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Our ABC July project was exactly what I needed to welcome summer after a rain drenched June: Blueberry Hand Pies, a recipe from King Arthur Flour. These cute portion-sized pies combine two major food groups: buttery pastry and fruit!
Since our wonderful native Maine blueberries were not ripe yet, and frozen wild blueberries are not quite as flavorful, I combined them with rhubarb from the garden (as "honorary" berry), and threw some fresh raspberries in the mix.
The amount of sugar in the filling was sufficient to balance my tarter fruits, so I didn't add any more sugar. But first I omitted the lemon juice, until I tasted the cooked fruit. It could definitely do with a little more tang, so the lemon juice went back in.
|The food processor makes mixing a cinch|
For the dough I used the food processor, which made short work of cutting the butter to the desired pea sized pieces. Adding the sour cream I had King Arthur's cautioning in mind: the dough will not be cohesive.
Emptying the bowl on the countertop I found this quite the understatement - not cohesive? Without the slightest feelings of solidarity, the crumbles did their best to avoid contact with their comrades, rolling madly around and trying to escape to the floor.
|No worries about the crumbles: the dough will eventually cooperate!|
Here my soda bread making experience came handy, I told myself not to get nervous, and managed, with a little bit of milk to moisten my hands, (and without brutal force!) to coax the rebellious crumbles into a rough semblance of a dough.
The turns - rolling and folding the dough - were less difficult than I expected. Even though the dough was brittle and got some cracks in the process.
Since it was a really warm day, and the dough started to stick a bit, I put it after the first turn for a few minutes in the freezer, to firm up again, and, also, gave it an overnight rest in the fridge before shaping and baking it the next day.
|Ready to spend the night in the fridge|
The little cut out stars from the vents made nice little cookies. We liked the crunch and taste of raw sugar as topping better than sparkling sugar, that added nothing to the flavor.
Looking at those cute little pies we knew: they had to be great. They didn't earn their 5-star reviews for nothing - the were absolutely delicious!! Definitely something I will make again!
|A keeper - my Raspbluebarb Hand Pies!|
SUMMER BERRY HAND PIES adapted from King Arthur Flour website
241 g all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
227 g unsalted butter, cold
113 g sour cream
227 g blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used a mixture of blueberries, rhubarb and raspberries)
50 g sugar
1 tbsp. Instant ClearJel (or 2 tsp. cornstarch)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
raw sugar, for sprinkling
|Process the dough to a coarse, crumbly mixture with large, pea-sized butter pieces|
Using a food processor, add flour, salt and baking powder to bowl, and pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and pulse, until mixture is crumbly, but leave most of the butter in large, pea-sized pieces.
Or whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl, add butter, and work with hands or pastry cutter.
|The sour cream hardly seems enough to moisten the dough (but it does!)|
Stir in sour cream (dough won't be cohesive.) Turn it out onto a floured work surface, and bring it together, with a few quick pushes and kneads (moisten hands with milk). DON'T GET NERVOUS, ALL WILL BE OKAY!
Pat dough into a rough log, and roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle. EVEN IF IT'S BRITTLE AND CRACKS, YOU ARE DOING JUST FINE!
|Folding the dough the first time - you can see the butter pieces|
Dust both sides of the dough lightly with flour, and, starting with a shorter end, fold it in thirds like a business letter. (If the dough gets too soft, and starts to stick, freeze it for 15 minutes to firm up again.)
|Trim dough to make straight edges, and place cut pieces on top|
Flip dough over, turn 90°, (re-flour, if necessary) and roll it again into an 8" x 10" rectangle. Trim sides with bench knife, placing cut off pieces on top of dough, and fold it in thirds again.
|After two turns you have a neat dough package|
Wrap package with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight. Or, if you prefer to bake the same day, chill dough for at least 30 minutes before using.
|Cooking berries and rhubarb|
For the filling: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. (Adjust with more sugar or lemon to taste.) Transfer cooked berries to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425°F, placing a rack on the middle shelf. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
|The filling looks almost too much, but it didn't squeeze out|
Divide filling among 8 of the squares, using about a heaping tablespoon for each. Brush some of the beaten egg along edges of each filled square.
Cut a vent into each of the remaining eight squares, using a decorative cutter of your choice. Place cut out pieces on baking sheet. Or use as decoration.
|Hand Pies (and star cookies) ready for baking|
Top each filled square with a vented square, place on baking sheet and press along edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
Brush pie tops (and cut out pieces) with remaining beaten egg, and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake pies for 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
To make ahead: Place unbaked pies on the baking sheet in the freezer. When they are frozen, put them in a freezer bag. You don't have to thaw them, you can bake them frozen (it will take a little longer.)
Would you like to join the Avid Bakers? New members are always welcome!