Posted on Friday, 30th August 2013 by Grace Massa Langlois
My mom stopped by for a visit the other day and she came bearing gifts, a basket overflowing with the most beautiful, plump and juicy blackberries from her garden. I wanted to make a sweet treat for mom highlighting the blackberries and the first thing that came to mind was pie. Mom loves pie!
Unfortunately Mom lives by herself and a large pie just wouldn’t do so I thought I would make hand pies. She can freeze the individual pies and take one out when she fancies a blackberry treat.
Mom’s been very fortunate this year her blackberry bushes are bursting with berries (almost too many) and the berries are sweet and juicy. The best thing about using in season, freshly picked berries, you don’t have to do much to them to make them sing.
I tossed them in a little sugar and finely grated a little orange zest over top. Lemon zest would’ve been better but the large basket of lemons I purchased at the market mysteriously disappeared. It wasn’t hard to figure out who the culprit was, my son, Matt eats lemons like they are oranges.
These hand pies are kid friendly, perfect after school snack or lunchbox treat. When the kids were younger I would make a large batch, freeze them and then bake off in the morning. They’re so simple to make, which makes them ideal when you’re entertaining a crowd too.
This was my first taste of sour cream pastry and I really enjoyed it. The pastry dough is extremely soft (chilling the pastry in between is a must) but it’s rich and tender. I also prepared a cream cheese filling for the pies, again it’s very simple to make but it adds another layer of flavour and texture. I enriched the filling with egg yolk and flavoured with vanilla seeds. Vanilla and blackberries are perfect together.
I love fresh fruit and as much as I enjoy fresh blackberries, cooked blackberries taste so much better. I feel the same about apricots. I can’t believe I’m going to say this because at one time the thought of preparing pie crust was a daunting task for me but pies are so easy to make and they’re a great way to highlight seasonal fruit.
The ripe blackberries with their natural juices paired so well with the creaminess of the cheese filling. The hints of vanilla enhanced flavour and sweetness. To bring blackberry flavour to the delicate pastry, I lightly brushed the surface of the hand pies with warm blackberry glaze immediately after removing them from the oven, which made them glisten (we eat with out eyes first).
These blackberry hand pies were so tasty!
Blackberry Hand Pies
Makes 8 9 x 19 cm (3½ x 7-inch) and 5 6 x 11 cm (2½ x 4½-inch) hand pies
- Sour Cream Pastry Dough
- Cream Cheese Filling
- Blackberry Pie Filling
Sour Cream Pastry Dough
Chill cubed butter in the freezer for about 10 minutes and chill flour in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before beginning preparations.
- 250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 250 g (about 1 cup + 1¾ tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm (about 2/3-inch) cubes
- 120 ml (½ cup) sour cream, 14%
- In bowl of food processor, process flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sour cream and pulse until the pastry dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer pastry dough to clean work surface, shape into a ball, cut the ball evenly into two pieces. Place one piece on sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a rectangle, and then wrap in plastic. Repeat with the remaining piece. Transfer pastry to the refrigerator and allow it to rest and chill, 30 minutes.
- Work with one piece of pastry dough at-a-time. Transfer pastry to lightly floured sheet of non-stick baking paper. Lightly dust surface of pastry and rolling pin with flour. Roll pastry into 18 by 36 cm (7 by 14 inch) rectangle with thickness of about 3 mm (1/8 inch). Transfer rolled pastry on parchment to rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Repeat with the remaining piece of pastry dough.
- Work with one sheet of pastry at-a-time. With long side facing you, cut dough crosswise into four 9 by 18 cm (3½ by 7-inch) strips. Then cut each strip in half. Repeat with the remaining sheet of pastry. Dust off any excess flour with pastry brush.
- Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, cut vents into half of the pastry squares. The vented pastry squares will be used as the top of the hand pies. Return all squares to two rimmed baking sheets lined with nonstick baking paper and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Gather scraps and gently knead into a ball. Chill and rest pastry in refrigerator, 30 minutes. Transfer pastry to large sheet of nonstick baking paper lightly dusted with flour; lightly dust rolling pin and surface of pastry with flour. Roll the leftover pastry to a thickness of 3 mm (1/8 inch) and cut five 13 cm (5-inch) rounds. Dust off any excess flour with pastry brush and place rounds on baking sheet lined with nonstick paper. Transfer to refrigerator and chill, 20 minutes.
- Proceed to assembly.
Cream Cheese Filling
- 113 g (4 ounces) cream cheese, soft but cold
- 42 g (1/3 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Seeds from one-half vanilla bean
- 1 large egg yolk
- In medium bowl, using electric hand mixer beat cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds and beat, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl a couple of times, until smooth.
- Add the yolk and beat until well combined. Transfer filling to airtight container and refrigerate allowing it to chill, 30 minutes.
Blackberry Pie Filling
- 360 g (2½ cups) fresh blackberries
- 113 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Finely grated zest of half an orange or lemon
- 13 g (1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons) cornstarch
- Place blackberries in large bowl. Add sugar, salt and lemon zest; stir gently to combine well.
- Using fine mesh sieve, sift the cornstarch over top of the berry mixture and gently stir to combine well.
- 1 large egg
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) whole milk
- Pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork lightly beat to combine well.
To Assemble Hand Pies
I like to lightly brush a simple warm blackberry jam glaze over the surface of the pies immediately after removing them from the oven. It gives the pastry a glossy finish but it also gives the pastry a hint of blackberry flavour. If you would like to glaze the pastry, combine blackberry jam with a little water in a saucepan, heat over low heat and then strain through fine mesh sieve. Reheat in between batches. Make sure to lightly coat the pastry to keep the texture of the pastry crispy. For this batch of hand pies I used about 80 ml (1/3 cup) jam.
- Sanding sugar or turbinado sugar
- Work with one sheet of pastry at-a-time and work with one pastry square at-a-time. Brush edges of pastry-square with egg wash.
- Spoon ½ tablespoon cream cheese filling in the centre of the pastry square and spread in a row, and then top with 2 tablespoons blackberry filling.
- Place a vented square on top and press firmly to seal edges. Trim all edges with fluted pastry wheel. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet lined with nonstick baking paper arranging four pies per baking sheet.
- Transfer hand pies to freezer and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 190° C (375° F). Lightly brush the surface of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake one sheet of hand pies at-a-time, rotating pan halfway through baking time, until pastry is golden and juices are bubbling, about 35 to 40 minutes (about 30 minutes for smaller hand pies).
- Remove from oven, and transfer to wire rack to cool.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, blackberry recipes, cream cheese filling, cream cheese recipes, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, fruit, fruit fillings, fruit pastries, fruit pies, hand pies, individual dessert, individual desserts, kid's snacks, kid-friendly, pastry, picnic, pie crust, pie dough, pie filling, sour cream pastry, Summer desserts, tarts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Crostate, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci alla Frutta, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Mini Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base