There is a whole lot of goodness packed into these delicious Strawberry Hand Pies. Fresh strawberries are roasted with sugar to create a strawberry jam filling. It's then encased in a buttery pie crust and baked until golden brown. If you love strawberries this recipe is for you.
I only started making pies about 4 years ago. Up until then Mom was the pie maker in the family. Her crust and fillings were always delicious, so really there was no need for me to learn how to make pies with my mom in the kitchen.
Then 4 years ago my mom stopped making pies. She wasn't able to stand in the kitchen to peel fruit or roll out pie dough and bending over to take things out of the oven became difficult for her. So I was determined to learn and take over the pie making tradition, especially her peach cobbler. Just for clarification, my mom is from Texas and in Texas, a peach cobbler has a bottom and top crust.
Being who I am I started researching pie crusts recipe to find my perfect pie dough. My mom's recipe was all-vegetable shortening, but I wanted an all-butter pie crust. In my research, I came across a recipe for roasted strawberries and strawberry hand pies in The Bake From Scratch magazine. And discovered the joy of roasting fruit.
How to Roast Strawberries
Roasting strawberries is a great way to make strawberry jam with less sugar and more flavor. Roasting the fruit produces a more intense flavor. And you can roast almost any fruit - peaches, plums, cherries, etc. For roasted peaches check out my recipe for Roasted Peach Hand Pies.
For 8 cups of strawberries there is only 1 cup or less of sugar depending on the natural sweetness of the berries. To create more flavor, vanilla is mixed with the sugar before adding it to the berries. To roast the berries, chop the berries and mix them with the lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Spread the berries on a parchment-lined half baking sheet and roast in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes stir the berries, taste for sweetness. If you want the berries sweeter, add a 1/4 cup of the remaining sugar, stir to mix it in, and roast for another 10 minutes. Repeat this step with the remaining sugar if you want them sweeter still.
As the strawberries cook in the oven they will begin to darken and the juices will start to thicken and bubble. The whole process takes about 30-40 minutes depending on juicy the berries are. I've roasted Albion and Hood berries. Hood berries take longer because to get to the right consistency because they are juicier and definitely sweeter. Be sure to stir the berries every 10 minutes so the berries don't burn or get too dark.
When the berries are done, allow the pan to cool for 10 minutes and then scrape the berries into a bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to Make Flaky Pie Dough
The secret to creating a really flaking dough (besides the butter) is the so multiple turns of the dough. The original recipe doesn't call for the turns, but I discovered it by accident when I rerolled the dough scraps and the hand pies made from the rerolled dough were flakier.
For this recipe, I recommend using a large stainless steel bowl because you will have plenty of room to work the dough into the flour and then schmear it against the sides of the bowl without getting flour and bits of butter everywhere.
Once the butter has been worked into the flour and the water added, pour the dough onto a work surface and pat it into an 8 x 10 rectangle and then fold into three sections, similar to a tri-fold brochure or letter. Then roll out to a rectangle again, fold it and roll it. This process will create multiple layers of fat and flour. When the dough is in the hot oven, the liquid in the butter will steam and create the flaky pockets.
How to Assemble Strawberry Hand Pies
Now we come to the best part - putting together the hand pies. I recommend using a cutter that is at least 4 inches. Any smaller and it becomes difficult to get the filling into the pie and have it stay closed. This recipe will produce 30 hand pies. Use about 1.5 tablespoons of filling placed in the center of the dough. Brush the edge of the dough with the egg wash to seal the pies. This same egg wash will be used to brush the top of the pies before you place them in the oven.
I sprinkle the top of the pies with lots of raw cane sugar. It adds crunchiness to the final product as well as a nice bit of sweetness. One of my favorite things about these pies is the combination of the tart filling, with the buttery crust and sweet exterior (maybe that's three things). I should probably rename this tart-buttery-sweet strawberry hand pies.
I love everything about these strawberry hand pies, from the roasted strawberry jam to the flaky pie crust. My only regret is that I didn't make extra roasted strawberries to store in the freezer.
If you love strawberries, I guarantee that you will love these pies. If you've never made pie dough before don't be intimidated by this recipe. The dough is pretty forgiving, it may not be as flaky the first time, but it will still taste good. And the more often you work with pie dough the better you will become at making it.
If you make this recipe, leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.
Strawberry Hand Pies
Flaky Pie Dough
- 2-3/4 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp (18 grams) kosher salt
- 2 cups (454 grams), unsalted butter, cold 82% butter fat preferred
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 8 cups (1075 grams) strawberries rough chop
- 1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean optional
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon milk (or cream)
- Turbinado (raw cane) sugar
- Add the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Use your fingers to smush the butter into flat pieces. Continue smashing the butter until all of it is flattened and pieces are about the size of quarters. The flour should look like coarse cornmeal.
- Add about 4 tablespoons of water initially and quickly fold it in with a wooden spoon to distribute the water. The dough should appear shaggy. If you need to add more water, add it one (1) tablespoon at a time until it appears shaggy (you may not need all of the water). Keep the dough in the bowl and use your fingers or the palms of your hand to smear the dough up the sides of the bowl.
- Once you've done this all the way around the bowl. fold the dough over itself to pick up any dry bits from the bottom of the bowl. Pour the dough onto a floured work surface (I use a wooden board). Press the dough into a rectangle, lightly flour the top and use a rolling pin and roll out to a rectangle, approximately, 10 x 8-inches. Use a bench scraper to fold the dough into a letter fold. Repeat the rectangle and the letter fold two more times.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
- Place the sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod with a small sharp knife. Place the vanilla seeds in the same bowl with the sugar. Use your fingers to mix and work the seeds into the sugar. If you don't use all the sugar, use the remaining sugar for another recipe.
- Combine the chopped strawberries, lemon juice and lemon zest, 1/2 cup of the vanilla sugar and salt in a large bowl. With a large spoon gently mix all the ingredients together. Spread the mixture on a half-sheet pan and place in the oven.
- After the first 15 minutes, taste the mixture (careful it's hot) and add more sugar 1/4 cup at a time stirring after each addition. Continue to roas the strawberries, stirring them every 10 minutes until the strawberry syrup starts to thicken and bubble at the edge of the pans.
- When done, remove them from the oven and use a large heatproof spatula to scrape them into a large bowl. Allow the berries to cool until room temperature. Once cooled the berries can be used immediately or refrigerated up to two weeks.
Hand Pie Assembly
- Remove 1/2 of the dough from the refrigerator. If the dough has been in the refrigerator over night let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to make it easier to roll.
- Combine the egg and milk and beat until combined.
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Use a 4-inch cutter to cut out circles for the pies. Gather up the scraps into a ball, press into a circle, wrap in plastic and put it in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes and reroll for additional pies.
- Place about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of strawberry filling in the center of each circle. Brush half of the dough circle with the egg wash using a pastry brush, and fold the top half of the dough over the filling and lightly press it into the bottom piece. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges.
- Lightly flour a sheet tray or cutting board and place the pies on the sheet tray and chill for at least 30 minutes. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining dough. I use a 1/4 sheet tray to chill the hand pies in the refrigerator because that is what will fit into my refrigerator, but I bake the pies on a 1/2 sheet tray. See information below for sheet tray dimensions.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the pies from the refrigerator and place on parchment lined baking tray. Brush each pie with the egg wash and then cut three slits into each pie. Heavily sprinkle each pie with raw sugar.
- Bake the pies for approximately 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. The pies will rise slightly. Remove the pies from the oven and place on cooling rack. The pies can be eaten warm or completely cooled to eat later.