I’m not usually a sucker for miniature desserts but I make an exception for hand pies. It’s really their practicality that gets me, the miniature cuteness is just a bonus. It’s pie in a completely portable, perfectly portioned little package that’s perfect for potlucks, barbecues and picnics. Oh and the crust to filling ratio is high, so pie crust lovers rejoice, these cute little pies are made just for you.
These take some effort, pie always takes effort. It’s tricky and inflexible and demanding.
It’s also rewarding and therapeutic and with a little focus I know you can do it. Flaky, buttery crust is yours to conquer. I’m rooting for you.
But if by chance you don’t have the time to make pie crust from scratch, I won’t judge. It’s a holiday week and there must be time for fireworks, bonfires, sipping whiskey iced tea, and chowing down on extra charred hotdogs. I plan to do all these things, you should too.
My only regret was not making a double batch because 16 was not enough. I took these to a barbecue and they went fast. People were tracking me down to say thank you, to ask for the recipe and to say that the crust was some of the best they’ve ever tasted. It feels good when that happens.
Pie = love. We need more pie, we need more love. Let’s make some pie.
The rhubarb ginger compote recipe is very quick and you’ll have lots of yummy leftovers but you could really substitute any jam or jelly. I like the tartness against the richness of mascarpone and pie crust so look for rhubarb, tart cherry or something similar.
For more pie crust tips and science nerdy tips see this post.
- 2.5 cups (310 grams) all purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 2 sticks (225 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon cold buttermilk (or substitute any milk + 1 teaspoon apple cider)
- ½ cup rhubarb ginger compote or other jam
- 4 oz mascarpone
- 2 tablespoons agave (or honey or maple syrup)
- sprinkle of salt
- 1 egg, whisked for a wash
- turbinado or course sugar for sprinkling
- In a medium bowl stir together the flour and salt. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is approximately the size of a pea. Have your cold milk on hand (I place an ice cube in the milk to ensure it is at it’s coldest). Using a tablespoon sprinkle approximately half of the liquid over the flour. Toss gently, stirring up the dry bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl and sprinkle the remaining liquid over the top. Stir again briefly and then dump the mixture onto a well floured surface. Gather the dough together into a mass, divide in half and then gently knead each half into a solid disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour. Alternatively the dough can be made in advance and frozen at this point.
- Mix together the mascarpone, agave and salt in a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Flour a large surface very well. Take one of your disks and begin rolling it out, turning the dough a quarter turn after every couple rolls to ensure it doesn't stick. Add additional flour to the surface and to your rolling pin as needed. Using a circular cookie cutter, pastry cutter, or just a knife cut each piece of dough into 16 circles or squares. On one half of the dough cut slits or circles in the top as a vent. Place a dollop (about 2 teaspoons each) of mascarpone and the compote on the half of the dough without vents. Top and using your a fork press the top perimeter of the dough into the bottom piece. Note: If at any point the dough becomes warm, place it in the freezer to firm up.
- Place the assembled hand pies on a large baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Repeat assembly with the second disk of dough.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.