Jul 9, 2014

Blueberry Hand Pie

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Say hand pie, and I think McDonald's apple pies -- gooey filling (more 'filling' than apples), handy cardboard push-up container. A classic. (Apparently McDonald's switched over to a less tasty baked, not fried, version in 1992. Does anyone remember this?)

This blueberry version from Bon Appetit is quite simple once you've prepared the pie crust. Except every time I've attempted pie, specifically the crust, I screw it up. Cue existential baking crisis (Team Cake!). Which shouldn't be the case, because I generally have cold fingers, and apparently the trick to perfectly flaky pie crust is to keep your dough and everything (I mean everything, including bowls and utensils) as cold as possible. Anyhow, these individual hand pies seemed less threatening than an entire pie, and I decided to use Smitten Kitchen's very detailed recipe for perfect pie crust in lieu of the one listed on the actual recipe (because I needed all the guidance I could get!)

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And it turned it surprisingly well (they did not look pretty going into the oven!), though there's certainly room for improvement. The pies baked flat, not at all rounded like the ones pictured on Bon Appetit, most likely because I over-filled them (so try the suggested 6 pies, instead of the 4 large I made). The blueberry filling bled out in what ended up a massacre on parchment paper (which seems to be a common occurrence, according to reviews -- despite amending the recipe by include a starch thickener).

Nevertheless, they were really tasty. An indulgent way to use up some summer blueberries, because the crust to filling ratio is quite a bit skewed towards crust than it would be with a regular pie slice. In other words, it's a lot of crust for one serving of pie! They're best served warm out of the oven, maybe with a scoop or two of ice cream.

Blueberry Hand Pie Adapted from Bon Appetit | 4-6 servings
1 recipe Pie Crust (I used this recipe -- which yielded me 4 large hand pies, or 6 smaller pies)
All-purpose flour, for dusting

2 cups | 10 oz fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup | 50 grams sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch (I used arrowroot starch)
pinch salt

1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon of water
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss blueberries, lemon zest and juice, sugar, corn or arrowroot starch, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Take chilled pie crust dough out of the refrigerator. Roll out dough (read the instructions in the pie crust recipe, link above) into a rough rectangle, about 15x12". Cut into 4-6 rectangles. Transfer to parchment paper. At any point during this process that the dough becomes soft and unmanageable, chill it in the freezer.

Spoon the blueberry mixture onto one center half of dough, leaving sufficient space around the edges. brush edges with water, then fold dough over, pressing edges to seal.

Brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Cut a few slits on top. At this point, it wouldn't hurt to put your entire baking sheet of pies back in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake for ~35-40 minutes, until tops have sufficiently browned and juices are bubbling.

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