I absolutely love these Blackberry Hand Pies. Thick blackberry filling is piled into buttery pie dough, baked, and then topped with yummy blackberry glaze. They're reminiscent of a favorite childhood treat (more about that later) and as soon as I bite into one I can't stop eating it until it's all gone. No halfsies in this case.
When I was a kid one of my favorite treats was the Hostess Blackberry Pie. And I have a vivid memory of wearing a yellow dress while eating one and getting blackberry stains on my bright yellow dress of course. The best part was biting into that soft crust with the thin crackly glaze and getting mouthful of blackberries. It was the best treat in the world. For some reason it has taken me until now to recreate that childhood effort (probably because I just learned how to make good pie dough), but the wait is over. And now I have a favorite childhood treat I can make over and over.
How to Make the Blackberry Filling
The blackberry filling is incredibly easy to make. The main ingredients are:
- Fresh Blackberries. I prefer fresh blackberries when they're in season, but you can also use frozen blackberries or marionberries for this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries. If the berries are tart add additional sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until desired level of sweetness is reached.
- Lemon Juice. Lemon juice brightens the flavor of the berries.
- Water. If using frozen berries omit the water.
The cinnamon is added because it adds a nice flavor and goes perfectly with the blackberries. To create a thick cook and mash 2 cups the berries. Add the cornstarch mixture, cook the berries about 1 minute after it comes to a boil and then add the remaining whole berries. Cook for 1 minute more then remove the berries from the heat, before refrigerating. You can make the berries up to 3 days before you are ready to make the pies.
How to Make Pie Dough
Making pie dough is one of those essential baking skills that can be hard to master. Or at least it was for me. Growing up, my mother made the most amazing pies. The crust was always tender and flaky and the fillings were perfect. Anytime she used a square baking dish, my and my family rushed to get the corner pieces because those pieces had the most pie crust.
Here are my tips for making good pie dough not matter what recipe you use.
- Use cold ingredients. Your butter and water should be cold when they mixed into the dry ingredients. My mother sometimes chilled the flour. I haven't tried that technique yet, but it worked for her. I keep a jar that holds 2 cups of water in the refrigerator at all times so I know that I will have ice cold water whenever I need it.
- Don't overwork the dough. Working the dough too much will activate the gluten in the flour and create a dough that is harder to roll our and a finished pie crust that is chewy. Once the water is added only work it enough with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to work it into the other ingredients and then shape it into a circle or square for your recipe.
- Keep the dough cool. After chilling the dough, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll out. Quickly roll out the dough and fit it into whatever baking pan or pie plate that you are using. Then chill the dough again after shaping it.
How to Shape the Hand Pies
Now comes the fun part. Making and baking the hand pies. You now how this yummy blackberry filling and cold pie dough. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. If it's a warm day and your kitchen is warm, it may only need 5 minutes before it is ready to roll out.
Roll the dough out to a rectangle that is 1/8-inch think and about 20x14-inches. Use a ruler and sharp knife to trip the dough to about 12 x 15-inches. Gather up the dough scraps, squeeze them together, wrap in plastic and refrigerate them. Measure and cut 4 x 3-inch rectangles. You should have 15.
Place 3-4 tablespoons of filling in the center of one rectangle, brush the edges with egg wash and place another rectangle on top. Press the edges together and use the tines of a fork to seal the hand pies. Brush eat completed pie with egg wash and refrigerate. Reroll the other dough scrapes to get the remaining 2 or 3 pies.
Baking and Glazing the Hand Pies
When the pies are ready brush the pies with the egg wash again (a second coat will make the tops of the pies shinier). Bake the pies and allow them to completely cool before putting on the blackberry glaze.
When the pies are ready to glaze, make the glaze by pressing about 1/2 cup of berries through a fine mesh sieve. You should have 2-3 tablespoons of blackberry juice. Combine the juice, with a little lemon juice, and the powdered sugar and stir until no white flecks remain and the glaze is a deep dark purple.
When the glaze is done, place 1-2 tablespoons on each pie and spread with the back of a spoon. You can eat right away or let the glaze set. Once the glaze is set wrap each pie individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate if not eating the same day. Pies without glaze can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days.
I hope you try this recipe. My goal is to present recipes that you can successfully recreate at home. If you have questions or comments I would love to hear from you. Your questions or comments have often lead me to add additional instructions to the recipe or make a correction. Your engagement helps me get better.
If you make these blackberry hand pies and post a picture to Instagram please tag me @bakesbybrownsugar.
Blackberry Hand Pies
- 3 cups (462 grams) blackberries, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups (380 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon (25 grams) white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 20 tablespoons (284 grams) cold unsalted butter cubed
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water or more if required
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 (50 grams) large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) fresh blackberries
- 2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar sifted
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Make the Blackberry Filling
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water and stir to mix together.
- Combine 2 cups (329 grams) of the blackberries, lemon juice, sugar, 1 tablespoon of water, salt, and cinnamon in a 3 or 4-quart nonreactive saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to medium heat until the berries are soft. Mash the berries with potato masher or back of a large spoon. Add the whole berries and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir the cornstarch slurry and add it to the berries. Stir constantly and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute to cook away the cornstarch taste. The berries should be slightly thicker. Remove the berries from the heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate to chill the filling.
Make the Pie Dough
- Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is pea-sized. If using your fingers toss the butter in the dry ingredients to coat the butter then mash the pieces of butter between our thumb and forefinger until the butter is pea-sized.
- Add 1/4 cup of ice water and use a rubber spatula to toss together. The dough will start to come together, but will still be slightly crumbly or shaggy but should hold together when squeezed into a ball. If more water is needed add one teaspoon at a time.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together, folding it over on itself until it starts to hold together. Try not to work the dough too much or it may become and overdeveloped and tough.
- Shape the dough into a rectangular block 1-inch thick. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
Make the Hand Pies
- Remove the pie dough for the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to make sure it will rough out easily. Generously flour the work surface and roll out the dough to a rectangle that is slightly bigger than 20 x 14-inches and 1/8-inch thick. Use a ruler and pizza wheel or sharp knife to straighten the edges
- Mark the edges to cut 4 x 3-inch rectangles. You should have 15 rectangles. Gather the dough scraps, pat them together to make one piece. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. This dough will be used to make the remaining pies.
- Make the egg wash. Take a dough rectangle, spoon 4 tablespoons of the blackberry filling in the center of the dough along the length of the rectangle. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash and place a second dough rectangle on top slightly stretching the dough to fit over the berry filling and so the edges meet. Press the edges together and use the tines of the fork to seal the edges.
- Brush the hand pies with egg wash and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove the other dough from the refrigerator and make remaining hand pies and refrigerate.
Bake the Hand Pies
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pies from the refrigerator and place them on a parchment line baking sheet. Brush them a second time with the egg wash and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the pies from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before adding the glaze. At this point, the pies can be stored at room temperature for 2 days in an airtight container.
- Sift the powdered sugar to remove lumps and place in a small bowl. Use the back of a spoon to push the blackberries through a fine mesh strainer. You should have 2-3 tablespoons of liquid. Add 2 tablespoons of the blackberry juice and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the powdered sugar. Stir with a spoon until the glaze is smooth and no white bits of powdered sugar remain. The glaze should be really thick. If you want a thinner glaze add additional blackberry juice 1 teaspoon at a time until the glaze is at the desired consistency.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of glaze to each hand pie and spread with the black of a spoon. Allow the glaze to set and enjoy. The pies are best after they are glazed, but can be refrigerated for up to a week.