Sweetened Mascarpone Cheese and Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries Flavored with a Splash of Bourbon are filled in an Incredible Flaky and Buttery Crust, creating these Charmingly Festive Berry Hand Pies.
I have been dying to make mini pies for a long time! They’re super cute and you can quickly grab one on-the-go. Plus it’s easier on the mind for [me] “portion control.” You get to fill it with your favorite fruit and if you want a little savory twist, add a soft cheese like mascarpone. And for added depth of flavor, BOURBON! If you want to keep it PG for the kiddos, you can skip the bourbon but know it’s a very light amount used only for flavoring.
When eaten freshly baked, the fruit filling and sweetened cheese is perfectly warm and soft and if you’re lucky, it may sometimes ooze out which is the best part. Then you have the buttery crust that’s always amazing on its own. I mean, who doesn’t love a good flaky buttery crust?
Independence Day desserts usually involve something red and blue to represent the American flag. If going all natural, strawberries and blueberries are the most common fruits used for the holiday. Cliché of me, I did just that but wanted something slightly more to stand out. I always see miniature pies made either round or rectangular shaped so creating star-shaped pies was fitting for this occasion.
I must admit, I was nervous about making them. In the past, I’ve tried to make a s’mores version and could not for the life of me, crimp the edges to seal and the marshmallow fluff kept oozing out. Got frustrated and never looked back on trying to remake them but I think I found the trick!
Similar to how we would tuck the excess dough on a 9-inch round pie when crimping, do the same with these hand pies to create the seal. If you find using a fork to press the edges together works better for you, continue doing that. What worked for me was to tuck and pinch which left no gaps.
Naturally, as seen in the photos, for some of the pies, the dough separated upon baking. However, the baking time is very short (up to 15 minutes), which doesn’t leave much time for the filling to escape.
Another trick to prevent the filling from oozing out is to ensure the top half of the dough is 1/4 to 1/2-inch larger than the bottom half. This small but crucial step allows the dough to be able to cover over the filling and still touch the bottom half. Then, with any excess over the sides is where you tuck and pinch (or use a fork if you wish).
Lastly, brush coating the top with egg helps to brown the pies and leave a slight shiny look. The egg is also used as a glue to help the coarse sugar to adhere. I recommend adding the sugar to help give a little boost of sweetness and even out the flavor from the buttery crust.
Overall, I would definitely make this again and my confidence to create the s’mores version is now pretty high… just have to make sure the fluff doesn’t move. Ha!
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Sweetened Mascarpone Cheese and Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries Flavored with a Splash of Bourbon are filled in an Incredible Flaky and Buttery Crust, creating these Charmingly Festive Hand Pies.
- 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted cold butter, sliced or cut in 1 cm cubes
- 1 large egg yolk (15 grams)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 75 grams) cold water
STRAWBERRY and BLUEBERRY FILLING
- 1 cup (160 grams) fresh or thawed frozen strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 cup (150 grams) fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) bourbon, divided
- 2 tablespoons (16 grams) cornstarch, divided
- 2 tablespoons (12 grams) lemon zest, divided
- 2 teaspoons (12 grams) fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) mascarpone cheese
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (4 to 8 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) pure vanilla extract
- 1 small egg (42 grams)
- Coarse sugar
- DOUGH: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Toss in butter and coat with flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or long-tined fork, cut in butter and egg yolk until the mixture becomes crumbly about the size of small peas. Add water 2 tablespoons (30 grams) at a time and continue to cut into the flour mixture until a ball of dough begins to form and is able to leave the sides of the bowl.
- Shape the dough into a flattened disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes.
- FILLING: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low-medium heat, bring strawberries, 1/8 cup (25 grams) sugar, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) bourbon, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch, 1 tablespoon (6 grams) lemon zest and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to a soft boil. Mash strawberries to help release their juice. When about 75% of the strawberries are broken down, remove the saucepan from heat. Transfer filling onto a shallow plate to thicken as it cools. Repeat the same process for the blueberry filling using the remaining of the divided ingredients.
- In a small bowl, mix mascarpone cheese,1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar and vanilla. Taste and if desired, mix in another teaspoon of sugar. Cover and set aside in the fridge to chill until ready to fill the pies.
- Heat oven to 400°F (205°C). Over 2 large rimmed baking pans, lay a silicone baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.
- ASSEMBLY: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/8 in (1/4 cm) thick. Using a 2 1/2 in (6 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out 8 circles of dough. Use another cookie cutter about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch either smaller or larger than the first round cookie cutter to cut out another 8 circles of dough. Position the 8 smaller cut-outs about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking pan. The smaller cut-outs will be the bottoms of the hand pies. Using a knife, pierce a few small holes over the center of each of the larger cut-outs.
- Place 1 teaspoon of mascarpone filling onto the center of each of the smaller cut-out. Over the mascarpone filling, place up to 1 heaping teaspoon of strawberry or blueberry filling. Lay the larger cut-outs over the filling and crimp or tuck any excess dough under the bottom half of the hand pie. Be sure to gently pinch the 2 layers of dough together to seal. This will prevent the filling from oozing out of the sides.
- Roll out any remaining dough and using a star cookie cutter about the same size as the round cookie cutters, repeat the same process of filling and sealing until all dough is used.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg and brush coat the tops of each hand pie and sprinkle coarse sugar over the top.
- Bake each tray of 8 hand pies at time for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.
Always be sure to work with chilled but pliable dough. If the dough becomes too soft and oily when handled, it’s too warm. A quick recovery is to place the tray of dough in the fridge for about 10 minutes or in the freezer for about 5 minutes to firm up before handling again.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: American hand pies, mini berry pies, star pies, strawberry and blueberry pop tarts
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