Monday, August 29, 2011

Peach Hand Pies

Over the 2 1/2 years I've been blogging, baking and mistaking, I haven't shied away from sharing some fairly total disasters with you. I've dropped cakes, I've left out key ingredients, I've made inedible yeast doughs, seven disastrous attempts at caramel, and I even ended up with ice cream all over the walls, couch, floor and counter one night. But sometimes, sometimes I just have to pat myself on the back for creating a dessert so addictively delicious, which such...limited resources. So seriously, these peach hand pies were incredible, as is the fact that I managed to whip them up in my current kitchen. 

I'm use to making pie and tart doughs in the food processor. I know, I'm spoiled, but a quick whiz in there and my dough is ready, and I haven't even gotten my hands dirty. But, if you've been reading recently, you'll know I don't quite have the kitchen of my dreams, so it is all about making do with what I have. 
So no food processor, but I did bring my trusty pastry cutter 5700 miles with me, so set out to use a little elbow grease and a lot of patience. But after about 15 minutes I ran out of patience, so I set my lumps of dough in the fridge with more visible pieces of butter than I was used to, but not so much that it was unrecognizable as dough. The result? The flakiest, most tender pie dough I've ever experienced. 


Then there's the filling. Sweet, delicious peaches and nectarines are at a peak right now in many places, and Jerusalem is no exception. I used white nectarines and left the skin on, added with a pinch of sugar and lemon zest and it was perfectly delicious. 
Of course, there is still the rolling out, cutting, filling and folding left to do. Remember the list of things I don't have in the kitchen? Let's add to that: a rolling pin, cookie cutters and air conditioning. All of those made making these mini pies a touch more difficult, but with my trusty bottle of Pam, the rim of a tupperware container and some quick moving, all was well. 

Last missing item: a pastry brush. Instead I used my favorite kitchen tool to coat the pies in egg before sprinkling them with a little sugar and sending them to the oven to bake. The result: perfection!


Tip of the Day: You can use a round cutter of almost any size as long as there is enough space to put in some filling - so you can have very little pies and very big ones. I ended up with about 20 pies, using a cutter (read: rim of tupperware) that was about 4.5". You could even use a square cutter and fold your pies in to triangles, or cut in to squares freestyle if you have a steady hand (and a ruler).


Recipe: 
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks/225g) butter or margarine, diced and frozen
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

3 to 4 medium peaches
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg
coarse sugar

In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Cut in the butter until it resembles fine crumbs. Add in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough starts to come together. 
Divide the dough in half, form each piece in to a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours. 
Dice (and peel if desired) the peaches in to small chunks. Place them in a bowl with the sugar, and let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain any liquid that accumulates, and taste a piece of fruit. If more sugar is desired, add to taste, a tablespoon at a time. 
Mix the lemon zest and the cornstarch in to the fruit mixture and set aside. 
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out on a well floured surface. Use a round cutter to create as many circles as possible. Fill each with approximately, one tablespoon of filling, then use a moist finger to wet the edges of the crust, fold over and press around the pie with a fork to seal. 
Repeat with the remaining dough, rolling out scraps as necessary. 
Place the mini pies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and brush each with a lightly beaten egg, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut a small hole with a knife near the bend of the pie.
Bake on 375 F for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

3 comments:

  1. These turned out amazing. Great improvising. ;)

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  2. These really look delicious. I am new to your blog, so I've just spent some time browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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