Friday, March 13, 2015

Celebrate Pi(e) Day with Strawberry Hand Pies

Tomorrow, March 14, is, of course, International Pi(e) Day! For those of you not sufficiently nerdy, March 14, or 3.14, is when the date correspondents with the first digits of pi, the mathematical figure. So of course we should celebrate with pie! Or, in my case, mini pies!

Here in Israel, strawberries are in season in the winter and hitting their peak right about now, luckily for me! Of course you could follow this basic template for a wide variety of fillings - including even jam if you want to keep the strawberry flavor. I've made them with apples and peaches to great success. 
To complete the nerdy effect I topped them with pi-themed decorations, but you can use your leftover scraps to add any touches you'd like - or leave them as is. Sometimes I cut a little slit in the top of the pie to let the filling peek through. 
 So whatever you do this Pi(e) Day, I hope it's delicious!

2 1/2 cups (300g) flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks/225g) butter or margarine, diced and frozen
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

2 cups strawberries
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4-1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour

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 the peaches in to small chunks. Place them in a bowl with the sugar and lemon zest, and let sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes (I usually do this while I roll out and cut the dough). 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 in the flour.
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 if desired.
Bake on 375 F for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.


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