Wild Blackberry Hand Pies
Simple. Rustic. Plant-based. That’s the sort of food I excel at and enjoy making. I do like food that looks and, more importantly, tastes great, but my favorite recipes, the ones we return to again and again, are tasty but easy to make with ingredients we grow, forage, or at least buy in bulk and keep on hand. These blackberry hand pies are just that.
Scott calls them homemade pot tarts. I like to call them hand pies. It has a more farmhouse ring to it, don’t you think? Plus, they’re easier to make beautiful than a larger pie. Hate making pie crust? Don’t worry; these tiny crusts are cake to make! Plus, you can make them fun shapes for different holidays. Let’s be honest, though; I don’t have these awesome rabbit cookie cutters because of Easter. I just have fantastic rabbit cookie cutters.
Here’s what you’ll need to create blackberry hand pies:
- 2 Cups Flour
Use what you’ve got, whether it’s all-purpose, whole wheat, or bread flour. Lately, we’ve been buying King Arthur Artisan Flour in 50lb bags, and I enjoy it in all of our baked goods!
- 3/4 cup cold solid fat
I use coconut oil or vegan butter. Olive oil or other liquid vegetable oils won’t create the same flaky crust.
- 4-8 Tbsps cold water
- 3/4 tsp salt
There are a couple of things you can do to make filling for these little pies. The simple way is to use a good, thick blackberry jam. Blackberries are one of the easiest wild foods to forage on our property. We make tons of this simple blackberry jam each summer and make these pies with it as a treat throughout the winter. It’s worth all the scratches we get picking and time spent over the hot canner.
Alternatively, you can use fresh berries. I recommend mashing them up a bit with a potato masher like you would to make jam and draining off a bit of the juice. Then toss them with sugar to taste and one or two tablespoons of flour. The flour will help the juices thicken as your pies bake so that it doesn’t all run out.
You can also substitute other jams or fresh fruit. Just remember that jelly and fruits that are juicy may run out more and burn onto your baking sheet.
Making the Dough
First, whisk together your flour and salt. Then add your solid fat and cut it in with a fork or pastry cutter (dough blender). Your mixture should form little crumbs. Then stir in one teaspoon of water at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball. Avoid working the dough with your hands as much as possible as this warms it up and will make the dough more difficult to work with.
Roll out your dough between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick on a well-floured surface using a floured rolling pin. If you’re having trouble getting your dough to roll out well, chill it in a freezer for about 10 minutes before trying again.
Forming Hand Pies
You can make these little pies into whatever shape you desire. For this batch, I used rabbit and tulip cookie cutters to create some fun, seasonal shaped pies. I also used a canning jar ring to create the simple round hand pies. Remember, if you’re using multiple shapes, you need to make pairs for the top and bottom of your pie.
Once you have your shapes, begin placing a spoonful of jam onto the bottom of your pie. Avoid over-filling them; you don’t want your pies to crack or burst. Then place the top on and crimp the edges together using a fork. Then use your fork to punch holes in the center of each pie so they don’t burst.
Baking Hand Pies
Place your completed pies on a cookie sheet and bake at about 425°F for 18 to 20 minutes. Typically, in the winter, I use our wood cookstove.
If you’re also working with a wood cookstove, you want to get your stove nice and hot and move the rack towards the top of the oven so that they brown nicely. I rotate ours after about 10 minutes so that one side of the cookie sheet doesn’t stay against the firebox the entire baking time.
Let these cool a bit before you eat them, especially if you’re giving them to young kids! The filling is boiling hot long after the pie crust feels cool enough to hold in your hand. I burn my tongue almost every time because I can’t resist these little guys.