Homemade pie, to have and to hold.
There is nothing like homemade pie. Something about the combination of flaky, buttery pie dough encasing an interior of sweet fruit makes everyone happier. I like pie so much I have apple pie for my birthday each year instead of cake. And then there are hand pies. Specifically, this recipe for blueberry hand pies.
Hand pies are the cute cousins of regular pies. Just as tasty, but with the added bonus of being individually sized and ready to wrap up and pack for a picnic, snack, or as an edible gift. Blueberry hand pies are among the best types to bake, because the small berry size lends itself well to the small hand pie size, and looks particularly appetizing when a little blueberry juice oozes out when they bake.
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Blueberry Hand Pies Are Not Just Mini Blueberry Pies
Not exactly, at least. They are both pies, they are both made of butter crust and fruit filling, but the technique and method are a bit different.
1. First, let’s talk pie dough. To make these hand pies, you’ll use the same all-butter pie dough that is used for regular pie. But for hand pies, it is important to work the butter into the flour more. The butter and flour combination needs to have a mealier texture before adding the water to form the dough because leaving large butter chunks can lead to blowouts in such small pies.
2. Second, hand pies call for pre-cooking the blueberry filling. This is for two reasons. One, cooked fruit lets you more accurately gauge the amount of filling for the hand pies. Raw fruit has a lot more volume than cooked fruit. Even if you were to stuff the hand pies full of filling, the fruit would cook down to the point of being not enough.
The second reason to precook the fruit is to decrease the moisture content. By cooking out some of the extra juice, the fruit becomes more concentrated and less likely to make the dough soggy. Oh — and wild or farm-raised blueberries work equally well. Wild blueberries are a little smaller.
Final notes on this recipe for blueberry hand pies:
This recipe makes about eight hand pies, more or less. Make them on the smaller side, around 3 1/2″ to 4″ diameter each is about right. Any larger and each pie will be more than one person can eat in a single sitting.
Be sure to seal the edges well. You will use egg wash on the edges before putting the top crust on to act as the “glue,” then seal it closed by pressing the edges with a fork.
These will keep for several days. Reheat them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before biting into one.
What’s your favorite type of pie? Share in the comments, below.
Old-Fashioned Blueberry Hand Pies
- 1 recipe Perfect Pie Dough (recipe linked in instructions, below)
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or 2 1/2 tablespoons if using frozen berries)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from half a lemon
- 1 egg
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or a big pinch)
Make the Pie Dough
- Prepare one recipe Perfect Pie Dough, but work the butter into the flour more than you otherwise would for a pie. You need very small butter pieces so you don't get butter blowouts on the small hand pies.
- Lightly flour the work surface. Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands. Dust with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands, keeping the rectangle shape, then roll the dough to 1/8" thick with a rolling pin, rotating the dough often for even rolling and to prevent sticking. Keep lightly re-flouring the top of the dough and the work surface as needed to further prevent sticking.
- The dough rectangle should be roughly 14" x 16" but this does not need to be exact. The important thing is the thickness. Cut the dough into a large, clean rectangle by trimming away the ragged edges. Then divide that clean dough rectangle in half into two equal portions.
- Wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.PRO TIP: Take the scraps, form a new pie dough ball, and re-roll, wrap, and chill. This can be used for decorative pie dough cutouts. Or, just brush with egg wash, add cinnamon sugar, slice into strips, and bake for a really good sweet snack.
For the Hand Pies
- In a medium pot, combine the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Bring just to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes, or until the juices thicken. Stir often to prevent scorching. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.PRO TIPS: Cornstarch is a thickener. If you did not add this, the filling would be too juicy and run out of the pie. Also, this filling can be made ahead and chilled. This will firm it up, making it easier to spoon the next day. Don't worry; it will get nice and runny again when it bakes.
- To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 425°F and line or grease a baking sheet. Remove the two chilled pie dough rectangles from the fridge and cut them into even numbers of same-sized rectangles, circles, or other shapes. You should have around 16 total pieces of dough, for 8 total hand pies.
- Make an egg wash by whisking one egg with a few drops of water.
- Lay the bottom pie dough pieces on a lined baking sheet. Brush the edges of each with egg wash. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of blueberry filling into the center of each dough square. Gently top with the top dough pieces and gently press the edges to seal the pie together. Use the prongs of a fork for the best-looking result. Repeat with the other hand pies.
- Lightly brush each hand pie with egg wash. Use a paring knife to cut slits in the top of each pie. Dust with a little sugar, if desired, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
- Let cool to warm or room temperature before serving.