I’m not much of a pie gal. I am a cookie, cake, brownie baking kind of person, mostly because chocolate is involved more often than not. I have to be in the mood to bake a pie and making a whole big one goes to waste more often than not. I first tried making hand pies this Christmas for my cookie boxes for family. I found a simple recipe using boxed pie crusts and pre-made cherry pie filling. They turned out well enough and were convenient to keep in a Tupperware container or pack for hubby’s lunch.
When I was making baby food this last time, I thought about doing a blackberry/apple sauce. After I tried the berries, they were just a little too tart to put in Avery’s pouches. I don’t want to add sugar for her if I don’t have to. I had contemplated making a traditional pie, but to bake the first crust, let it cool, bake again, etc, was to labor intensive and I was in the mood for quick satisfaction, I decided to try making the hand pies with fresh fruit and see how it turned out. This is purely an experiment that happened to have paid off. My next mission is to try a mixed berry or apple for giggles. This method can really translate into any filling you want.
Blackberry Hand Pies
1 box of refrigerated Pillsbury pre-make pie crusts (2 crusts in a box)
3/4 c. granulated sugar (if your berries are on the sweet side, switch to half a cup instead)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 small lemon, juiced. ( it helps to roll the lemon on the counter or microwave for 30 sec to get the most juice)
2 c. blackberries, washed and drained
1 egg beaten with a tbsp of water
decorating sugar or cinnamon sugar combo
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with your rack set in the middle. Prep a cookie sheet or sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat. The juice will run no matter what you do so a pan with a lip is best. You can also use a cupcake pan for these pies as well which I’ll show below.
Take 1 refrigerated crust and carefully unroll it. Leave it out on the counter first before gathering your other ingredients. Fresh out of the fridge, the dough can crack and break.
In a medium bowl, mix your blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and lemon juice. Fold until the berries are all coated. Be careful not to break up the berries, this will make the syrup really thin and hard to spoon.
Take a circular cookie cutter, cup rim, or a mason jar lid like I used and punch out circles in the dough. You should get 6 or 7 circles. Helpful trick: if you re-roll the scraps, you can get another 3 circles out of the dough which will give you about 5 pies.
For the double crust pies, fill the circle with 4 or 5 berries and some juices. Take the egg and water mixture (egg wash) and brush the edge of the bottom round. This will help the top seal. Take another crust round and slightly stretch it so that it fits over the berries with a little lip. Grab a fork and use it to pinch the two pieces of dough together. You can get really creative with this, you can use a ravioli crimper, fold the edges over, use a spoon for a scalloped edge, the sky is the limit. Once filled, cut small slits in the top to prevent a bubble over, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with decorative sugar or cinnamon sugar for added flavor.
For the cupcake pan method, grease your tin with spray or butter, whichever you prefer. Place a dough round in the bottom as you see below. Fill with berries and juice until the edge and bake.
Bake for 12-15 min or until the crust is browned. The cupcake tin method may take a bit longer since there is more filling. Cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream or both! I’m partial to the single crust option which allows for easier topping additions.
These are perfect to make ahead and freeze, can make them the night before for an event or make a batch to later enjoy in the hot summer months. Plus they are the perfect size for kids to enjoy.