So, I was sitting here, trying to figure out what I was going to say about these Cranberry Hand Pies, and the only thing I could think of was that they are Freaking Amazing!! My pies are inspired by a recipe in a Bon Appetit Magazine from a while ago and the accompanying photo only showed the outside of the pies, not the cranberry filling, and so I was totally intrigued. I also have never made a pie crust without egg, being of the old pâte sucrée school, so I decided to bite the bullet and try it. I think I already said they’re otherworldly. Believe it.
I had been looking for fresh cranberries to arrive in the market and finally there they were. Those plastic bags of red acidic berries, just waiting to be mixed with sugar and orange zest to bring out their sharp crisp sweet-and-sourness.
Ah, Thanksgiving, time of cranberry indulgence.
The pie dough is rolled quite thin and cut into 3-inch circles, edges brushed with beaten egg and a tablespoon of cranberry filling in the center.
Another circle of dough is placed over the filling and crimped with a fork around the edges. After chilling for 45 minutes, a little X-shape is cut through the top, brushed with egg and sprinkled liberally with turbinado sugar. So pretty!
Their buttery cranberry smell makes itself known throughout the house by the end of the baking time. I could hardy wait to taste one and see what the filling looked like. It was that beautiful ruby red color and tasted divine. The crust was perfect for these pies. When I took a bite, it didn’t crumble all over, but held together impeccably to the last bite. What else could you ask for?
Cranberry Hand Pies
Makes about 30 hand pies
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) salted butter, cut in thin slices, frozen
½ cup ice water
1 pound fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries (1 ½ 12-ounce bags)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon instant tapioca (I used Kraft Minute Tapioca)
1 teaspoon liquid vanilla
1 egg, beaten to blend
Raw or turbinado sugar
1. Make the dough: In a large food processor, pulse flour, sugar and salt to combine. Add butter and pulse until it looks like cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain.
2. Through the feed tube, drizzle in the ½ cup ice water, pulsing until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out mixture and work with hands until dough is a cohesive ball.
3. Divide dough ball in half, flatten each into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling out.
4. Make the filling: In a medium sauce pan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla and tapioca. Stir and let sit until sugar is partially melted and mixture looks juicy, about 15 minutes.
5. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and most cranberries have burst, 5-6 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.
6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stack 2 same-sized baking sheets and line top sheet with parchment.
7. Roll out one disk of dough on medium-heavy floured surface to 1/8 – 1/16-inch thick. Flour top of dough and rolling pin while rolling. Dough is initially sticky.
8. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many disks as possible from dough. Gather scraps into ball and re-roll until all dough is used. Place eight disks on parchment-lined sheet. Brush about ½-inch edge of each disk with beaten egg. Reserve egg in bowl, covered and chilled.
9. Place 1-tablespoon mounds of cranberry filling on each disk. Top with remaining disks, stretching as necessary to cover. Press edges together with tines of a fork ¼-inch to seal. If desired, use biscuit cutter to clean up edges, removing excess dough.
10. Chill pies for 45 minutes. Make pies with remaining dough and filling in the same manner. Place on parchment on additional sheet and chill.
11. With a small knife, make a small ¼-inch cross cut in top of each pie on first sheet. Brush with reserved beaten egg and sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar.
12. Bake, double panned, in 425F oven for 17-18 minutes until golden brown. Filling may bubble out of Xs in crust. That’s good and it looks awesome. Cool to room temperature on wire rack.
13. Bake off second sheet of pies in same manner, with egg and turbinado sugar. Store cooled pies in air-tight container for 2 hours at room temperature or 4 days in fridge. To freeze for up to 3 weeks, wrap each pie in plastic wrap before placing in air-tight container. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving.