Blueberry hand pies: Delicious sweet and tart blueberry filling in a hand held, portable pie form with the flakiest of crusts. It’s the best of 2 pie worlds colliding!
OK, twist my arm! It’s August and you readers out there are begging me for a new way to use in-season blueberries. I’m here today to DELIVER.
I mean, blueberry hand pies?! How is this even fair?
Before I dive into this recipe though, let’s talk about hand pies first. You know, what they are, variations of hand pies, and the like.
What are Hand Pies?
Just what you might think, hand pies are mini pies that can be eaten with your hands.
Hand pies are ancestors of the British meat pasties. Traditional pasties are self-contained pockets of pastry crust filled with meat and/or vegetables that are meant to be eaten on-the-go as a filling meal.
And along with the UK, pasties remain popular around the world in the form of Aussie meat pies in Australia, beef patties in the Caribbean, empanadas in Latin America, and samosas in India (just to name a few).
Here in New England, meat pies/pasties made the trip across the Atlantic and still remain especially popular among fishermen, lobstermen, and dock workers up and down the coast as a fast and easy lunch.
Fruit Hand Pies
Fruit hand pies are just as popular and you can find blueberry hand pies all over New England in the summer when blueberries are in season.
Hand pies can be either fried or baked and you’ll usually find them in either half-moon (the more traditional) or square shapes. And you’ll find fruit pies that are either glazed or unglazed.
In the past, I’ve made a couple different fruit hand pies, always to rave reviews. My apple hand pies are made with a cozy spiced apple filling. They’re baked and then glazed with a vanilla sugar glaze. And they’re phenomenal!
My strawberry hand pies are made with fresh strawberries and just a hint of strawberry jam to help sweeten them up. These pies are also baked and then glazed but the dough I used for these hand pies was designed to be fried. Maybe next time?
How to Make Blueberry Hand Pies
These hand pies could not be any easier to make!
First, I made a batch of my favorite pie dough. I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. I just love this pie dough SO much!!
If you’re in a hurry or aren’t much of a fan of making your own dough, go ahead and use store-bought pie dough. I promise I won’t judge you! If you use store-bought dough, you’ll only need 1 round of pie dough, not the whole package.
Or, just double the blueberry filling recipe and make extra pies by using the whole package. Your choice!
After I rolled the pie dough out, I cut it into squares using my almost-never used but still very much adored pastry cutter wheel. Then I made a quick blueberry filling using the recipe I used for these blueberry galettes a few years ago.
And I added bit of lemon zest to the blueberries to give the filling flavor a little extra zip!
The filling will take you literally 5 minutes to mix up! It’s incredibly simple to make!
Next, I filled half of the dough squares, topped them with the remaining squares, sealed up the edges, and baked them off. Before baking, I brushed them with some egg wash to help them brown a little better and sprinkled on some sparkling sugar.
I love the effect sparkling sugar has on my baked goodies! It gives them a shimmer and a little bit of crunch too. These blueberry muffins are the perfect example of this!
What I Love About these Blueberry Hand Pies
There are a few reasons we absolutely adored these hand pies. And frankly, they’re going to be difficult for you not to love too!
First, the crispy, flaky pie dough is literally bursting with flavor. Since my pie dough is made with only butter (no shortening), the result is a delicious, buttery pastry with lots of flaky layers. It makes for the most delicious pie crust ever.
And this pie dough baked in free form (i.e., not in a pie dish or baking pan like for this apple slab pie) held up well to a hot oven really says something. The structure of this dough is sturdy enough so the dough doesn’t slump and run all over the pan and yet it’s tender enough to create a flaky pie.
It’s the perfect pie dough!
Second, the blueberry filling is just so great! It’s sweet and tart, and it oozes feelings of summer, if that’s even possible.
Blueberries always remind me of the hot summer days from my childhood when my brother and I would sit at our picnic table on the grass in our backyard and eat fruit salad my mom made for snack. These were days filled with running through the sprinkler and riding tandem on my banana seat bike.
Food that evokes memories like this is the best kind of food.
And lastly, I’m completely in love with the size of these hand pies. They’re small enough for tiny hands to easily hold (tiny hand not pictured above!) and they portion out nicely when you’re trying to watch your calories. (Heh.)
The recipe makes only 10 3-inch square pies so it’s a relatively small batch for a quick bake.
So!! I’m urging you to make these blueberry hand pies! They’re best with fresh and super ripe summer berries and are cheaper to make in the summer than when blueberry prices skyrocket in the winter.
And if you’re not up for making them now, you can always freeze your summer berries for winter baking!
In any event, I hope you love them as much as we do! Enjoy!
For the pie dough:
- 1 ¼ cups (157 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp table salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces or ½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and kept very cold before using
- ½ to ¾ cup very cold water
For the blueberry filling:
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Pinch of table salt
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For assembly and baking:
- 1 egg beaten with 2 tsp water
- Sparkling sugar
- To make the pie dough (see notes below): Measure the flour into a large, wide bowl. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Toss in the butter cubes and coat them all with the flour. Using your first 3 fingers of both hands, mash up the butter into smaller pieces, just bigger than the size of large peas. You can also do this with two knives or a strong pastry blender. I prefer using my fingers.
- Once the mixture looks sort of uniform, slightly crumbly, and the butter is broken up, stir in ½ cup of water with a rubber spatula until the water is absorbed and the dough starts to come together. If the dough is still dry and crumbly, add the remaining ¼ cup of water. Bring the dough together with your hands until it forms a soft and almost loose ball.
- Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and mold it into disk, about 1-inch thick. Use the plastic wrap to help bring the dough together, if needed.
- Chill the dough disk in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.
- Roll the dough into a 12×15-inch rectangle directly from the refrigerator (do not allow it to come to room temperature – remember you need to keep the butter really cold) or if frozen, allow the dough to rest in the fridge for one day before rolling. Cut the dough into 20 3-inch squares and line the dough squares up on a parchment-lined large baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet into the fridge while you make the blueberry filling.
- To make the blueberry filling: Mix all of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl until the berries are well-coated.
- To assemble and bake: Brush the edges of half of the pie dough squares with a little egg wash.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the blueberry filling (including some of the liquid) into the center of the remaining pie dough squares. Top each filled square with an egg-washed square (egg-washed side down), pressing the edges together with your fingers and then sealing them by pressing a fork around all sides. Space the pies out on the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each pie.
- Using a sharp knife, cut 4 small slices in the top of each pie. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Return the baking sheet to the fridge to allow the pies to firm up for at least 20 minutes or to the freezer (my choice) for about 15 minutes. You want to make sure the dough is COLD before you bake these pies.
- While the pies chill, preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Bake the pies on the parchment-lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes, until the pies are a deep golden brown. Some of the butter and a little of the filling will likely leak from the pies but this won't affect the final outcome. Transfer the pan to a wire rack, cool for 5 minutes, then move the pies directly to the rack to cool before serving warm or at room temperature.
This pie dough can be made and kept in the fridge for up to a week or up to 2 months in the freezer before using.
The 2 keys to getting lots of really flaky layers with this pie are:
- Use cold ingredients while keeping your dough super cold before baking, and
- Visible butter chunks in your pie dough from cutting the butter into the flour with your fingers. Food processors mulch the butter up to pieces that are too small to create lots of flaky layers.
Keep these keys in mind as you make this pie dough and you can’t go wrong!
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