Peaches and Cream Hand Pie
Hand pies are such tidy little treats—a dessert (or breakfast!) you can eat on the go. We’ve made ours with peach preserves that one of our team members canned out of Hollmeyer Orchard peaches last year, but you can use nearly any kind of fruit you would ordinarily make into a pie.
Dick Stewart, one of the owners of Carriage House Farm, has loved hand pies as long as he can remember. He’s not picky. He’ll take an industrial-crafted, plastic-wrapped apple pie from a gas station in a pinch. But he’s also been working on making his own from scratch the past few years and his standards are getting pretty high.
He gives this recipe two thumbs up—mostly because at the staff lunch his mouth was too full with hand pie to be able to give us a verbal response.
2⅓ cups all purpose flour (plus additional for dusting and rolling dough)
1 cup cold butter cut into cubes
¼ fine ground cornmeal
2 TBSP sugar
½ tsp salt
8 TBSP ice water (more if needed)
for pie filling:
1½ cups peach preserves
1 tsp all purpose flour
¼ tsp freshly grated ginger
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
for creamy smear:
½ package cream cheese
1 TBSP honey (or slightly more or less to taste)
for an egg wash and sprinkling:
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp water
¼ cup turbinado sugar (or other large grain sugar)
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, work the cold butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly and the butter is pea-sized. This can also be done in a food processor, just be careful not to over process.
Shift the butter and flour mix to one side of the bowl. On the empty side, add 1 TBSP of water and toss the dry mix into it. Continue this process, one tablespoon of water at a time, until the mixture is moist. Work quickly and do not overwork the mix or the crust will be tough.
Press the dough together into a flat disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
While waiting for the dough to chill, mix together all of the ingredients for the pie filling and then let sit to give it time to blend flavors and stiffen up. If you don’t have preserves and want to use fresh peaches or apples, you will also need to add 2-3 TBSP of sugar to help the fruit release some of its moisture. You may also want to change the spice ingredients.
Fresh Apple: 2 cups diced apples, ½ tsp cinnamon, 3 TBSP dark brown sugar, 3 tsp flour
Fresh Peach: 2 cups diced peaches, ¼ tsp freshly grated ginger, ⅛ tsp cinnamon, 3 TBSP white sugar (or less if peaches are very ripe), 3 tsp flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place oven rack in center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Just before rolling out dough and constructing hand pies, mix together ingredients for creamy filling. Taste as you go. It should be sweet, but still maintain some of the tang of the cream cheese.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the prepared cornmeal crust until thin (like you would use for a traditional pie). Cut into even rectangles. (The crust recipe will make about 12 hand pies.)
On one side of each rectangle, smear a tsp or 2 of the creamy filling and then top with 2 TBSP of your fruit filling—leaving a finger-width’s edge for sealing. Fold the dough over, press the edges together, flatten slightly and then gently roll inwards toward the fruit-filled pocket.
Repeat with each piece of dough.
Whisk together the egg and 1 tsp of water. Brush the top of each pastry lightly with egg wash. Cut small vents into each hand pie. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar. This is not a very sweet dough, and so please don’t skimp on the sugar sprinkles.
Bake for 40 minutes until the hand pies are golden. Let cool for 10 minutes on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.