Saturday, November 23, 2013

peaches and cream hand pies

Six years ago last month, I knew we had landed at the perfect church home for us.  Why?  Not because of a large number of members.  Not because of beautiful facilities.  Not because it had a ton of programs that would serve me.  I knew it was the right place, because shortly after we began visiting, we walked into their annual October Family Day to a group of long-time members laboring over the counter making homemade hand pies by the dozens.  Sound silly?  Not to me.

It is a blessing to watch the grandmothers and great-grandmothers of this life laboring for others, isn't it?  You can just see the joy radiating from them, as they work quickly and efficiently doing for others.  That's what I saw that day.  A group who had made the treat no less than hundreds of times in their life, I'd suspect, chatting happily and working tirelessly as if it were their first.  I want to be like that when I grow up.

A while back, I posted a peach filling recipe and promised a recipe using it to come.  Well, here it is.  Of course, you could use any kind of filling you wish, but this is wonderful.  With just a smear of softened cream cheese, a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon, topped with a dollop of filling, these pies are heavenly served warm.  Creamy... slightly tart... You'll make these again and again.

Peaches and Cream Hand Pies
makes approx. 6 pies (depending on size preferred)

Pate Brisee

  • 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup ice water, plus more if needed
~ In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt; pulse to combine.  Add 
    butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces 
    remaining (if you don't have a processor, mix dry ingredients and cut in butter with 
    pastry blender or two knives).

~ With machine running, add water through feed tube in a slow steady stream, just until
    dough holds together and is not wet or sticky (about 30 seconds).  Do not over-process.  
    Test by squeezing some of the dough together.  If still too crumbly, add a little more 
    water, one tablespoon at a time.

~ Turn out dough onto clean work surface.  Divide in half and place one half on piece of
    plastic wrap.  Shape into flattened rectangles.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour
    or overnight.

For pies
  • Pie filling of choice
  • Cream cheese, softened and cut into small cubes for easier spreading
  • Sugar Cinnamon mixture
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
~ Heat oven to 375 degrees.

~ On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Using desired size
    circle (I used a six-inch round bowl to cut mine), cut out circles, working quickly, and 
    reincorporating scraps and re-rolling/cutting until all dough is used.  Try not to over
    work to keep dough tender.  

~ Working with one circle at a time, spread desired cream cheese on circle, leaving a 
    quarter-inch edge.  Sprinkle liberally with sugar/cinnamon mixture followed by 
    2 tablespoons of filling.  

~ Lightly brush connecting edges with egg, fold over, and use tines of fork to seal.  

~ Using tip of knife, cut slits to allow for steam.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with 
    more sugar/cinnamon.

~ Repeat using the rest of the dough.

~ Place pies on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until crusts
    are golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Pate Brisee recipe from Martha Stewart.
Filling from The Lazy Daisy Kitchen.