A month or so ago, I secretly decided I needed to really perfect my pie crust. I always made a good all butter pie crust, but there’s a difference between good and perfection, and we were looking for perfection. I vowed to make more pies this summer, and since I’ve made at least two different kinds in the past month, I’ve already topped last year I think. Anyway, I also discovered The Key… The Secret… The Thing You Need To Know to make the perfect all butter pie crust. And it makes assembling the crust a dream.
We went peach picking at a local farm about a week or so ago, and while most of the 22ish pounds of peaches we picked are sitting in my freezer, and I canned a few, I did set some aside to make these peach hand pies, because they are darling. I love my food in hand held sizes. I’m that person that has to have a sandwich cut in half, I go gaga over mini just about anything, and I still haven’t mastered decorative pie edges. So baking a hand pie was perfect.
You start by making the pie crust using frozen butter. The key to good pie crust is to use cold ingredients, but the *secret* to a perfect pie crust is frozen butter. Grate the frozen butter into your dry ingredients, mix by hand when you add the cold water, then wrap and refrigerate. It takes less than 10 minutes of work and only one mixing bowl! The food processor stays in the pantry and the pastry cutter stays in the drawer. The resulting crust is a dream to work with and bakes up perfectly flaky.
I used a serrated peeler to peel the peaches because I’m too lazy to boil water to peel that way, and then mixed up the filling and set it aside. Roll, cut, fill, bake and enjoy! Because they’re so perfectly portable and conveniently individually portioned, they’d be a great dessert for picnics. We enjoyed them plain or with a scoop of really really good vanilla ice cream.
- ½ lb (2 sticks/16 tbsp) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 c all purpose flour + more for dusting
- 1½ tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 cups ice cold water
- 1 - 1¼ lb peaches (about 2-3 large)
- 1 tbsp unpacked brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Egg whisked with 1 tbsp water
- Turbinado sugar (optional)
- Combine the dry ingredients for the crust in a large mixing bowl.
- Coarse grate the frozen butter and stir into the dry ingredients.
- Pour ¾ cup of the ice cold water into the mixing bowl and stir. Add water little by little, stirring after each addition until a shaggy dough forms. Work quickly to make sure the butter doesn't melt.
- Once a shaggy dough has formed, take your hands and shape the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours or up to a week.
- When you are ready to bake the pies, preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Peel and dice your peaches and place into a mixing bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Take your pie disc out of the refrigerator. Divide it in two, rewrap one half and place that half back into the fridge. Place the other half onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to about ¼" thick. Cut into rounds or use a pizza cutter to slice into squares for triangle pies. I used a cereal bowl that's 5" across.
- Place about two tablespoons of the peach filling in the center of each circle, fold in half, and crimp or tuck the edges to seal. The filling will have released some juice, don't scoop the juice into the pies, just the fruit. Arrange the pies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Repeat the process with the other half of the dough. If you'd like to try and re-roll your scraps, you may, once, but those pies won't be as pretty. I baked the scraps on the side sprinkled with a little turbinado sugar and cinnamon. 😉
- Brush the pies with egg wash and top with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar.
- Bake the pies for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans once, until the pies are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to set on the pan 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature