(you’re my) jam hand pies.
Don’t tell my food writing professor, but I’m hanging out here instead of working on my assignment that’s due tomorrow. Shhhh.
Although, I’m procrastinating on writing a paper by writing a blog post, so I’m still writing something about food! Maybe she won’t be too mad.
Anyhow, Valentine’s day is almost here! Let the eye-rolling commence.
Don’t get me wrong, I like February 14th well enough. I like getting flowers, and any holiday where eating chocolate is not only acceptable, but encouraged? Delightful.
Valentine’s Day seems to make the internet go a little berserk. Red velvet ALL the things! Bake 3,298 conversation hearts into a cake! All foods, savory and sweet better be heart-shaped, or else! It’s a little too saccharine for me, honestly.
I tend to think of myself as a rational and sane person, which is why I don’t go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. The food is outrageously expensive, and there’s usually a harpist playing the kind of music I imagine angels listen to while they take a bubble bath or something. I’d much rather cook a nice meal at home and relax with my favorite husband. Harpists need not apply.
This year, I thought I’d keep it simple. I made some jam hand pies. Easy to assemble, these portable little sweets can be made and frozen ahead of time. When the big day rolls around, all you need to do is pull them from the freezer, egg wash them, sprinkle a little sugar on top, and bake. That way, I can concentrate on making an amazing, romantic dinner, knowing full well that dessert is in the bag. I mean, who doesn’t like pie?
I used my favorite all-butter crust, and filled each mini pie with a few different types of homemade jam I had languishing in the back of the fridge. You can fill yours with any jam your heart desires! Or Nutella. That would also be more than acceptable.
The adorable exterior gives way to a flaky, rich buttery crust that’s a perfect foil to the sweet jam inside. Served with an icy glass of milk, these hand pies are a wonderful, fuss-free end to a lovely homemade meal. If you’re in a warmer part of the country, pack up a picnic and take this little cuties along.
The little heart-shaped cutout? A charming touch that’s a nod to Valentine’s Day, without being over the top. I used a tiny cookie cutter, but you could freehand one with a paring knife if you’re careful. The cut out serves the dual purpose of both being adorable and providing an escape route for steam. Win win!
So this Valentine’s Day, make a few hand pies for someone who’s your jam!
Jam Hand Pies
Yield: 12 three-inch round hand pies
If you don't have a food processor, you can make this pie dough easily by hand, using either a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
The hand pies can be assembled and frozen ahead of time! Just pop them in the freezer on a baking sheet for an hour, or until hardened. Then, slip them into a freezer-safe zip top bag, and freeze. The hand pies will last in the freezer for up to three months. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if baking from frozen.
For the All-Butter Crust
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the Hand Pies
all butter crust, above
jam, jelly, or pie filling of your choosing (a thicker jam is better for this recipe!)
egg wash (1 egg, beaten with a splash of cream or milk)
granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top
For the All-Butter Crust
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a small plastic zip-top bag and place in the freezer for at least one hour before making pie dough.
Cut the butter into small cubes and place in a zip-top bag. Place the butter in the freezer for at least one hour before making dough.
Add dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
Add butter and pulse 4 to 6 times times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. The butter should be the size of small peas.
Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together.
Pinch some of the crumbly dough with your fingers, and if it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add more water, a teaspoon at a time, and pulse again. Take care to not add too much water, as this will make the crust tough.
Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Shape the dough into two equal-sized disks. Work the dough just enough to form the disks, taking care not overknead.
Bits of butter should be visible in the dough. Sprinkle a small amount flour around and on top of the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. The dough can be stored in the freezer for up to three months, if stored in a freezer safe zip top bag.
Assembling the Hand Pies
Remove disk of dough from the refrigerator. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes minutes in order to soften enough to make rolling out a bit easier.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, make sure it isn’t sticking to the surface below. Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto and underneath dough to keep the dough from sticking.
Using a three-inch round cookie cutter (or a glass with a wide rim), cut out circles from the dough. You may need to re-roll the dough in order to obtain 12 circles. If re-rolling, work the dough gently to avoid a tough end product.
Place approximately one tablespoon of the jam of your choice in the center of 6 of the cut out circles. Spread out slightly, but leave at least a ¼" border along the edges.
If desired, use a small (1 inch) heart-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out a heart on the remaining 6 of the circles. Discard the cut out heart, leaving a heart-shaped empty space on 6 pieces of the dough.
Using the egg wash, lightly brush the ¼" border are on the jam-topped circle. Top with the other round of dough with the cut out heart. Lightly press the edges to seal. Using the tines of a fork, work around the outside of the assembled hand pie to crimp the edges and seal well. Repeat with the remaining circles.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and gently transfer the assembled hand pies onto the prepared baking sheet.
Transfer the baking sheet with the hand pies on it to the freezer and allow to cool for 15-30 minutes.
Baking the Hand Pies
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.
Remove the baking sheet with the hand pies on it from the freezer and place on the counter.
Brush the entire surface of each hand pie with egg wash, taking care to avoid the cut out heart area where the jam is visible.
Sprinkle the tops of the hand pies with granulated sugar.
Bake the hand pies at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. The hand pies are done when the crust is golden brown.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the hand pies to cool to room temperature.
The hand pies will keep, stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.
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