I was pumped when I randomly selected peaches last week. They are in prime season right now so I knew I’d be able to find some good ones and make something delicious.
I’ve been pretty busy lately and while I wanted to make a peach pie, I also wanted to have something I could eat on the go! I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to eat peach pie (or any pie) when walking around, but trust me. It doesn’t end well.
These awesome little hand pies, almost like empanadas, gave me my peach fill and kept me moving!
1) To make the dough, add the dry dough ingredients to a large bowl and mix them up. Cube your butter and cool it off in the freezer for a few minutes. Then add your butter to the bowl and cut it into the dry ingredients, using your fingers, a food processor, or a pastry cutter.
2) Once your butter is in pea-sized pieces, add your liquids and stir the dough together until it forms a loose ball. Then turn it out onto the counter and form two even balls with the dough. Wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap and store them for at least an hour in the fridge. You could make these a few days in advance without a problem.
3) For the filling, peel your peaches with either a veggie peeler or dip them in boiling water for a few seconds. The skins should just peel off. Then chop your peaches up into small cubes, add your other filling ingredients, and drain the filling in a colander or strainer for 10 minutes.
4) After your dough is chilled, pull out a ball and roll it out into a 12-14 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Use a 6 inch bowl to trace perfect rounds in the dough and then cut them out. You should be able to get 6 or 7 smaller rounds for each dough ball. You'll have to re-roll it once.
5) Stick your rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to re-chill the butter.
6) To Make the Pies: Take out each round and put about 2 Tablespoons of filling in the center. Brush around the edges of the round with egg wash and gently fold the dough over forming a semi-circle. Press out as much air as possible and use a fork to seal the edges around the pie.
7) Brush each pie with egg wash and sprinkle on raw sugar. The sugar is optional.
8) Using a sharp paring knife, cut a few slits in the top of each pie to let steam escape.
9) When all the pies are formed, put them back in the freezer for an hour at least to freeze.
10) Bake the pies on parchment paper (you can use the same pan you used to freeze them) in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until they are golden brown.
11) Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Making the Dough
This was a really excellent dough. As with most pie doughs, the key is to keep everything as cold as possible through the process.
Start by mixing your dry ingredients (flour and salt) in a large bowl. Add your cubed cold butter (put it in the freezer for a few minutes even). Using your fingers, a food processor, or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into pea-sized balls.
I actually like using my fingers for this normally. Work quickly! You don’t want your butter to get too warm.
The butter should be a bit smaller pieces than the butter in this photo.
Once your butter is cut in, add your liquid and stir it together with a fork until the dough just comes together. Don’t overwork it!
Turn the dough out onto a counter top and form two even balls of dough. Wrap these in plastic and stick them in your fridge for at least an hour. You could make these the day before though and that would be even better!
Making the Filling
I kept my version of the filling very standard. Just peaches. You could add a bit of mint or even, gasp!, bourbon to it to spice it up a bit.
Start with nice fresh peaches!
There are two generally accepted ways to peel peaches. Take your pick. First, you can just peel them with a normal peeler. I find that this is the fastest way if you’re peeling under a dozen or so.
If you’re doing a lot of peach peeling though, you can also dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds and then the skins just slide right off the peaches!
Whatever method you choose, peel them and then chop them up into cubes and add your other filling ingredients.
Drain your peach filling in a colander or strainer for at least 10 minutes before using it.
You might think that it’s a travesty to lose those peach juices, but trust me, there’s plenty of residual juice in the peaches. All of that extra juice would just make your pies very runny and soggy.
Making the Pies
Once you’re ready to make the pies, grab one of your dough balls out of the fridge and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll it out gently and slowly until you have a large disc. You should be able to work out a 12 or 14 inch wide disc of dough.
Using a bowl or other round shape, trace out 6 inch rounds on the dough. You should be able to get 6 or 7 rounds out of one dough ball. I got six by pressing out four on my first roll, then re-rolling the scraps and pressing out two more.
Chilling the Rounds
This might sound crazy, but after rolling the dough and cutting the dough and everything, your dough will be room temperature. You want to keep it cold. So put all your small circular rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This will chill it down again.
Making the Pies
Finally! Time to make some pies. Take your rounds out of the ice box and add about 2 Tablespoons filling in the center of one. You want to make sure to leave yourself plenty of room to close the pie up. This is just about perfect.
To finish off each pie
Brush the edges around the circle with a bit of egg wash and fold it over into a half-circle. Try to squeeze out as much air as you can. Next, use a fork to seal around the edges of the pie.
Then brush the top of the hand pie with more egg wash and sprinkle on some raw sugar if you have some. Also, cut a few slits in the top with a sharp knife.
Kind of a lot of work, but look at this beauty!
Back to the chiller!
I know. Lots of chilling involved here. But the problem now is that your filling is room temperature. If you put this in the oven now, your filling will be boiling by the time your crust is cooked. In other words, your pie will explode.
Exploding pies are fun if you’re Gallagher, but not after you just spent all that time rolling and cutting and filling and pressing…
So put your pies in the freezer on the same baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about an hour. This should basically freeze them solid.
Baking the Pies
Finally! Bake them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. You can bake them on the same sheet you froze them on.
They should be a nice golden brown color.
Want to eat it now?
Can’t. Sorry. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack. Trust me. That filling is really hot and it’ll burn your mouth.
Plus you want to give a chance for some of the sugars in the filling to set-up which means when you bite into the pie, everything will stay in place.
These were awesome. I remember buying the little apple, cherry, or peach pies at the gas station as a kid and these are kind of like those, but about 100 times better.
Do they take some time and patience? Yes. I won’t lie to ya. But the results are pretty delicious.
And if you’re really worried about it, you can of course just bake an entire pie. It’ll cut out some of the steps and the final result will still be pretty delicious.
But if you’re feeling ambitious, make some hand pies! You can eat them on your way to work and impress your fellow commuters.