Hand Pies (AKA Homemade Pop Tarts)

Pie is delicious.

Pie that doesn’t require a fork or plate is extra delicious.

Just days before New Baby Homesteader was born, I tried my hand at making homemade pop tarts for the first time, because I wanted to have yet more easy-to-eat foods for that fourth trimester. The recipe I used had me do it in a much more complicated way than I’m going to tell you today, so it took me forever to finish them, what with cooling and putting dough on top of dough and re-cooling before baking.

Regardless of the work, they were incredible – flaky and just sweet enough and perfect with a cup of hot, bitter coffee. Ahhhhh. And the second best part (besides eating them until they were just cool enough not to burn our mouths) was how they could be frozen and saved, and were still just as tasty the second time around a month or so later.

The key to making successful hand pies is the same as making pie and pie crust in general: work quickly, and keep unused dough cold until you’re, well, using it. This ensures you get flaky, puffy pies instead of (still tasty, but not as fun) chewy pies with no layers.

You can fill these pies with pretty much anything you want, as long as it’s not too oozy under high heat. This means using jam with pectin, and maybe even a little added cornstarch, instead of straight up fruit. Feel free to go savory or sweeter, too – I’ll probably try my hand at perhaps a lox filling, or Nutella, mmmm. Regardless, don’t be tempted to overfill the pastries – that extra filling will just spill out on the baking sheet and burn.

Lastly, like pie dough, it takes practice to get these guys looking pretty (I’m still practicing), but even an ugly hand pie is a tasty hand pie, so don’t get discouraged if they’re a little misshapen.

Mmm’kay, let’s make some hand pies!

Hand Pies (Homemade Pop Tarts)

  • Servings: 8-12, depending on how big you make the pies
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You can fill these with whatever filling you desire, savory or sweet! This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.


you will need:

  • 2 recipes Basic Pie Crust (single crust)
  • ½ c jam of choice
  • 1 egg, plus 1 tablespoon water (optional for eggwash)
  • optional coatings: demerara sugar, pearl sugar, royal icing

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line 1-2 baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. Prepare your egg wash by mixing 1 egg with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.
  2. Work with half of the pie crust at a time, while keeping the dough you’re not currently using in the fridge. Roll out your dough to form a 10 inch square (or about ⅛ inch thickness), and cut the dough into your desired number of pieces (4 large pieces, or 5-6 smallish pieces). Fill the center of the dough pieces with 1 tablespoon of filling. Lightly coat the edges of the dough pieces with water using your finger, and fold the edges of each dough piece to cover the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal, and poke 2-3 times with a fork on top to create vents. (You can either work quickly and repeat the process with the other half of the dough, or proceed to Step 3 and repeat the rolling with the other half while the first half bakes.)
  3. If you are not immediately baking the pastries, you can transfer them to a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze them for 1 hour, then transfer them to a Ziploc or other freezer container and save for later. You can then pop them in a toaster oven or toaster, frozen, later when you want them. Or, you can put them on a prepared baking sheet (still frozen), and proceed with Step 4.
  4. If baking immediately: Transfer the pastries to the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush each pastry with the egg wash and, if desired, sprinkle with sugar. Bake in 425 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes until the pastries are lightly browned on the edges and a little puffy. Remove from oven, and transfer pastries to a cooling rack. If frosting with royal icing, wait until the pastries are completely cooled before doing so.

Variation:

  1. Cinnamon Sugar Hand Pies: A bit crunchy and delightfully spiced! Mix together ⅓ c white or brown sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon flour. Use a scant tablespoon of filling for each hand pie.

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