There’s something about hand pies that sounds whimsical. I think it’s because as a child, I fell in love with Pop Tarts, and learning that I could also call these treats handheld pies or “hand pies” seemed to justify my consuming them. It was almost classy. Almost…
But I also like the fact that unlike full-blown pies, you can kind of put anything inside of hand pies, and it will turn out perfectly 99% of the time. It’s much more of a fool proof snack. An easier, less stressful dessert or anytime food. You have permission to go crazy with the fillings. And during peak berry season, that is literally gold! I have your summer party plans right here.
Soooo I’m probably going to get major crap for this, but because hand pies are meant to be this simple thing (in my mind anyway), I use refrigerated pie crust. Honestly, hand pies are supposed to be more approachable, and I’m looking for snappy results. That’s the whole point of hand pies if you ask me! Just call me Sandra Lee. Feel free to make your own crust, but my hand pies will be done faster than yours… But seriously choose your own adventure with this one.
Okay but even when we use refrigerated pie crust, we still need to make it look pretty, right? There are two very popular ways of finishing crusts—using a milk/cream wash or using an egg wash. Why do these work? And which should we use?
Well dairy washes like milk and cream make use of Maillard browning. That magical reaction that utilizes sugars and proteins, both of which are plentiful in dairy, and browns like crazy. Just add heat. Ta-da! You’ve heard a lot about that one lately, so I’ll leave it at that.
The egg wash, on the other hand, is primarily used for adding both shine and color. The egg white’s proteins promote browning, while the yolk gives a good base color (it only gets darker from there). Additionally, the fat in the yolk makes egg washes pretty cool. When the wash dries out from the heat in the oven, the fat leaves a shiny appearance on the surface giving your crust a good finish!
Want matte crust? Use dairy! Want shiny? Use egg wash!
This recipe takes advantage of the always-delicious strawberry season and adds in goat cheese for good measure. The perfect combination! But come up with your own filling and tell me what your favorite is!
Strawberry + Goat Cheese Hand Pies
Makes 10-12 depending on size of pies
1 14-oz pkg refrigerated pie crusts (or make your own—enough for 2 pie crusts)
Flour, for dusting
⅓ cup strawberry jam
3 ounces goat cheese, softened
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten + 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
¼ cup finely chopped strawberries
2 cups powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 425⁰F. On a lightly floured surface, place the first pie crust. Cut out desired shape (circles, squares, etc.).
- Mix together the goat cheese, jam, and a few cracks of black pepper.
- Place 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size) of filling in the middle of half of the cut-out pie crust shapes. Put the other half of shapes on top of the filling and crimp around edges to seal. Transfer to a parchment-covered baking sheet.
- Repeat step 3 with the other pie crust and then again with the scraps. Try not to handle the dough too much though.
- Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash. Bake until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Mix together the strawberries, powdered sugar, and a couple tablespoons of water. Add more water or powdered sugar as needed to get the consistency of the glaze to your liking.
- When the pies are cooled completely, drizzle as much or as little of the glaze over the top as you want, letting excess roll off.
- Let sit to harden, about 30 minutes, then hand pie away!
I did a thing! I graduated! Cue happy dances and all of the hand pies 😉 And just call me Kelsey Tenney, M.S. … or Master–your choice!