Are you a Cake Person or Pie Person?
You are either one or the other! I am 100% a pie person (cobbler too), but you know what's even better than pies? HAND PIES! What are hand pies? Individual pies that you can pick up and eat. They can be made savory or sweet but for this blog post I'm sticking to the sweet stuff. Hand pies are great for so many reasons...they are easy to make, they are neat and are perfect for presentation (they look so fancy!), you can be really creative with your filling....and the absolute best reason: you get have your own and don't need to share!!
You know what would be a great project to try for Valentine's Day? Making these individual little pockets of bliss. It's easy, too.....(don't tell, but I use pre-made crust and it works beautifully). I am seriously gonna give you the CLIFFS NOTES version- it's so easy that you'll be surprised you were able to make them. You can even have kids help you make these--they're that easy!
What do you need to make hand pies? You need a Hand pie mold-I bought a heart-shaped Pocket Pie mold from Williams-Sonoma (no longer being sold), but you can use any pie mold- or any empanada mold.
Here are a few you can buy online:
Heart Shaped: https://www.amazon.com/Tovolo-Petite-Pie-Mold-Apple/dp/B004Q3QUW4?th=1
Half moon shaped: https://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Pocket-Pie-Crimper/dp/B005EW5Z1I
Strawberry Hand Pies Recipe: (makes about 8-10)
1 large container strawberries, cut strawberries into little squares (cut an average sized strawberry into 4-6 pieces)
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
a little vanilla (1 tsp)
2 packages of Pillsbury refrigerated Pie Crusts
1 tbsp. corn starch
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. water (mixed together)
Equipment: A clean flat surface, a hand pie mold, a fork, a pastry brush, a rolling pin (to re-roll the pie crust leftovers), a citrus zester, and a saucepan.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
In the saucepan: combine cut strawberries, lemon zest, vanilla, sugar and cook for a few minutes, on medium to medium-high in the saucepan. The juice from the strawberries as they cook down will keep the mixture from sticking to the pan. But, if it's getting too thick you can add 1/4 cup water (but you probably won't need to). Once the mixture has broken down a bit (think pie filling consistency)- if it's too watery you can add up to 1 tbsp. corn starch (dissolved in 1/4 cup water) to thicken the consistency, which will make it easier to work with. Make sure to mix the corn starch in completely so that the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes more until you've got the consistency of pie filling.
Now, unroll your dough and place it on a counter. Use your hand pie mold to shape your dough . Some pie molds will fold over and seal automatically but my heart shaped mold has a front and back that I need to press and assemble. I put the filling in between the two sheets of dough and crimp the edges closed with the tines of a fork.
Place the hand pies evenly on a cookie sheet with a non-stick baking mat or Parchment Paper. Brush the dough with the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top for a little crunch. Bake the hand pies for around 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
Prepare to dazzle your friends! Have your kids bring them to school as valentines. Eat them all yourself! Try them with blueberries, or put a little blob of Nutella in the strawberry ones! The possibilities are endless....
So delicious, and such a treat for such little effort. Enjoy!