Wednesday, July 2, 2014

strawberry rhubarb hand-pies

Hand pies are the perfect picnic dessert, especially for the upcoming holiday weekend!  They are easy to transport, they require zero utensils (or plates for that matter), you just grab and enjoy.  I combined a few different recipes to make these strawberry rhubarb cuties, and they were delicious!

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk 

Rhubarb Filling
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup finely chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel

To assemble
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Coarse sugar

Make pie dough: Whisk together flour, zest, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas.  Gently stir in 3/4 cup buttermilk with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. If it doesn’t come together, add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does, then gently knead again. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.

Make rhubarb filling: Place rhubarb , strawberries, cornstarch, orange peel and sugar in a small-to-medium saucepan with sugar and stir to combine. Cover and cook at medium-low heat for 15 minutes, no need to stir. Increase the heat to medium, remove the lid and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until rhubarb is broken down and ideally thick enough that if you run a spoon across the bottom of the pot, you can see a trench quickly form and disappear.  Spread mixture on a large plate in the fridge or freezer to cool quickly, then scrape into a bowl. Keep cold until needed; it will be thicker and easier to “scoop” onto the pie bases.

Assemble pies: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat your remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water and keep aside with a pastry brush.

Flour your counter and start rolling your dough by pressing down lightly with the pin and moving it from the center out. Roll it a few times in one direction, lift it up and rotate it a quarter-turn. Continue to do, roll a couple times, lifting the dough and rotating it until the dough is just shy of 1/8-inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or glass, cut dough into circles. 

Brush half the circles very, very lightly with the egg wash; these will be your bases. Cut a small vent in the other half of the circles; these will be your lids. In the center of each egg washed square, put a small dollop (2TBS) rhubarb filling. Top each filled base with a vented circle. Press outer edge of top and bottom all around to seal with your fingertips; a fork will work as well. Transfer pie to a baking sheet, spacing 1-inch apart. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Repeat with remaining dough, including second half from fridge, and fillings.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden, and even more brown at edges. Transfer to cooling racks and cool to room temperature before serving.

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