I gotta say, this was freaking amazing. I found a really great crust recipe on Smitten Kitchen that was so worth the effort. I normally buy pie crust pre-made because I don’t like dealing with flour but the Smitten Kitchen said that this dough was particularly excellent for hand pies and I agree. They came out perfect. I didn’t have to think too hard about the filling because the filling is the easy part. If you start with good fruit it will be delicious. The crust is the tricky part because there are way more variables and it’s also what makes it a PIE after all. The crust has to be as good as what mother nature provided in the fruit to bring it all together.
I was really proud of myself for not getting flour all over the kitchen while making this pie crust. There was a lot of back and forth to the fridge and freezer for the pie crust. I was sort of over all of it but decided to trust the process because there was no sense in screwing it all up after I had gotten this far.
I had a regular pie factory going on in my kitchen. I will say that all of that back and forth from the fridge did give me time to clean up in between rounds of rolling and cutting.
I ate quite a few of these shortly after they came out of the oven and then decided that I need to give the rest of them away before I single handedly took down all these hand pies. The filling was pretty great but that crust, that crust was amazing. It was perfectly buttery and flaky and did a great job of holding onto that delicious stone fruit filling. I put a couple of the pies into cute little bags and tied them up with decorative string and handed them out to friends when we went out to dinner that night. Everyone was delighted and I got enthusiastic text messages the next day letting me know when and how everyone enjoyed their hand pies. Sharing really is caring.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 6 plums, nectarines or other stone fruit, pitted, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest from half a lemon
- To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Remove the bowls from the freezer and put it into a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Pour the flour and butter mixture into a bowl and make a well in the center.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.
- Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough.
- Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.
- To make the filling: Peel and chop the fruit into small bits (approx. 1/2-inch dice), much smaller than you’d use for a regular-sized pie. Mix them with the flour, sugar and pinch of salt, and add the vanilla.
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (use the smaller amount for a 4-inch circle) onto one half of each circle of dough. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.
- Share them!