No. 207: Strawberry, Basil & Lemon Hand Pies

We had a busy Wednesday night of house hunting (yes, that is still going on ... sigh).

I had about 30 free minutes to figure out a way to use the tired strawberries in my fridge, the perfect amount of time for whipping up some sweet treats.

Ingredients

For the filling
1 1/2 cups strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon basil
Zest of one lemon

For the pastry*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

*I used some leftover Pillsbury dough that has been lingering in my fridge. It worked just fine, but this pastry dough from Smitten Kitchen is terrific and the directions are also below.

To make

Mix up your filling by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set in the fridge while you make the dough.

Filling

To make the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3x5 inches. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch thick. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter (or mason jar lid if you're me).

Cutting dough

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first pieces. This will be the “inside” of the hand pies and the egg is to help glue the lid on.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it.

Strawberries on rounds

Place a second circle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining pies.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork and refrigerate while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Ready to bake

Bake in you oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until hand pies are golden brown.

The results

Strawberry + basil + lemon = heaven. When hot and straight out of the oven, these little mini pies are just lovely.

Final pies

Don't worry, the strawberry goodness oozing out just means that everything is percolating inside perfectly.

This filling would be perfect in a latticed pie or galette as well, just double or triple it based on your needs.

I gobbled one of these up right before we hopped in the car to head to the first house with our realtor.

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