Hand pies are finger friendly, miniature sized pies. When it comes to date night, I always advocate for little, cute, finger friendly desserts that are as cute to look at as they are tasty. Sure sometimes I’ll make a full sized cake or something, but I know from personal experience that it either goes bad or we pack on pounds when I go overboard on dessert. This is cold, hard truth about cooking for two is a fabulous excuse to get creative with desserts!
Ideas for the Fruit Filling:
Hand pie recipes are best made with fresh seasonal fruit with plenty of thickener, such as cornstarch or arrowroot. When we filmed this episode, the nectarines happened to be the happiest (and least expensive) fruit at the store. When in doubt, choose apples. I suggest granny smith, fuji, or pink lady.
Another option for the fruit is the frozen section. Pick a fruit that is free of additions such as corn sugar, corn syrup of any kind, maltodextrin, or sucralose. Ideally the fruit should also be free of added sugar, though this is a tall order at the grocery store.
Scraps and Remnants:
If you follow my hand pie recipe and use a similarly sized cookie cutter, you will end up with about half a dozen hand pies and a respectable amount of leftover fruit filling and pie crust. Here are three options:
- Re-roll the crust and make a ‘rustic tart’ (less fussy, nobody cares if the crust is less flaky)
- Re-roll the crust and make more handpies (the crust will loose it’s tender-flaky-awesomeness)
- Throw it away (please do not waste your hard work and food!)
Waste of good fruit and premium pie crust is a crime, and to me, the drop in quality of the pie crust turns me off from making more hand pies. So, I opted to make a rustic tart. Directions for the rustic tart follow the recipe.
Nectarine Hand Pie Recipe:
- Begin by combining the fruit, sugar, honey, cornstarch and cornstarch together in a mixing bowl. Allow it to macerate at room temperature for up to an hour.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Sift if desired.
- Cut the butter and coconut oil into the flour. My favorite method is to mill it between my finger tips, then rub big handfuls between my palms until the fat feels like it is mixed through.
- Drizzle a couple tablespoons of ice water over the flour-fat mix. Fold gently to moisten.
- Continue adding the ice water, one tablespoon at a time. Fold the water in completely before adding more. Add until there is enough moisture that the dough clings to itself when gently squeezed together. Gather the dough into a ball.
- Optional – Ideal for a warm environment: Allow the dough to chill in the fridge for a half hour, covered.
- Set the dough on a well floured counter. Roll it around to coat in the flour. Redistribute the flour across the work surface.
Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. As you roll, frequently run your thin spatula underneath it to give it flour and loosen it from the counter. Sticky pie crust = lots of holes and sad pies.
- Brush excess flour from the surface of the crust.
- Cut out 12-14 crusts. Peel the excess crust away and hold for the rustic tart.
- Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of well drained fruit into the center of every other cut out crust.
- Brush a generous amount of egg wash around the edges of the crusts with the fruit on them.
- Add a top crust over each fruited/egg washed crust.
- Use a fork to press the edges together. If you are making hearts, work from the bottom point up to the crest, so that the shape is enhanced.
- If any holes happen patch them up with a bit of remnant pie crust, or squeeze the crust back together with your fingers.
- Brush the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with colored sugar.
Use the thin metal spatula to scrape the pies off the counter and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 17-23 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown and the pies move when gently nudged.
Rustic Tart Directions:
- Squeeze the crust remnants back together.
- Roll the crust out again on a clean counter in a circular shape. Make it thicker than it was for the hand pies.
- Place the remaining fruit in the center of the crust. Shape it so that it is a mountain in the center of the crust.
- Flop the edges over the fruit, folding the crust so that it wraps around it. Trim away excess crust so that a nice amount of fruit shows through the top.
- Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.