Guess what. 6 months until THANKSGIVING!!! I’m serious. I was looking ahead to November, my favorite month of the year, and realized we are a short 6 months out. You know what that means? 6 months before it’s pie making season. These Mini Berry Hand Pies are perfect for this time of year, and a good way to experiment or just brush up on your pie making skills!
Pie is my favorite. I’ve written lots of posts about pie making and I’ve found many people get hung up at crust making. They haven’t ever made pie crust, they believe it’s too difficult to make and give up before they ever try. Do you want to know a little secret? I made my first pie when I was in college at the ripe age of 18! One short pie making class and I was hooked. I think it’s really important to find a recipe that simplifies the crust making process and helps you to be a success in the kitchen. This recipe has been my go-to crust recipe 365 days of the year for over 30 years now. It’s simple and so delicious and flaky your granny will ask for the recipe!
I like the simplicity of these little hand pies because they can be made in any shape or size and can be made with any type of filling. I used fresh fruit because it was available and I love fresh berry pies without a lot of other added filler (such as jello, danish dessert, etc). Start to finish, including making dough and baking, these treats take less than an hour. Guys. Fresh berry pies in less than one hour! Need I say more??
Get some berries, make some crust and get your pie game on.
If you want, this recipe makes about 8 hand pies and one rustic tart, about 8 inches in diameter! Instructions on recipe notes.
- Basic Pastry Crust:
- 2 cups flour, plus more for flouring surface
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening, butter flavor or regular, i like to use half cup of each
- ½ cup ice water
- Fruit Filling:
- 2 cups strawberries, fresh, washed and sliced about ¼ inch thick
- 2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 2 pinches pepper, about ⅛ teaspoon
- grated zest of one lemon
- ¼ cup strawberry or raspberry jam or jelly, homemade or store bought
- ½ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla if you don't like almond flavoring
- 1 beaten egg for brushing tops of pies, optional
- Turbinado Sugar for top of hand pies, optional
- For Crust:
- Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or knives.
- Add water. Stir with fork until flour is absorbed and dough comes together.
- Flour surface and rolling pin well.
- Flatten dough with hand a bit. Roll out from center of dough to about ⅛” thickness.
- Using round cutter, or glass, cut out shapes to form a bottom crust. Lay the shapes onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Make sure to line the pan to catch the extra juice that will come out of the hand pie to avoid messy cleanup! Cut out about 10-12 shapes and set on the lined pan. Cut the remaining dough to form the top pieces. Set the remaining shapes on a second pan and chill if possible while making filling, or chill the dough before cutting out the shapes and then roll out. When cutting the shapes, make sure there are an equal amount of shapes so each hand pie has a bottom and top crust.
- Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and set the rack on the lower third of the oven.
- Mix filing ingredients:
- Place all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl, toss together until sugar and cornstarch are blended into fruit and other ingredients.
- Using a tablespoon, place about 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto each bottom crust. Place a top crust on top of the filing and pinch edges slightly to keep filling in the pie ( some of the filling and juice will seep out, don't worry about this).
- Repeat until all of the pies are formed. If desired, brush the top of each pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse or granulated sugar. Cut small slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
-I remove the pies to another lined baking sheet or flat serving platter immediately after baking so the juices that have seeped out won't stick to the pie and make it difficult to remove from the pan.
-If you like, you can make some hand pies and also an open tart. Use any of the leftover crust and roll into a circular form. Fill with remaining fruit topping, sprinkle with sugar. Fold the edges of the crust in to form a slight edge, leaving the middle of the crust open with the fruit exposed. Bake as directed.
-Dough may be easier to handle if chilled for an hour or so if you are a beginner baker. Not necessary, but it may help in handling of dough.
-Try ½ regular and ½ butter flavor Crisco.
-Don’t cut the flour and shortening too much, the pieces of shortening are what make the crust flaky.