Have you ever baked a pie? I hope so! There's nothing quite so brag-worthy (and delicious, of course) as a beautiful home-baked pie. But once you cut into it and start serving — well, with the perfect amount of thickening in the filling, and a bit of luck, you can cut Instagram-worthy slices. But one wrong move, and you have disaster on a plate. Enter the Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong, our July recipe challenge.
So what's a hand pie? Think of it as a turnover with four sides. Rather than the traditional rectangle of classic pie crust pastry topped with filling and folded into a triangle (a.k.a. turnover), a hand pie has the filling tucked inside a square packet of pastry. It’s easy to pack and tote to a picnic or potluck, and looks pretty on a plate.
Our Blueberry Hand Pies feature a rich, easy-to-make crust, tender and flavorful thanks to both butter and sour cream.
The filling is simplicity itself: blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice, with a bit of thickener. With fresh blueberries flooding the market right now, hand pies are the sweetest little single-serve dessert you could ever put together.
Let's do a step-by-step walk-through of this month's Bakealong challenge. By the time we're done, you'll be ready to bake (and share) your own Blueberry Hand Pies.
Make the pastry
First, make the pastry. Gather these ingredients:
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold sour cream
Cut the cold butter into small cubes or thin pats. A baker's bench knife is ideal for this task.
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter.
Work the butter in, but leave most of it in large, pea-sized pieces. You'll have a coarse, crumbly mixture.
Add the sour cream, and stir until the mixture starts to come together in chunks.
Turn it out onto a floured work surface ...
... and bring it together with a few quick kneads.
Pat the dough into a rough log. Roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle. Dust both sides of the dough with flour, and starting with a shorter end, fold it in three like a business letter.
Give the dough a 90° turn on your work surface, and roll it again into an 8" x 10" rectangle. Fold it in three again.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
Make the filling
Gather the following ingredients:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons cornstarch or 1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel*
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (a large pinch)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
*For frozen berries, use 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or 1 1/2 tablespoons ClearJel.
If you're using fresh berries, rinse and drain well. Place fresh or frozen berries in a saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch or ClearJel with the sugar, and pour over the berries. Add the salt and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
Place the saucepan on a burner set to medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the small amount of liquid in the bottom of the pan comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked berries to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. It's fine to make the filling ahead of time, and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
Preheat the oven to 425°F; place a rack on the middle shelf. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Assemble the hand pies
Roll the dough into a 14" x 14" square. With a straight edge and pastry wheel, or a 3 1/2" square cutter, cut out sixteen 3 1/2" squares.
Divide the filling among eight of the squares, using about a heaping tablespoon for each; a slightly heaped tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.
Whisk 1 large egg until frothy. Brush some of the beaten egg along the edges of each filled square.
Use a knife to cut a vent into each of the remaining eight squares; or use a decorative cutter of your choice — stars are nice, especially at this time of year.
Top each filled square with a vented square, and press along the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
Note: If at any time during assembly the pies become sticky and hard to work with, simply refrigerate them for about 20 minutes, until firm.
Brush the top of each pie with the remaining beaten egg ...
... and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. The sugar's a nice touch: it adds both flavor and crunch.
Bake the pies for 18 to 20 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven.
Let the pies cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Store pies, lightly wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage (if they last that long!).
We've got you covered! See our recipe for Gluten-Free Blueberry Hand Pies.
Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.
Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.