pans loaded with the little pies, whisk one whole egg and brush each pie. Then, sprinkle Demerara sugar over the tops of each pie.
Then, using a sharp serrated knife, cut a slit in the top of each pie and wiggle it a little to create a little wider opening.
Now you are ready to place your pan or stone in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the crust is cooked and golden.
Remove and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove the pies and allow them to continue to cool on a rack.
Enjoy warm or completely cooled.