Mixed Berry Hand Pies

by Jillian
Homemade raspberry-blackberry filling tucked in a deliciously buttery, flakey crust and glazed in a gown of icing!

Homemade raspberry-blackberry filling tucked in a buttery, flakey crust and glazed in a gown of icing!

I’m sure many of you are aware of those little pre-packaged pies that always seem to be located near the checkout stands at the grocery stores. Whether you call them hand pies, snack pies, or pocket pies, I’m sure we can all agree that they’re the most ingenious way to enjoy pie on the go.

Aside from the generous amount of filling inside each pie, what I love about this wholesome treat is that it’s covered in a sweet icing, so there’s absolutely no shortage of sweetness in every single bite. And you know me, I like my desserts S-W-E-E-T.

So because I was feeling a little adventurous this week, I decided to try my hand at some hand pies for the first time!

I have to say, I’m pretty proud of the results. Not only were they a lot of fun and surprisingly easy to make, but they were much better than the ones you buy in the store. The crust was much flakier and the filling had a more natural fruit flavor and texture. I guess this should come as no surprise considering I used real berries, real sugar, and no weird preservatives or fillers. Go figure!

Anywho, I’m actually amazed at how much I enjoyed making these little hand pies. As someone who always dreaded making pies that require the traditional pastry pie dough, I found the whole assembly line process to be quite therapeutic. As opposed to making one whole pie, there are definitely more steps involved. However, I actually found it easier to create perfect little hand pies than a perfect whole pie. Moreover, if you mess up on a few hand pies, you have plenty of do-overs to get it just right!

The steps are simple, really. After you’ve allowed your pie dough to chill, you roll it out on a lightly-floured surface until its about 1/8th – 1/4th inch thick. To cut out the circles, I used a 4-inch diameter biscuit cutter. If you don’t have one though, look for other objects in your kitchen that are circular and similar in diameter. Before I discovered the biscuit cutter in one of my drawers, I was actually going to use a small bowl, by placing it upside down on top of the crust, and using a knife to cut along the edges of the bowl.

Once the circles have been cut, I like to chill them in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes just to firm up the dough a little so they’re easier to handle when filling them. Speaking of filling, I decided to cook up my filling first instead of simply throwing the ingredients together and baking it into the dough. Not only are you able to get the right consistency that isn’t too runny, but the hand pies are much easier to fill when you don’t have berry juice leaking through the pie seal. 

Similar to filling tacos or burritos, it’s easy to get carried away on the amount of filling you want to put into each hand pie. You really don’t need a lot. In fact, I used about a little over a tablespoon for each hand pie. It might not look like much at first, but trust me, it’ll be ten times easier to seal the edges together when you don’t have berry filling constantly trying to spill out of the sides. 

After pressing the tines of a fork all along the edges of each hand pie, a simple egg wash gets brushed on top to help them brown more in the oven. You’ll also want to cut a few small slits into the top of each hand pie to allow the steam to escape as they bake up. They really don’t take long to bake either–15 minutes was the perfect baking time for my little pies to achieve that nice toasty look and that wonderful flakiness.

Once the pies have cooled completely, it’s time to dip them in a sweet bath of icing.

The easiest way to do this is to lift the hand pie with a fork, lower it about halfway into the bowl of icing (so that the bottom gets covered), then use a spoon to pour the icing over the top of the pie. Tap the fork gently on the side of the bowl to allow the excess icing to drop off before placing them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. It takes about 20-30 minutes for the icing to harden completely.

As you can tell, these Mixed Berry Hand Pies do require a little extra time and effort, but the reward is SO well worth it.

Trust me, you won’t want to go back to eating the store-bought hand pies once you wrap your tastebuds around these berrylicious pockets of sweet heaven.

Homemade raspberry-blackberry filling tucked in a deliciously buttery, flakey crust and glazed in a gown of icing!

Mixed Berry Hand Pies

Homemade raspberry-blackberry filling tucked in a buttery, flakey crust and glazed in a gown of icing!
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Refrigeration Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 2 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 Pies

Ingredients
  

Mixed Berry Filling:

  • 1 ½ cup blackberries fresh or frozen
  • 1 ½ cup raspberries fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Pie Dough:

  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold
  • Egg wash: 1 egg beaten

Icing:

  • 2 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 5-6 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract optional

Instructions
 

Make the Filling:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the blackberries and raspberries over medium heat until they soften and their juices start to release, about 3-4 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Add mixture to the berries and continue cooking until it begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into a shallow bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Make the Pie Dough:

  • In a small bowl, combine the water and sour cream; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, sugar and salt together. Scatter the shortening over the flour, then use a cheese grater to grate the butter on top. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut the mixture together until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the sour cream mixture and use a stiff rubber spatula to stir and press the dough together until it forms one big mound. If dough is still too dry and doesn’t hold together, add another tablespoon of water.
  • Divide the dough into two halves. Turn each half onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a 5-inch disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Roll out until it’s about 1/8th – 1/4th inch thick. Using a 4-inch diameter biscuit cutter (or something that's circular and similar in diameter), cut circles into the dough. Re-roll any scraps and cut into circles. Place cut circles in the refrigerator to keep cold. Repeat process with other dough half and refrigerate cut circles for at least 15 minutes before filling.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Arrange the circles about 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center of each circle. Gently seal each pie by picking it up, folding both sides up (like a taco), then sealing the edges together with your fingers. Place back onto the baking sheet, then crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut three slits into the top to allow steam to escape as they bake. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with egg wash.
  • Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Icing:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract together until smooth. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lift the hand pie with a fork, lower it halfway into the icing (so that the bottom is covered), then use a spoon to pour the icing over the top of the pie. Lift pie out of the icing, then gently tap fork against the side of the bowl to allow excess icing to drip off. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining hand pies.
  • Pies are ready to eat at this point, but if you want the icing to harden completely, wait at least 20-30 minutes before serving.
  • Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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