finally! i’ve been vowing to make adorable little rhubarb pies since last summer, and at the cottage last weekend i finally dove in and did it. these two bite cuties were a perfect snack for on the dock when the weather turned nice finally on sunday afternoon. i kept running back up the stairs into the cottage to grab more.
this is another one of those times where i get overly excited about the science of cooking – thinking about the little pockets of butter being stretched out and melting and solidifying to separate layers of flour which makes flaky crust so amazingly great. it’s a perfect balance between the interactions of gluten in flour and fat in butter. tiny chemical reactions happening in your oven! what was even more exciting to me was that i’ve made pie crust once before in my life, so i was pretty nervous to make it again. i wanted the perfect mix between salty and sweet and flaky and chewy. hand pies are for crust people – i’m most definitely a crust girl. it might have just been luck that this turned out so well, but i plan to try and make peach ginger pies when peach season hits so i’ll report back.
as i mentioned, i made these at the cottage, so i got to use some beautiful vintage cookware. the grey, worn colour of the metal pans and the soft blush pink of the filling is by far my favourite pallet of summer so far. i picture myself one day decorating my home, and instead of holding paint or fabric swatches, i’ll be holding a variety of foods, flowers and kitchen supplies. all purpose flour white for the walls, worn cutting board wood for a table, steel accents like my aged cookie sheets, pale pink strawberry buttercream for cushions – i could go on and on.
i could also go on and on about fruit compote. thick and syrupy but not too sweet, with whole pieces of fruit bursting in your mouth, it’s the perfect topping on anything or in anything. i’ve made strawberry rhubarb compote twice in the past week – the first time because i was so excited to see rhubarb at the grocery store, i made a big batch and ate some for dessert and then the rest of the week swirled in yogurt, and again for these pies. this pie filling isn’t so much of a compote, but it’s still cooked down quite a bit. i added some ginger, lime and apples to mix it up. make these pies for a picnic for the weekend – just lay down in the grass and feel the sun on your face and have two little bites of summer (or four or six)!
Strawberry, Rhubarb and Apple Hand Pies
*filling makes enough for all 24 hand pies, with a bit left over to snack on
Use dough recipe exactly as found on smitten kitchen. everything i learned about pie crust came from deb.
2-3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups halved strawberries
2 apples chopped
1 grated nub of ginger
juice and zest of half a lime
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon of butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Wash rhubarb and remove leaves (they’re poisonous!). Wash and hull strawberries, and core apple (i left the skin on mine because i was lazy, you can take it off if you’d like). Chop everything coarsely, only halving some strawberries.
2. Throw all of the chopped fruit and rest of the ingredients into a pot, and cook on medium for about 10 minutes. It should have a texture like jam, with some big chunks of fruit left. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature – it will thicken a bit more as it cools.
3. Preheat the oven to 400. Roll out one disc of dough on a floured surface to about 1/8th of and inch thick. Remember to roll from the middle out, and go right to the ends (thanks Roseanne!). Cut out circles from dough, you can use a round cookie cutter but I used a glass dipped in flour – if you use the glass method, make sure to gently twist to make sure you cut right through the dough and keep the rim well floured to avoid sticking. Re-roll your scraps – but if you notice the butter melting, make sure to pop it back in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to re-chill (that’s how you get the flakiness).
4. Line up your bottom pieces on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, put about teaspoon and a half of filling on each circle. Remove second disc from the fridge and repeat step 3, and put the second circle on top of the filling.
5. Whisk an egg in a small bowl for egg wash. Gently press down around the sides of the pies to seal the crust, making sure they’re closed so your filling doesn’t spill out everywhere. Brush the tops and sides with the egg wash – I was pretty liberal with it. This will seal it in and turn the tops a beautiful golden brown.
6. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake for about 15 minutes – or until a deep golden colour. Keep an eye on the little guys! Once done, remove sheet from oven and cool the pies on a cooling rack.