ICED BERRY HAND PIES
I won't deny my childhood addiction to cherry pop tarts; I could only get them at my best friend's house. And I confess, I'll still buy them once or twice a year for nostalgia's sake. (All that red food dye, oh my.) But here's a fact: A homemade version in "hand pie form" tastes better and has cleaner ingredients. Though they are a little fiddly, it's completely worth it.
*There are two ways to make the berry filling. See the tips below for a short-cut method.
ICED BERRY HAND PIES
Ingredients: 2 prepared 9-inch pie crusts (store-bought or homemade), 1 1/2 cups mixed berries, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. lemon zest, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp. water, and a pinch of sea salt.
For the icing: 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/3 cup broken freeze-dried berries or strawberries.
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the pie crust to 1/8 inch or so thick. Cut out 5-6 inch circles using a cutter or wide glass. Place pastry rounds on the baking sheets and chill for 10 minutes.
2. Make the berry filling: Mix the berries, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt until well combined.
3. Remove the pastry rounds from the refrigerator. Spoon 3 tbsp. of the berry mixture into the center of each round, leaving a two-inch border. Fold over the rounds to make half-moon shapes. Using a fork, press the edge to seal. Chill for 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 425*F. Brush each hand pie with egg wash (the egg beaten with 1 tsp. of water.) Cut a couple of slits as air vents into the top of each pastry. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and golden. Remove to cool completely.
5. Make the icing by stirring the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add water 1/2 tsp. at a time until you reach an icing consistency. Spread 2 tsp. of icing over each hand pie and immediately sprinkle with the broken freeze-dried berries.
Grandma's (berry filling) Way: You can use store-bought berry preserves for a short-cut version of the berry filling. Stir 1/2 cup of preserves with 1/2 cup of fresh berries and 1 tsp. of lemon zest. Heat gently over low heat for 5 minutes, then chill for 1 hour before using. (FYI, This is a looser, sweeter version of the filling, with a great chance of leakage, but it still tastes great and helps if you want to cut down the cost of buying fresh berries.)
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