Blueberry Hand Pies: give this dough a hand

BlueberryHandPie2-C2F

In these hazy days of summer, early morning and late evening seems to be the only times we can get outside to sit on our deck. Our house faces east and as soon as the sun is up, we’re enveloped for the rest of the day. I ADORE the pure, bright sunshine, but…

I have to make quick use of the space before it gets surface-of-the-sun hot out there. I like to grab a cup of coffee and a sweet treat and head out to watch the day begin. Oh, did I mention that we have animals at our house? Plenty of animals?

Let me paint you a picture. I wander outside to sit down with my breakfast. I sit in a deck chair and pick up my fork. Before I can take a bite, I’m covered in dog. Always one, but usually two miniature poodles vying for lap space, with a very large golden/lab cross breathing over my arm and sniffing as close as he can get to my plate.

Sure, it’s nice to be loved, but in the morning I’m not up to sharing my brekkies with anyone. (I know, I could make them stay inside, but I’m a pushover for a furry face.)

Cue the portable breakfast. A hot, fresh hand pie held aloft while leaning over the railing lets me enjoy the first bites of the day while watching the puppy antics on the lawn. I can lick my fingers while the cat licks his chops and slinks across the lawn towards the berry bushes, feeling his inner lion roaring.  A few crumbs on my shirt? Brush ‘em off onto the ground, no vacuum needed here.

Not a morning person? Fast forward to evening, after dinner and the sun has gone down. Cool breezes waft by, carrying dragonflies home to the pond. Another hand pie topped with just a touch of whipped cream makes a lovely dessert as my family and I rehash our day and start to unwind.

Once I’m settled, I head over to the blueberry bushes to pick more plump, juicy fruit for my next batch. And just for you, I’ll share this once.

Let’s make some Blueberry Hand Pies.

To make the dough, whisk together:

Add 1 cup (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, working it in to make a coarse/crumbly mixture.

Like this. It reminds me of nice, chunky granola.

Leave most of the butter in large, pea-sized pieces.

Stir in 1/2 cup cold  sour cream. It’s OK if there are a few little unmixed bits at the bottom of the bowl. Those will get incorporated as you fold and roll the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and slide it around a bit to make sure it’s not sticking to your work surface. Lift the dough, and toss a little more flour underneath, if needed.

Roll the dough into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle.

And look! Nice big pieces of butter are still visible. Score!

Fold the dough into thirds, as you’d fold a business letter. Turn the dough so that it’s taller, rather than wider. Re-roll the dough into an 8″ x 10″ rectangle, and fold again.

Why fold, anyway? The folded layers of dough will become the flaky layers in your crust. As the butter melts and releases steam, it will puff up those layers. Layers rule!

Wrap the folded bundle of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Longer is fine, too – up to overnight.

For the filling, combine 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens and the berries just begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When you’re ready to bake the hand pies, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Roll the chilled dough into a 14″ x 14″ square, and cut it into 16 squares, about 3 1/2″ each. Cut the centers out of eight of the pieces. I used a tiny star, but check out these adorable cutters.

Place generous tablespoons of filling on the remaining 8 squares. Spread the filling out a bit, but leave a good 1/2″ border for sealing the pies.

Place the tops with cut-outs over the filling and crimp the edges with a fork.

Using a little egg wash around the border can help seal the pies better. In a pinch, you can even use a finger dipped in cold water to help with the “gluing.”

For a crunchy finish, you can brush the tops of the pies with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar. I wanted to make a light icing for this batch, so left the tops plain for now.

Bake the pies in the preheated 425°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

The pies are small, so it doesn’t hurt to check early, either. When they’re lovely and golden brown, remove the pies from the oven, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

For an iced hand pie, combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1/4 teaspoon Instant ClearJel and enough milk or cream to make a spreadable icing. Paint the icing on with a pastry brush or a nylon spreader.

Why add that touch of Instant ClearJel? It helps the icing set up neatly, like the icings you see on doughnuts at you-dunkin-know-where. You’ll still get nice little drips, but they’ll set up and not melt as they would with straight confectioners’ sugar glaze.

Serve the hand pies warm, or at room temperature. You’ll delight in the flakiness of the pastry and the juiciness of the filling. And unlike those so-called blueberry pies at the convenience store, these are 100% blueberry, not apple or pear pieces sneaking in.

My next plan is to make one batch of apple, one of cherry, and one more blueberry. A basic pie filling recipe should yield two to three batches of hand-pie filling.

I’ll leave the toppings off and freeze them in pairs. Pop them in the toaster oven while I shower, and I’ve got a fantastic hot breakfast ready and waiting. Who knows, I may even save one just for you. What would your favorite flavor be?

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Blueberry Hand Pies.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. kfreshwater

    Oh boy does that sound great. However, transplant your mind to Nevada. We also face the east with the first blast of heat coming at us and managing to even get to the back yard. I could have fried the hand pies on the table on the patio. Yesterday my patio was 117 and it’s already almost 100. Berries growing? No way do they live here and to buy them is possible, but don’t plan on them being fresh like right off the vine. But I’m going to pretend to be back in your area and make some hand pies anyway. I think I saw some strawberries at the market yesterday that didn’t look like the last rose of summer. Enjoy your hand pies and when you are looking out at the beautiful yard and eating your delicious hand pie please think of us out here in the desert.
    Oh, I hear ya. My daughter took our infrared thermometer out onto the deck. The temp of the flooring was 132°F. Hence the early morning or late evening forays. I’m sending cool breeze mojo your way. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. Bridgid

    MJ – we really are sisters, except I am NOT the morning person! So it would be early evening, two cats sniffing at the yumminesses, me with a cup of tea in hand. What hand pie flavor? I don’t know – the blueberry looks incredible. But I also love cherry. I don’t know if chocolate pecan would work (top crust? would that inhibit the cooking needed?)
    Or lemon! I think pumpkin would make a great fall flavor, (especially if you added cinnamon & nutmeg to the crust!) Apple with cheddar added to the crust… you have me thinking all sorts of wonderful combos. I bet this would be very welcome in my little muffin’s lunchbox.
    I had better double up on my weight watcher’s efforts.
    OH, sis, let’s make a batch of cherry ones and eat them with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. I’d say we could do each others’ hair, but mine is only an inch and a half long. It would be great to sit and chat and pet kitties though. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Susan

    These are adorable! If you don’t have Instant ClearJel on hand and want to make these now, what would you recommend?
    Hi Susan,
    You could use a touch of cornstarch to thicken the filling, or some Pie Filling Enhancer. Jarred or canned filling would also work in a pinch. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. glpruett

    When I pulled my August, 2012 KAF Baker’s Catalog out of the mailbox yesterday, my eye fell on the picture of these Hand Pies on the back cover and the very next thing I was going to do this morning was look up the recipe. Imagine my delight when I decided first to check email, and found this very recipe featured in today’s blog, MJ! I’m making them this evening! I can already see a bunch of different flavors in freezer bags, just waiting to be baked and enjoyed!

    And the Pie Crimper Set and Mini Shape Cutters are already on my Wish List for my next order! Thanks for your inspiration! I love ya!
    And for my next trick, I will be announcing the winning lottery numbers…4, 12, 24, … sorry, lost my ESP right in the middle of transmission. *sigh* Ain’t that always the way it goes? :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Lulamae

    Mary Jane, these look soooo good. I am wondering, though, if (full fat) yogurt can be used in place of the sour cream. Maybe if I drain the yogurt first, to make a thicker yogurt, would that work? Thanks!
    The yogurt can be used in place of the sour cream in this recipe. ~Amy

    Reply
  6. mdeatherage

    “Roll the chilled dough into a 14-by-14 inch square.”

    Straight from the fridge? No warming on the counter for 10 minutes?
    You will need to allow the dough to warm slightly so that it is workable, but be careful not to let it get too warm. ~Amy

    Reply
  7. Peanutty2

    These sound wonderful. I’m thinking of making a batch up and taking them in to my daughter and her colleagues at work tomorrow. Wouldn’t they be nice with a cup of tea or coffee? They would be good with raspberries and really great with peaches, I think. If served warm you could add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or even vanilla yoghurt ice cream. Bridgid’s idea of lemon sounds great too – how about adding some blueberries to the lemon Bridgid – bet that would be great too.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe and ideas all.
    What an awesome Mom, delivering fresh baked treats to work! You rock on! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. knemeyer

    I saw this on Facebook and when I went to the store I picked up a can of cherry filling. Can’t wait to try it. I’m in Las Vegas so I know how kfreshwater feels when we read about you guys picking your fresh blueberries! I do get some lovely boysenberries and blackberries. If I do want blueberries, I don’t bother with the fresh ones, they have no flavor. I buy the frozen wild blueberries. They seem to have the most flavor. I’ve been hemming and hawing about buying the clearjel and when you mentioned why it’s good for the icing, that sold me right there! It is on my next order. I love you guys so much, my friends are sick of hearing about it!
    I use the Clear Jel for so many things, I’m glad you are getting a chance to try it in your pantry. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. estrellas

    I was just lamenting that it seems all the pop tart flavors at the grocery store have been fancied up with icing & rainbow sprinkles :-) Give me good old fashioned blueberry any day… and homemade to boot!
    I know what you mean. Since when did ice cream flavors end up in my pop tarts? I’m a frosted strawberry girl myself. Definitely give these a try though, you’ll love ‘em! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Christine

    I cannot use ClearJel due to a corn allergy. How much potato starch could I use as replacement?
    Use about 5 teaspoons of potato starch as a replacement. ~Amy

    Reply
  11. "Momo "

    Can you give me a no-added-sugar version of the filling? I would love to have these for my Dearly Beloved, but he’s diabetic and I feed him no sugar. Peaches are in season now and I love them above all other fruit, so I’d truly love some help with transforming these into a tasty dessert we can both love.
    Go ahead and make the filling without sugar for your favorite guy- no problem! ~Amy

    Reply
  12. Layne

    I made these when I saw the pic in the new KAF catalog and they were fantastic! I made a half-batch and it all went smoothly except my dough was not as moist as the blog pics (I think I might have accidentally skimped a bit when measuring the sour cream). I had more dry crumbs but since I was working my dough on a pastry cloth I just used it to pick up the crumbs and dough from underneath and fold it over on itself. Eventually they got worked in and after the rest/chill period in the fridge I had a fairly solid piece of dough. Rolling out after that was easy and the crusts turned out so flaky and buttery. Great recipe!
    A dry dough may mean that you measured too much flour into it. Be sure to check our video on measuring flour. ~Amy

    Reply
  13. PattyIzqui

    Can I use flour to thicken instead of the Clearjel? If so, how much should I use?

    From the Baker’s Companion Cookbook – Thickeners For Pie says for each cup of blueberries, use 1 1/2 tablespoon flour. So for this recipe that calls for 2 cups of blueberries, use 3 tablespoons flour. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  14. chezsam

    I made just the filling last night. As I’m struggling with ‘taste’ getting over throat cancer, I found no sweetness in my blueberries at all so I doubled the sugar then added about 2 T of water because the berries just wouldn’t cook. I used the amount of ClearJel called for but now the product is a bit too runny to use for a filling. Is there any way to thicken what I have without reheating it. I had a taster last night who thought it was sweet enough and wonderful. She can’t wait until I make the pastries. Also can I use the pastry flour instead of AP?
    If you are adding extra sugar, put a touch more Clear Jel in with the sugar. If the filling is still a little warm, it should thicken it the rest of the way.
    For the flour, I’d stick with AP on this one. The softer flours just don’t hold up as well to the foldings, and your hand pies end up a little too tender. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. jjplouff

    The picture of the Blueberry Pies was mouth watering!! We could not resist……We made them right away and of course they were given a #10 by all. I couldn’t beleve how easy they were to make and they looked just like a picture!! Tomorrow we are going to try Raspberries! I love your website and your company!! Thanks sooo much!

    Reply
  16. mufungo

    This recipe is not only wonderful, it is forgiving. The final product is what I’ve been seeking for a couple of years without success. When I started it on Sunday (today is Tuesday) I got called away by an emergency. I had completed the dough, wrapped it and put it in the fridge. The filling was complete, so also into the fridge.

    This morning I put it together and baked it. WOW. I’ll be doing this one a lot more. The crust is a flakey, flavorful crust that I plan on using in many other applications. The filling was fine and easy to do, but I suspect that I’ll have to try some other options. Blueberry is good, but this year the garden is pumping out rhubarb by the bucket, so that’s up next. Perhaps this fall the apples & pears will have to be tried. Of course we have a lot of huckleberries here in Idaho and those will replace the blueberries. (Don’t tell other Idahoans, but I can’t tell the difference, but I get yelled at if I call them blueberries)

    Thanks for a great recipe and a great breakfast this morning.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. It is always great to know what worked for someone else in case we end up stuck ourselves. And rhubarb sounds fantastic! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. wingboy

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since it popped up on the blog. Been too busy until today. I just took a batch out of the oven. They look nice and flaky.

    Something may have gotten lost in the translation from East Coast to West Coast. The filling was a bit problematic. I used fresh blueberries. Even with the lemon juice, it was way too dry. I ended up adding a tablespoon and a half of water. When it came time to fill the pies, a tablespoon was all the filling I could get into a 3 1/2 inch square. I ended up with 9 pies and have about a half cup of filling left over.

    The dough worked up nicely. I was a bit skeptical that it had no more water than what was in the sour cream and in the butter, but it came together nicely. This dough would make a wonderful crust for a pot pie or a quiche.

    I hope there’s one or two of these little gems left for my lunch tomorrow.
    Glad to hear you adjusted the liquid in your filling. Sometimes berries are juicy, sometimes they need a little bit of help. For the size of the pies, it may be that you rolled your dough a bit too thin. You should divide the dough into 16 equal squares to end up with 8 little pies. It’s fine to have a little filling left over too. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. Nutrilisa

    These came out great! I’d like to make them again with apple filling for the fall desserts. Can I just substitute the blueberries, for apple? Thanks for a great blog and recipe.
    Sure you can, just use an apple filling recipe, so that it will taste right with the spices, etc and also have the right amount of thickener. Apples have more pectin than blueberries and therefore do not need as much thickener. ~Amy

    Reply
  19. Danell

    Would like to try these but do you have any suggestions for a cinnamon filling? Trying to recreate pop tarts that I no longer let my kids have.
    thanks

    Danell, try this recipe for Tasty Toaster Tarts – it’s our brown sugar-cinnamon Pop-Tart clone. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  20. Ann

    Help! I used Instant Pectin because I couldn’t find Clear Jel anywhere, and my filling is soupy even when cooled to room temp. Can I add more sugar and berries to try to thicken it?

    At this point I would try thickening it with some cornstarch. Instant clear gel is not a pectin. It is a modified starch.

    Reply
  21. Mindy

    I have tried making both blueberry and apple hand pies. I love the crust flavor but the difficulty that I’ve had is getting a decent amount of filling into the pie. I’ve been using roughly 5″ squares of dough rolled thin and folded in half with about 1/4 cup of filling in them (the max it can hold to leave room for sealing and crimping the edges). Both the blueberry and apple fillings cooked down so much that you could barely taste them. I love the concept of hand pies, but it seems like I get a pile of crust with a streak of filling inside. If it makes any difference, my blueberry filling was cooked down and thickened prior to putting into the pies but my apple filling was not (but I only put in the apple pieces, no juice). The apple didn’t leak, it just cooked down WAY too much! The blueberry ones leaked a little, but also seemed to have a “filling evaporation” problem!! KAF Bakers–Would you have any suggestions for this problem? Thank you!!
    I sure can understand your frustration with being left with only a small amount of filling All that work, right? Cooking the filling ahead is definitely recommended for hand pies and maybe cook it down a little further. You could try to add more filling than a hefty Tablespoon but be sure your dough is chilled well before rolling for easier handling and crimping. I also suggest making the hand pies a little larger, therefore more room for filling! Good luck! Elisabeth

    Reply
  22. Lois R

    I made these today for a party that was canceled only a half hour before we were supposed to leave the house — blizzard conditions!!! Drat. Now my husband and I have to figure out what to do with the pies. Hmmm.. What to do?

    I used my favorite pie crust recipe instead of the one recommended. I used frozen blueberries, substituting cornstarch for the ClearJel, and I cut an X to vent the top crust instead of using a fancy cutter. They turned out as cute as a button. I also am unhappy with the amount of filling in the pies, but I think I was too timid when filling them.

    I’ll definitely be making these again. Next time, I’ll squeeze a lot more filling into each one. I’ll also consider dividing the dough into 8 equal pieces and rolling each one out separately as a round and folding in half, instead of doing a full overlap. That might help with the filling to crust ratio.

    I wonder if I can freeze the finished hand pies? Hmm. Thanks for the recipe, KAF!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Well, consider it a test run, Lois – next party, you’ll be all set! You can definitely freeze the pies; I’d suggest wrapping each one in plastic wrap, then putting them all in a freezer bag or plastic container. Just reheat when you’re ready to enjoy them. PJH

  23. Jessica 130

    I have Gluten Intolerant grandchildren (DNA tested) could your gluten free all purpose flour be used to make these? they miss out on a lot of things so I try to be as inclusive as possible when they visit.
    Thank you, your site and products are just top knotch

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Jessica, thanks for keeping your grandchildren supplied with baked treats – I’m sure they appreciate it. I think what you suggest would work if you use our recipe for Gluten-Free Pie Crust, plus a gluten-free thickener of some kind rather than the ClearJel called for in the recipe (which isn’t produced in a GF-certified facility). Good luck – PJH

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