Can we talk about hand-pies for a moment? Cute, portable, and very high in crust to filling ratio make these my favorite of all time. Hand pies are really easy and fun to make, although they take a little longer than a larger pie. This crust is super flaky, thanks to the addition of greek yogurt (thank you Smitten Kitchen for this brilliant idea), just keep it really cold while you’re working. If it gets too hot in the kitchen just put the dough back in the refrigerator to cool off.
This recipe is honestly really close to our Brown Sugar Rhubarb Tarts – just in picnic friendly form! The tarts have a syrupy filling that stays put in the tart shell and mixes perfectly with ice cream. This is great for dinner parties, but won’t travel well in a picnic basket. The hand pies, can also double as a breakfast pastry. I used the same rich brown sugar and ginger filling from the tarts with a splash of vanilla. The hand pie filling has more rhubarb/less sugar, if very sweet rhubarb is more your thing up the sugar by 1/4 – 1/2 cup. Cooking the filling and resisting the urge to stuff the hand pies keeps the mixture from oozing out the top and sides while baking.
Make the hand pies in 2 batches, leaving half the dough to chill while you’re rolling the first. All I had was a sharp knife for cutting the dough, but a biscuit cutter, pie crust roller, or anything will work. These are roughly 3×3″ or somewhere around that size. Cut a + in the center of each top, and be light-handed with the filling. I had a lot of filling leftover, which I stashed in the freezer for more pie-making, crumble bars, or maybe just a pancake topping when the strawberries come in.
Rhubarb Hand Pies (makes 10 – 12 pies)
For the crust:
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
8 – 10 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling:
1 lb rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 cup dark brown sugar (add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more for a sweeter filling)
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For assembling the pies:
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
sugar – coarse if you have it
Make the dough. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, process to combine. Cut the butter into small chunks, add to the mixer, and pulse until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Pulse in the yogurt, then pulse in the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the flour holds together when pinched, but is still slightly crumbly. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and use the edges of the plastic wrap to form it into a ball. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Make the filling. Combine filling ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thick like jam. Cool completely before filling the pies.
When the dough and filling have cooled, make the pies.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl.
Separate the dough into 2 balls. Wrap one in plastic and keep in the refrigerator while you work with the first one. On a heavily floured contertop, roll one ball of dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, about 9×12″ if possible. Take your time, and lift and rotate your dough while you work. Cut dough into 12 3×3″ squares (or slightly smaller).
Brush half the squares lightly with the egg/water mixture, paying careful attention to the edges. This is what seals the pies together. Cut a small vent into the remaining squares (a + right in the center works great). Place a scant tablespoon of filling in the center of the 6 egg-washed squares (resist the urge to overfill, it will just end up all over the baking sheet). Top each square with a vented square, and use a fork to crimp the edges all the way around. Transfer the squares to a baking sheet lined with parchment, brush the tops with egg-wash, and sprinkle with sugar.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake at 400°F for 10 – 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.