Peach Hand Pies

Peach Hand Pies

I am beginning to think I will never catch up on these posts! The problem was that I made a bunch of recipes before going away in September and had planned on having them come up “delayed” while I was away but as things seem to go, I got busy before leaving and never had time to prepare the posts. So instead of being on top of things and posting the delicious spicy fall flavours, I am putting together a post from when the peaches were perfect in BC. With the Okanagan getting the summer heat for peaches, we get excellent ones at the end of August and into September. Oh and I do realize that I could just not post everything that I bake BUT these were a lot of work and I feel like I need to put it out there that I tried something with pie crust!

The pastry wasn’t all that straighforward either. Not only did I have to make the pastry (Pâte Brisée), but I also had to roll it (obviously) and cut it into shapes to use for hand pies. And that all involved at least three trips to the fridge for the dough! Also, I had to poach the peaches. So what I am suggesting is that this recipe is a bit more work than say chocolate chip cookies… In saying that, they are pretty tasty and I was happy with the final product, even if it wasn’t all that pretty! I just want to remind you though, I have never made my own pie crust so I shouldn’t have expected perfection!

Poached Peaches

The recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts cookbook (originally for Apricot Hand Pies)

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • peel from 1 lemon, in long strips without the pith (I suggest using a vegetable peeler or very sharp knife for this)
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, about 1/2 inch long, peeled
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked, or 4 whole cloves, or 1 cinnamon stick (this is what I had)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
  • 6 peaches, halved and peeled (see below note)
Note: the best way to peel peaches is to first boil a pot of water. Put the peaches in the boiling water for 1 minute and immediately take them out and put them into a bowl of ice cold water. Allow to sit for about a minute to cool. The skin will then easily slide right off of the peaches. I basically just rub the side and it will tear somewhere and then use that to peel off all of the skin.

To peel easily: First boil the peaches for about 1 min.

Then dump the hot peaches into a bowl of ice water - you can see that the skin will start to peel on its own even!

  1. Bring the water, sugar, lemon peel, ginger, cardamom/clove/cinnamon, and vanilla bean seeds to a boil in a saucepan. Cook until sugar dissolves and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add peaches to pan. Cover peaches with parchment paper and add some weight to hold it down (I used a lid for a smaller pot). Simmer until peaches start to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Store in the fridge in the poaching liquid until you are ready to use.

Prepare your poaching liquid

Poach the peaches! Cover them with parchment and hold it down... get creative!

Pastry

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. One of the disks ready for rolling!

    Place flour, salt and sugar in bowl and whisk together.

  2. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender quickly (you can do this in a food processor too) until the mixture has a coarse crumb. Drizzle 1/4 cup of water over the mixture and work with the blender (or in the food processor). The dough should just start to hold together. If it doesn’t add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide dough in half and place on two sheets of plastic wrap. Gather the plastic wrap around the dough loosely and press into a disk (may need a rolling pin). Refridgerate until firm – 1 hour to 1 day.

Assembly of Hand Pies

  1. Rolled and Cut

    On a floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Now you can do it one of two ways, depending on how you want your hand pies: either cut out 3-inch rounds or cut out 4-inch rounds. If you do the 3 inch ones, you will place 1/4 of a peach (that is half of a half) between two rounds whereas if you do the bigger round, you can place it on one side of the round of dough and wrap the other side over the top. Don’t do this yet, just prepare the rounds. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate or freeze until firm (about 30 minutes).

  2. Prebaked: note the two different styles and the slits in the tops.

    Remove the peaches from the liquid and using paper towels, blot the peaches and then cut the halves in half. Place 1/4 in the center or on the side of a round (see previous step) and cover with the other half or the other side of the dough. Press edges together to seal. I found that the peach liquid was enough to hold this but if you need to, you can brush with water. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the tops of the pies. Brush with water or milk and sprinkle with sugar (I used turbinado). Bake for 15 min and then reduce heat to 350°F. Continue baking until the pastry is golden brown, about 15-20 min more. Transfer pies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Finished and cooling... nicely browned

Here's one I took a bite out of! The pastry wasn't perfect but it was somewhat flaky!

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