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A young and slightly ignorant woman who has always loved baking and cooking, I want to make people happy with food as often as I can. I'm here to whisk away and explore!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hand me that Pie!

Everyone reading this post needs to buckle up and put on a helmet. And maybe a mouth guard. Actually, scratch that, you'll need your mouth for this. 
Because these are officially the best hand pies I've ever made. WHuuuutttt?
 I know. 
I can't decide if it's the filling. Or the crust. Or the little glaze on top. It's probably all of them. When I started out making these pies I was in a bad mood. It had been a long rainy day, I had an extra long work schedule the next day, it was late and I really just wanted to go to bed. 
But I really wanted to get these pies baked so I could deliver them to a coffee shop. I was hoping they would order some of my things to have available at their stand. You know, extra baking=extra moolah. Maybe I could quit my day job! Well, I wasn't so lucky. 

Here they are being cute and un-baked...
They didn't really need any extra baked goods. But it is all perfectly okay! Because I created the perfect pie. Who cares if they won't buy em!? Not me, I can keep them to eat for meeeee. Because I seriously had the hardest time not eating all of them. 
All. Of. Them. 

Happy crust...
Earlier in my baking adventures. (And by "earlier" I mean about three years ago) I hated pie crust. It was so hard to make. It fell apart and flopped everywhere. It stuck to the rolling pin, or was too crumbly. It made me pretty short tempered, which is pretty weird because I get short tempered about very little. (Losing one's patience is just so exhausting. I don't have time for it.)

And then something amazing happened. I made a nice pie crust. 
After that, it was a breeze. I guess I had to come into my own...master the pie ninja skills or something. 

At this point, I was ready to devour all of these. It was an inhuman feat leaving them uneaten.
I had fun taking pictures of these. So I took a lot of them. Sorry. My sister sent me a text saying my food photography was getting better and I was so proud of myself I might have gotten carried away. 

Best-Ever Hand Pies
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup shortening
5 to 7 Tablespoons of cold water
Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a wide metal bowl. The wider the bowl, the better  it is to sprinkle the water over the pastry later on in the recipe. The water will reach more of the flour, making it more flaky and awesome. Cut in the shortening with a pasty cutter or fork until the the pieces are the size of tiny peas. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture one tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork in between additions. Form the dough into a ball and flatten in a lightly floured surface. I like to roll it out on a mixing board myself, to avoid messy floury counters later. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a small dessert plate as a template, cut large circles of the dough. Fill each circle with 2-3 tablespoons of filling. Fold over the circles and press the crusts closed by running a wet finger along the edges and sealing with a fork. Poke some air vents in the hand pies. Mix 1 egg with about 1/2 cup of water and brush on the crusts. This will keep them golden. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake the pies at 375 on slightly greased baking sheets until they are golden brown. About 20 minutes. Let them cool and then drizzle with melted white chocolate.  

Favorite "Orchard" Pie Filling
This is our all time favorite pie filling. We make double batches of it to serve on pancakes, over ice cream, to randomly make cobblers. It's amazing. This is a double recipe. Feel free to be a miser and only make half, promptly depriving yourself and your family from having the most stupendous pancakes, ice cream, and cobblers. ;)
4 cups of mixed berries and grapes (this recipe was 2 cups of red grapes, 1 cup blueberries, and 1 cup blackberries. We've used raspberries as well.)
1 cup sugar
A pinch of ginger
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of juice from berries, or bottled grape juice
Boil Berries, juice, zest, spices, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the cornstarch and butter, cooking until thick and bubbly. About 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before spooning in the crust. 

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