Sophie and I had a girls day out in Old Town Alexandria this past week. It included lunch, a lot of walking, ice cream, buying cheap sunglasses, losing cheap sunglasses less than an hour later and hysterical laughter on the metro bus. We bought sale clothes at the Gap, bracelets at Lou Lou and passion fruit essence and an Opinel knife for Ian at a culinary store.
Yesterday we turned our peaches into hand pies. You could use any type of fruit filling, but make sure you use this pie crust recipe I found in Ken Haedrich's "Pie." It is literally the flakiest crust I have ever produced. I was fearful as it is initially a little soft and sticky. A couple of hours of refrigeration, a light dusting of flour and using parchment paper to roll it on solved this issue. For the filling I used about 6 cups of diced fruit, 2/3 cup sugar--simmer for a few minutes to dissolve sugar, and add a slurry of 1/4 cup corn starch, 2 TBS lemon juice and 2 TBS Grand Marnier. Cook an additional 2 minutes and cool. This made enough to easily fill 8 pies with some left over--I will probably eat it with yogurt.
I also wanted to be sure that Sophie's wares from her cooking class were documented on the blog, so enjoy these pictures that have nothing to do with the making of hand pies.
Tender Cream Cheese Pastry
2 sticks butter, softened
8 oz. package cream cheese (not low fat), softened
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS powdered sugar
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine the butter, cream cheese and salt. Beat for 30-45 sec at med-low speed. Scrape from beater before each addition: first the confectioner's sugar, then the flour in 3 additions. When flour has been incorporated and the dough starts to ball up on the beater stop the machine. Scrape dough onto a floured surface and knead gently 2-3 times. Divide in two pieces and flatten into disks about 3/4" thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour. Allow them to sit briefly until soft enough to roll--if they sit too long they will be unmanageable.
When you are ready to assemble the pies, lightly flour a piece of parchment and rolling pin. Preheat oven to 400 F. Divide each disk into 4 pieces and roll into ~8" circle. Dust with flour to prevent sticking as needed. Spoon 2/3 cup filling in center and moisten edges of circle with a little water. Fold in half, pinching and rolling edges together. Put in refrigerator on cookie sheet while you prepare the remaining pies. Just prior to baking brush the crust with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar. Poke a few holes in the tops to allow steam to escape. Bake on center rack at 400F for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 375F and bake an additional 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.
I caution you that the filling is HOT.