Thursday, August 17, 2017

Raspberry Hand Pies

I never realized that raspberry seeds are annoying. Unless I kinda thought about it but the idea of eating sweet, tart and juicy raspberries was too delicious for me to pay much attention to the seeds.

It wasn't until recently that I learned that some people might actually avoid raspberries simply because of these tiny innocent seeds despite the incredible treasure that these berries are.

I, for one, embrace the seeds for the juice around them is sufficiently worth it.

Seeds don't bother me in jam, nor in pie and it certainly doesn't bother me in these off-the-charts Raspberry Hand Pies! (also known as Turnovers)

Things with seeds that DO bother me:
   prickly pears (the worst!)

Let's recap something here... Pastry is easy! Don't glaze over this because you need cold butter and cold fingers and maybe a special pastry cutter tool (you don't need the tool!).

This is doable, 100%. Plus, it's summer so your butter is already in the fridge anyways.
Therefore Step 1 = complete.

Making pastry often scares people because it sometimes starts with rules. Don't think of them as so and you'll be ok. Just follow the steps and believe me, they are straight forward.

Steps to making flaky pastry:

1. Cut cold butter into small cubes.

2. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.

3. Add cold butter cubes and toss in the flour.

4. Using both hands, press the butter between your thumbs and forefinger + middle finger to break it up into small bits about the size of small peas and flatten some pieces out too.

5. Grab a fork and gently toss the mixture while you sprinkle in ice cold water just until the mixture starts to hold together in clumps but doesn't get soggy.

6. Press it all into a ball, turninig it over onto itself one or two times if necessary, and then flatten into a disc.

7. Wrap with plastic and chill at least 2 hours.

Making the raspberry filling couldn't be simpler and you can do it right after making the pastry since it needs time to cool and chill.

Add your fresh or frozen raspberries to a saucepan over medium low heat. Cover the pot and leave for 3-5 minutes until they release their juices and bubble. Stir in sugar and let boil for 10-15 minutes with frequent stirring until it thickens, looks glossy and resembles jam. You should be able to see the bottom of the pan if you scrape along it with a wooden spoon. Stir in lemon juice, bubble for a few more minutes and then pour into a bowl to cool completely.

Once cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If you were to use it like this, the moisture in the berries would create steam in the oven and cause the pastries to puff up excessively leaving you with big empty cavities and juice leakage.

To correct this, you need a very unique ingredient. Ready for this? I'm not sure you can find it locally... but you need FLOUR. Regular all-purpose wheat flour! Crazy. It does the best job at binding the moisture and creating a thick, almost pulpy texture instead of corn starch which is more sensitive to heat and leaves a more slick texture.

Two options for baking:
1. Now
2. Later

If you bake them all off now, then they will keep for 7 days in an airtight container so you can enjoy them all week long for breakfast and snack. To get back that crisp flakiness, pop it in the toaster or toaster oven and then let it cool for a couple of minutes before going at it. As good as fresh! Promise.

If you don't want to bake them all now, then freeze them individually filled and sealed on a tray. Once frozen, gather them into a freezer bag or container and keep them frozen for up to 3 months. To bake them off, put them in a preheated oven straight from frozen and give them an additional 1 or 2 minutes.

Pastry fears no one.
You fear no pastry.

Big Love,

Raspberry Hand Pies
Makes about 20 little pies or turnovers

For the pastry:
1 ½ cups (215g) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (40g) granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (125g) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3-4 tbsp (45-60ml) ice cold water

For the filling:
10 oz (300g) fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3-½ cup (65-100g) granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1 tbsp (15ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp (6g) all-purpose flour

For the topping:
2 tbsp (30ml) whole milk or light cream
1 tbsp (12g) coarse sanding sugar

To make the pastry, whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold pieces of butter and toss in flour mixture to coat. Use your fingertips to rub fat into flour until it resembles a coarse, crumbly mixture. There should be pieces of butter that are the size of oat flakes and some larger pieces the size of peas. Slowly drizzle cold water over flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time, while gently tossing with a fork until the flour is moistened and it holds together in clumps. You may not need all of the water. The dough will hold together when squeezed or pressed when it is ready, but it should not form a ball. Turn dough out onto a clean surface and bring it together with your hands, pressing in loose bits. You should be able to see solid bits of fat in the dough. Press it into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To make the filling, place raspberries in a small 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes until they release their juices and look soupy. Stir in sugar, bring the mixture to a low boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes longer, uncovered and stirring frequently. Stir in lemon juice, cover and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes longer. Set aside to cool completely and then refrigerate for about 1 hour, until completely set. This filling can be made a day or two in advance.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Trim edges to make straight sides. Slice it into 3-inch squares or 3x2.5-inch rectangles. Carefully transfer these shapes to your prepared baking sheets. Gather the scraps of both halves and re-roll to create more squares or rectangles.

Stir 2 teaspoons of flour into the cooled raspberry filling. Spoon a teaspoon of this mixture onto the center of half of the dough shapes so that it is slightly heaped. Make sure not to over-fill them and leave about ¼-inch border. Fold the dough over to cover the filling and press gently around the edges to seal slightly. Use the tines of a fork to press the two layers of dough together and seal completely. Place the baking sheets in the fridge for 15 minutes until the pastry is firm.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Lightly brush the tops of the pastries with milk or cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Or, for a more golden crust, brush with beaten egg. Use a sharp knife to cut 2 or 3 slits in the top to let steam escape and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and then store in an airtight container or freeze for later.
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