nectarine hand-pies

Dear Howard,

It has become the year of pies and hand-pies. Sure, you might say they’re turnovers or strudels, but hand-pies are so much cuter. Who knew I would churn out more than 50 of these this year only to be gobbled up by the masses? I think the hand-pie obsession is real.

Thank goodness I had extra pie dough lying around that night and decided to make peach-apple hand-pies on a whim. I think that is still my favourite filling combo, but I’m sure we’ll find another soon. These remind me of the McDonald pies, except these are flakier and not as sweet.

Nectarine Hand-Pies
All-butter pie crust recipe adapted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Makes about 25 hand-pies

1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water

  1. As you know, I like to use my trusty food processor for its speed. Plus, it evenly distributes the butter into small specks among the flour, creating a nice marble effect.
  2. Add the sugar and salt into the food processor. Then cut up the cold butter and scatter them around the bowl. Pour in the flour and then pulse until the mixture is grainy and sandy looking.
  3. In a measuring cup, pour in the apple cider vinegar and cold water.
  4. Turn on the food processor again and through the opening, add 10 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar and water mixture.
  5. The dough should come together nicely and feel a little (a tiny bit) tacky or sticky. I prefer the dough this way because additional flour gets added during the rolling process.
  6. Divide the dough into two flat discs and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

02_nectarinehandpies

Hand-Pie Filling
Makes enough for about 25 hand-pies

6 to 7 nectarines, diced into small chunks (1 pound or 3 cups)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons potato starch
½ teaspoon salt

  1. Mix the nectarines, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together. Let it macerate for half an hour to an hour and pour out the excess juices.
  2. Then mix in the potato starch and salt to help thicken the filling.

03_nectarinehandpies

Making hand-pies is a lot like making dumplings. I rolled out the dough and used a 4-inch circle cutter to create all the round wrappers. Then scooped about a tablespoon of filling into the middle. Then with a dab of water around the edges, sealed the fruit filling in.

04_nectarinehandpies

Using the tines of a fork, I pressed down along the border to further seal the edges.

05_nectarinehandpies

Isn’t it cute? A pie that fits in the palm of my hands! Using a knife, I made three small cuts to let the steam vent when it bakes.

06_nectarinehandpies

Brush the top of the hand-pies with an egg wash.

07_nectarinehandpies

And sprinkle on the brown Demerara sugar. The more you add, the more crunchy it’ll be!

08_nectarinehandpies

Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for half an hour, the hand-pies should be golden brown.

09_nectarinehandpies

Let the pies cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Eat with your hands.

10_nectarinehandpies

This is seriously the best baked good we’ve discovered this year. I can’t wait for summer next year to eat all the peaches and nectarines again!

Sincerely,
Syl

nectarine and blueberry pie

Dear Kurt,

It’s been a summer of pies! Sorry to have ruined grocery-store pies for you. But now I know why I never liked pies before, the store bought ones have such awful crusts! This summer was a big turning point for me. I used to pick cake over pie, but now I’m very much in the pie camp as well. Here’s one of the many pies that I managed to document this summer. The nectarines can also be swapped out for peaches in this case.

Nectarine and Blueberry Pie
All-butter pie crust recipe adapted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Makes one 9-inch pie (double crust)

1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water

  1. You can make the pie dough by hand, but I like to use my trusty food processor for its speed. Plus, it evenly distributes the butter into small specks among the flour.
  2. Add the sugar and salt into the food processor. Then cut up the cold butter and scatter them around the bowl. Pour in the flour and then pulse until the mixture is grainy and sandy looking.
  3. In a measuring cup, pour in the apple cider vinegar and cold water.
  4. Turn on the food processor again and through the opening, add 10 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar and water mixture.
  5. The dough should come together nicely and feel a little (a tiny bit) tacky or sticky. I prefer the dough this way because additional flour gets added during the rolling process.
  6. Divide the dough into two flat discs and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

02_nectarineblueberry.jpg

Pie Filling
Filling recipe from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Makes enough for one 9-inch pie

7 nectarines, diced (1 pound or 3 cups)
2 cups of blueberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons potato starch
½ teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt

  1. Combine the nectarines, blueberries, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon juice together. I like to let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour for the excess juice to come out. I’ll pour out the majority, but keep a quarter of the juices. Then add the potato starch, ground allspice, ground cloves, and salt. Give it a good mix.

03_nectarineblueberry

Pie Assembly Time

Unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1 large egg
Brown Demerara sugar

  1. Butter the pie pan and let it chill in the fridge. When you’re ready to roll the pie dough, take one out of the fridge and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Remember, you don’t want it too warm, but just pliable enough to roll.
  2. Dust a surface and rolling pin with flour (about 1 tablespoon). Roll the dough out to about a 11 or 12-inch circle to take into account the pan’s height. Having dough hanging off the edge of the pan is okay. At this point, if you think the dough is getting too soft, pop it back in the fridge.
  3. After covering the bottom of your pan with the dough, pour in the nectarines and blueberries. Let it chill in the fridge and take out the second disc of dough to work on the pie lattice. This is also a good time to start preheating your oven to 425°F, make sure to position the oven racks to the bottom and center positions.
  4. Again, dust a flat surface and rolling pin with flour (another 1 tablespoon). Roll the dough out and cut them into strips or whatever shaped design you’d like.
  5. I made a bunch of long rectangle strips and did a simple twist braid going vertically. And no braids going horizontally. Don’t trim off the excess yet!
  6. To make the border, roll in all the excess dough hanging off the edge. You’ll soon have a nice thick circumference that can be crimped into a wave. Again, if the dough starts to feel warm, pop it back in the fridge, especially if your oven hasn’t finished preheating yet!
  7. Once your oven indicates that it’s ready, take the pie out of the fridge. Scramble the egg in a small bowl and brush it over the dough. Careful not to draw out any of the fruit if your lattice top has huge gaps.
  8. Then sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top, it should stick to the egg wash.
  9. Place the pie on a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F and move the pie on the baking sheet to the center oven rack. Continue to bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The pie is ready when the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
  11. Take the pie out and let it cool on a wire rack for 2 to 3 hours. Serve at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

04_nectarineblueberry

Weaving a lattice for the pie.

05_nectarineblueberry

Rolling in the excess dough to form a crimp.

06_nectarineblueberry

Use your thumb to push out the dough to crimp out the edges.

07_nectarineblueberry

Tah-dah!

08_nectarineblueberry

Of course, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 😉

Sincerely,
Sylvia