What is it about Spring that sneaks up on you? You wait for it forever, and then suddenly…WHAM! here it is. Full on. Warm weather, and allergies. You have to take the good with the bad sometimes to appreciate the good. Spring has always been my favorite season. When I grew up in Michigan it seemed like forever before the winter thaw came, but when spring finally did arrive it was glorious. Rhubarb is one of those vegetables that signals Spring is finally here. You almost feel compelled to make something with it as it is not about for very long. I have to admit I’m a bit more intrigued with the color of it than the taste, but when you combine it with something sweet; such as the ever popular combination of strawberry you get something amazing. Throw in a few other flavors like orange and ginger and it makes a great pie. Note–this recipe also makes enough filling for one galette if you like to make just one pie.
Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
yield: ~ 18 3 inch hand pies (will also make one large 9 inch round galette)
1 recipe fearless pie crust or your favorite pie crust recipe
1 Cup diced fresh strawberries
1 Cup diced fresh rhubarb
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 C sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split & scraped
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
egg wash: one egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. milk
coarse sugar for sprinkling top
1. In a small bowl combine the sugar, vanilla bean seeds, ginger, and cornstarch then set aside. Roll out the pie crust and cut out 3 inch circles. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place pastry rounds onto sheet tray 2 inches apart. Mix the diced fruits, orange zest and sugar mixture together. Top each pastry round with 2 teaspoons of filling (being careful not to include too much juice) and brush edges of circles with egg wash. Take a round of pastry for the top and stretch it out slightly larger by pressing around the edges with the heel of your hand and place over the top of the fruited round, press down and around the filling with your finger to seal edges, then crimp with a floured fork. Cut a slit in the top of each pie, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Freeze the pies for 10 minute while you preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Remove the pies from the freezer, redo the slit in the top if needed, then bake the pies at 400° F for 20 minutes until pies are golden brown. Let pies cool on the tray placed over a wire rack.
Last week Seth and I went to the farmers market for a fruit run, and also to have a quick Sunday breakfast. The market has quite a gathering of food stalls. I was in the mood for something savory, and Seth was in the mood for something sweet. Seth decided to wait in the line for a Belgium waffle. While Seth was waiting in line for his waffle, I quickly grabbed a mushroom empanada at a nearby stall and joined Seth again while he waited patiently in line. As I was munching on my empanada, it got me thinking about hand pies. I love to make hand pies. These blackberry-apple hand pies would be perfect for a Spring picnic. Gather your posse, pack some fried chicken, potato salad, iced tea and these sweet little pies. They are the perfect end to a great picnic.
Who’s ready for a Spring picnic?
Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies
recipe adapted from fine cooking
yield ~ 1 dozen (3 inch) hand pies
One recipe of my “fearless pie crust” or pie crust of your choice
6 oz. container fresh blackberries (washed, dried) and cut in half
1 Lg. pink lady, fuji, or gala apple, peeled, cored and diced small
1/2 Cup lightly packed golden brown sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
For egg wash: Mix 1 lg. egg yolk + 1 tsp. water in a small bowl
For sprinkling: coarse sugar
1. Prepare pie crust ahead of time and let it rest (by chilling in fridge) at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
2. In a medium bowl combine all of the filling ingredients except the egg wash and coarse sugar. Roll out pie crust until thin. Using a 3-4 inch cutter, cut out rounds of crust. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto each round and brush along outer edge lightly with egg wash. Try not to get the edges too wet or the crusts will not seal. Place another round on top and crimp with a floured fork to seal. Brush with egg wash and cut 3-4 vents in top of pies.
3. Bake pies in a 400 degree F preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.