Happy Blueberry Pie Day! You may have memories of finding small, individually wrapped pies tucked into your school lunch box. And while everyone has his or her favorite pie, surely blueberry is at or near the top of most lists. Be sure to have plenty of napkins ready, as part of the appeal is the delicious fruit juice that runs down your hands.
Blueberry Hand Pies
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390 g) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) plus 2 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter
2 Tbs. chilled vegetable shortening
About 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) ice water
For the filling:
2 cups (8 oz./250 g) blueberries
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) plus 1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch
To make the crust, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter and shortening into chunks and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas.
Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the dough forms moist clumps. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a little more ice water.
Form the dough into a disk (some flat flakes of butter should be visible), wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) of the blueberries, the 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar and lemon juice over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the berries begin to give off their juices. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the berries have burst, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 Tbs. water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the blueberry mixture and cook until the juices come to a boil and thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) berries. Place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water and let the mixture cool, stirring frequently.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Have ready an ungreased rimmed baking sheet.
Place the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. (If the dough is chilled hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes until it begins to soften before rolling it out.) Roll it out into a rectangle about 20 by 13 inches (50 cm by 33 cm) and 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Using a 6-inch (15-cm) saucer as a template, use a paring knife to cut out 6 rounds. Place about 3 Tbs. of the blueberry filling on one-half of a round, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border uncovered. Fold the dough over so the edges meet, then crimp them with a fork. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. Refrigerate the pies for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, beat the egg with 1 tsp. water to make an egg wash. Lightly brush the pies with the egg wash, cut an X in the top of each pie, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar. Bake the pies until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the pies cool on the pan on a wire rack, then serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 hand pies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty, by Rick Rodgers