Strawberry-Rhubarb Hand Pies

Another way to combine the delicious strawberry-rhubarb-orange combo, but this time with a little cream cheese mixture to boot!  These are the perfect size for snacking or sending in a lunch box.  You can also pop them in the freezer and take them out, one at a time, as you're ready.  In the directions, I have you making a 6-inch hand pie but feel free to alter the size.  I chose 6-inch because it gives the perfect ratio of filling to crust.

I make puff pastry danish, usually in the winter with homemade jam, and decided to try the cream cheese filling I use in those in the hand pies.  Success!  It adds the perfect creaminess to the sweet-slightly tart fruit filling and makes an amazing mini pie.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Hand Pies
makes 12-14 Hand Pies

Pie Crust:
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup ice water

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 c. sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature 
1/4 t. salt

Fruit Filling:
2 cups diced rhubarb
1/3 - 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped and pod saved
2 cups diced strawberries
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
pinch salt

Granulated coarse sugar for sprinkling on top of the hand pies, optional

To make the crust:
Dice the butter and vegetable shortening and return to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.  Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.  Add the butter and shortening.  Pulse 8-12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.  With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.  Dump out on a floured surface and roll into a ball.  Divide dough into 2 and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and let dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

cream cheese filling

To make the cream cheese filling:
In a large bowl, either by hand with a fork, or with a hand mixer on low speed, mix together the cream cheese and sugar until just blended.  Be careful not to over-work the mixture.  Add the egg yolks and salt and again, over low, carefully blend until just mixed {some lumps will remain}.  If you over-mix it will become too runny and won't hold in the pies.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

fruit filling

To make the fruit filling:
In a pot over medium heat, cook the rhubarb, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and vanilla beans and pod for 3-5 minutes, or until the rhubarb just begins to break down.  Add the strawberries, stirring occasionally, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, until the rhubarb is softened.  Taste and add additional sugar if too tangy, 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and stir in the orange zest and flour.

Allow to cool to room temperature.

To put the pies together:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Prepare 2 baking sheets with either parchment paper or sil-pat mats.  Set aside.

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured surface.  Roll out to approx. 1/8" thickness.  

Using a cutter, bowl, or anything round that is approx. 6" in diameter, cut out circles.  Re-roll your scraps {adding flour to prevent sticking as needed}.

To each circle, add 1 Tablespoon cream cheese filling and 1 heaping Tablespoon fruit filling to one side of the dough.  Carefully fold the opposite side over the filling and, with a fork, crimp the edges.  *If the edges are too floury and won't stick, use either the egg white {leftover from the cream cheese filling} or a bit of water to wet the edges.

Carefully prick the top crust of each hand pie {for venting} and move the pie to the prepare baking sheet.  Lightly brush the top of the pie with either the egg white or water, and sprinkle it with coarse sugar, if using.

When all pies are completed, bake for 15 minutes, or until pies are golden brown on top.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze, individually, in a sealed container or bag for up to 30 days.


Our Neck of the Woods said...

How yummy! I like that you can freeze them that way if you get a craving for one, you don't have to make a whole new batch.

tom | tall clover farm said...

I just picked some raspberries, which I'm sure will work well with this fine recipe. Thanks for making pies portable!