There is something so deliciously summery about strawberry pie. Personally, I’m a big fan of the “Shoney’s style” Mile High Strawberry Pie, but there is also something deliciously cute about hand pies. So I figure a marriage between classic strawberry pie and hand pies is bound to be good. “Here comes the bride!!!” 😉
When I was taking the pictures for this recipe, I asked Josh, the guy who handles some of the technical stuff around my blog, which photo he liked better. He said, “One says, ‘Grab the kids and come over for delicious pie,’ and one says ‘Put those kids to bed and save the good stuff for the rest of us.'” haha. So whether you like the bright, teal photo or the dark, moody photo . . . these strawberry hand pies are sure to bring a smile to your 4th of July picnic celebration– no plates or forks necessary. 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Strawberry Hand Pies
(Adapted from Crisco’s basic pie crust recipe here)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chilled butter flavored shortening
1 tsp. white vinegar
8-10 tbsp. icewater
Strawberry jam, for filling
Egg wash and sparkling sugar, if desired, for topping
Whisk flour and salt together, in a bowl. Cut in chilled shortening until pieces are no larger than peas. Gently toss dough with vinegar and just enough icewater to hold the dough together in a ball, without being too crumbly or too wet. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (at least an hour). Roll out dough and cut circles with a biscuit cutter. Place circles on a silpat lined baking sheet and place 1-2 tsp. of jam in the center of each circle. Use egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water) to rim circles and “stick” another dough circle on top of the jam. Vent the tops of tarts with scissors, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar, if desired, for a sparkling top crust. Bake tarts at 375 degrees until golden brown (about 20-25 minutes).
Now, in pictures! 🙂
If pie crust makes you quiver with fright,
Then I’m going to show you how to do it right.
Practice makes perfect, or so they say . . .
You should eat more pie and practice all day 😉
There. Don’t say I never gave you anything. There’s a corny, homemade poem for you. 😉 I don’t pretend to be a pie crust making expert– but I have learned a few tips and tricks, along the way, to make it easier for anyone to make a homemade pie crust. And once you get the hang of it, practice makes perfect. Yes. This means that you can make more delicious pies and call it “practice.” You HAD to do it. *Chomp* Please pass the whipped cream? All in the name of science, of course . . .
To start with, all pie crust basically hinges on one principal– keep it COLD. When the elements of pie dough are kept cold, the fat (usually shortening– or lard, in the old days) doesn’t melt, and then the pieces of cold fat puff up into gloriously light, flaky crust in the oven.
You’ll help yourself out by (1) Keeping your ingredients cold– I keep my shortening in the fridge, and I use icewater, and (2) working quickly so the shortening doesn’t warm up too much.
Start out by whisking your flour and salt, together, in a large mixing bowl. Then grab your chilled shortening and cut the blob of shortening into small pieces. Things can get rough, here, if you don’t work quickly enough– so it helps to have the right tools for the job. Some people use a fork or two knives to “cut in” the butter, but I have the best luck with the Perfect Pie pastry blender (get one here, if you’re interested), because it has a flat bottom, which makes it so much easier to get to the bottom of the bowl with your cutter, as opposed to the traditional, curved-blade pastry cutters, where only the very bottom of the cutter will touch the bowl.
In a few “pushes” with the pastry blender, your shortening is about the size of small peas. Next, mix in your vinegar and just enough icewater (I usually use 10 tbsp. or so, but it’s a little different every time) to bring the dough together. I use a fork to mix the liquid into the flour/shortening mixture, and then I use a fork to kind of “toss” everything together. When the mixture starts to hold together, I quickly use my hands to smoosh it into a ball, but don’t touch it too much, or your hands will warm the dough.
When your dough comes together (handle it as little as possible to keep it tender and flaky), wrap the whole ‘shebang in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for an hour or so, until it’s nice and chilled, again.
Now, by this point, you’re probably petrified to handle the dough– it’s so delicate! What if I can’t touch it! What if I don’t have a pie blender! My entire life is a LIE!!! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don’t worry. Like most things, practice makes perfect. I bake all the time, and I still don’t make pie crust perfectly. But each time I get a little better, and I get a little better at knowing what the dough should look like. And, of course, I use a few little helpers along the way– such as this pastry bag.
I seriously don’t know how anyone makes pie dough without one of these babies. This pie bag changed my life. You plop in half of the dough we just made, with a little bit of flour to keep it from sticking, zip up the pastry bag (leave about 2 inches unzipped for venting while you roll), and voila. Done. Perfect pie crust, in a perfect circle, every time. Get one of these little beauties for about 5 bucks here. Now you can actually give something useful at those Christmas gift exchanges where “no one is supposed to spend more than 5 dollars.” You’re welcome.
I also rolled some dough out, without the pie bag, to show you that it *can* be done without a cheater plastic bag. 😉 Personally, I think it’s ten times easier with the bag, but you can definitely do it without one, too. Be sure to put a little flour underneath the dough so it doesn’t stick to the counter when you try to pick up the cutouts you make.
Now it’s time for the fun part– making the pies! I used a biscuit cutter to cut out some rounds of rolled out pie dough, but you can use anything you want– use a little bowl and cut around it, if you want the pies a little larger. Put a nice 1-2 tsp. “blob” (how’s that for scientific terminology?) in the center of each pie dough round. I put my little pies on a silpat (most amazing invention ever, here). That way nothing sticks (even pies that get a little ornery and run over in the oven), and my little cutesy pies come right up off the baking sheet when done, even if the jelly spills out a little bit. Just wipe off the mess– no soaking overnight or scratching away at dried up jam, in the morning.
Use a little egg wash (1 egg beaten with about 1 tsp. of water) around the edges of the dough to “glue” a second dough round on top. I used a fork to press the edges together, and then I used scissors to cut a little slit in the top, so the pie could vent.
It’s totally optional, but I also brushed the tops of my pies with more of the egg wash (this gives them a nice, “Florida senior citizen” tan when they bake). If you want, you can also sprinkle them with sparkling sugar (I love the chunky, glittery topping from King Arthur Flour here) after the egg wash is brushed on top.
Bake your cute little pies at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until they are nice and golden brown. Remember– the center is already “cooked,” so you really just need the crust to get a nice, bronze tan.
Once the pies have cooled, break those suckers out and pour yourself a big, tall glass of milk.
Call over the kids from the pool and give them a fun little individual pie that they can hold in their hands. They are all the same size. YES, honey. I measured. They are ALL exactly the same size. Your sister’s isn’t bigger. I promise.
But don’t forget to save a few . . . just for yourself. And later, after the kids have gone to bed . . . pour yourself a cup of nice, dark coffee. Grab a few of these pies and watch the sunset. Sigh. Food really is better, sometimes, when you don’t have to share 😉
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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