Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong: challenge #12

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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.  Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Fresh blueberries are at their peak: Take the Blueberry Hand Pies #bakealong challenge. Click To Tweet

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

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Cut the cold butter into small cubes or thin pats. A baker’s bench knife is ideal for this task.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Work the butter in, but leave most of it in large, pea-sized pieces. You’ll have a coarse, crumbly mixture.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflourv

Add the sour cream, and stir until the mixture starts to come together in chunks.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Turn it out onto a floured work surface

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour… and bring it together with a few quick kneads.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Divide the filling among eight of the squares, using about a heaping tablespoon for each; a slightly heaped tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Whisk 1 large egg until frothy. Brush some of the beaten egg along the edges of each filled square.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflourTop 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.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Brush the top of each pie with the remaining beaten egg …

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

… and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. The sugar’s a nice touch: it adds both flavor and crunch.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflourBake the pies for 18 to 20 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven.

Blueberry Hand Pies Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

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!).

Baking gluten-free?

We’ve got you covered! See our recipe for Gluten-Free Blueberry Hand Pies.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Laura

    Has anyone tried freezing these pre-bake, partial bake, or post-baked? Kids bake sale on Thursday, wondering about making them this weekend.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      These freeze wonderfully raw, Laura! Add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of thickener for every cup of fruit since it will release more juices once thawed, but you can bake them right from frozen. They’ll take a couple of extra minutes but they’ll be crisp and lovely. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Absolutely, Dianne. It’ll make enough crust to make both the bottom and top crust on a 9″ pie. Feel free to fill it with whatever filling you wish. Right now we’re loving this Humble Pie filling recipe made with peaches and blueberries. Yum! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you asked, Patricia. We explored how to reduce sugar in fruit pie (and hand pies!) in this article on our blog. We found that in most cases, you can reduce the sugar by 25% and still get fantastic results. You can try reducing the sugar by as much as half if you’re using particularly sweet fruit, but otherwise, you’ll want to use at least 1 3/4 ounces of sugar (a scant 1/4 cup). Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Most definitely, Betty. Some brands of creme fraiche are stiffer (contain less moisture) than sour cream, so you might consider holding back 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and adding it only if the dough seems dry. We think you’ll love the tangy flavor creme fraiche will offer. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Renate

    Can you make the pastry dough 3-5 days ahead of time? If so, what is the best way to keep it moist until use?
    Also, I’d like to use a cherry filling. Any idea on volume of cherries?
    Thank you for your suggestions.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Renate. So long as you can chop your cherries up a bit, a heaping tablespoon of filling will still be fine. You can make the crust ahead and freeze it. Put it in the fridge to thaw out the night before. It may have a greyish hue. This is normal, it’s just the dough oxidizing, and you won’t really be able to tell once it’s baked. Annabelle@KAF

  3. Cathy

    These were great! Living in So. Calif. weather, I should have make them in the morning rather than the afternoon heat, but it worked out well. I am going to make these all fruit season long!
    I do have two questions.
    1) Does it make a difference when I take them out of the oven if I leave them on the baking sheet to cool or should I take them off the sheet and put them on a cooling rack?
    2) For rolling dough out, II do not have a baking mat with measurements and thought I might buy one. Do those mats need to be floured also when rolling dough out?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you liked them, Cathy! Letting things cool on a baking sheet rather than a cooling rack causes the bottoms to be soggy, which isn’t ideal. Per rolling out, a little dusting of flour is a good idea just to keep the dough from sticking to the mat. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, it might be a little sticky, Usha, but you’re welcome to try! The only concern is that you’d wind up having to add more flour to account for the extra moisture, and extra flour makes this denser, dryer, and it lessens the flavor. It’s worth experimenting with though! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Go for it, Heleena! Look for a full-fat yogurt if possible. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

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