Oregon Berry Hand Pies

by Rebekahcooked up on March 2, 2015

I’ve often spoke on this blog about how I excited I am for fruits other than citrus. I’m ready. I am a pie person, for goodness sake! Spring can’t get here soon enough. I realize there are some out-of-season things at the store that are shipped from literally other countries, and that just doesn’t feel right. So I wait.

Well, I was, but I’m not anymore. Because I discovered something. You can get local, Willamette Valley berries in the freezer aisle at the store! And it turns out that freezing is a pretty good way to lock in both nutrients and flavors. I purchased some at New Seasons – they even had multiple brand options of local Oregon berries. Ridiculous. This is what I get for being always distracted by ice cream in the freezer aisle.

I picked up a couple of bags immediately and headed home to make pie – or rather, a form of pie – forthwith.

Why hand pies this time? Well, these are a little easier for a family of two to handle than a full pie. And also, they make more sense when you want to add some hot pink glaze.

Berry Hand Pies | PDXfoodlove

Both of these reasons are completely research based.

Berry Hand Pies | PDXfoodlove

Speaking of research. I’m in the middle of my master gardener class at Oregon State’s Extension office, and we learned something cool on the first day: Oregon’s natural soil is slightly acidic. It’s perfect for big ol’ evergreens and, you guessed it, BERRIES.

Berry Hand Pies | PDXfoodlove

I’m so glad I had the chance to pick up some up early – I am dreaming of my first u-pick of the season, and in the meantime, it was so nice to have a dessert based on one of my favorite local treats.

Pie crust:

6 oz. (1 cup) AP flour
3 oz. (6 Tbsp.) butter, chilled
1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) shortening, chilled
Heavy pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
1.5 cups berries, fresh or thawed, previously frozen
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

You will also need:
1 egg
1 Tbsp. water

First make the batch of pie crust:

Add the flour, butter and shortening to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mealy. Add 2 Tbsp. water and pulse a couple more times, adding water in increments of a teaspoon or so until the dough stays together when pinched. Dump the bowl out onto a workspace and shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Next, make the filling – best to do it right after putting the pie crust in the fridge, so it has time to cool down.

Stir berries, sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a potato masher or similar tool to smash the berries together and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for 5 minutes, then kill the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 425. When the pie crust has properly chilled, roll it out to about a 1/8 inch thickness and cut into four long rectangles, each about 4 inches by 12 inches. You will be folding these long strips in half, so make note of the approximate midline of the first pastry, then spoon about 2 Tbsp. of the berry filling into the center of one side of long rectangle. Fold the other half of the pastry closed to make a final size of about 4 inches by 6 inches. Press with your fingers to seal around the edges, then use a fork to seal it very tightly. Repeat for the other pastries.

Use a fork to mix up the egg and water, then brush the pastries liberally with the egg wash and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool before eating.

If you like, you can make a glaze. Smoosh more berries until they release about two tablespoons of juice. Strain the juice using a cocktail strainer, then use a fork to stir in 3-4 Tbsp. powdered sugar until smooth. The glaze should be thick enough to not be runny, but thin enough to drizzle. You can drizzle with a spoon, but I prefer to put the glaze in a zip top back, snip off a tiny piece of a corner and use it as a low-fi pastry bag.

Disclaimer!!! This post is a partnership with the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own.

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