Ok so I just checked, and I have 21 pie recipes on this blog. TWENTY ONE. There's like, 150 something recipes total, 21 of which are pies. Whoopsies. And it's probably only going to get worse sorry - I promise not to double up on you, but there's just something that really gets me going about spending an afternoon pottering round in the kitchen rolling out dough, or working out a lattice, or cutting out shapes. Pie is the best way (in my opinion) to quickly turn an in season fruit into a beautiful dessert, while still maintaining the integrity of the fruit itself - adding starch and sugar, and wrapping it up in a flaky pie crust is only going to make something more delicious. You're not tucking it into a cake or hiding it in a muffin - pie really lets you hero what you are working with. Plus I will never get sick of pretty intricate lattices. So as long as you guys are ok with it, there's going to be more pie. Actually, even if you're not ok with it, it's going to be here anyway.
I can't help myself when peaches are in season, and so when I found myself, yet again, with a good few kilos of super ripe peaches, some pie dough in the freezer, and a brand spanking new thyme plant / balcony garden, I really didn't have a choice but to make pie. I love a regular sized pie, but I love pie dough more, so hand pies are one of my favourite ways to really exploit the filling to crust ratio. The addition of thyme was a great move on my part - the thyme is super delicate, and gives the filling a little something extra.
I kept these ones super simple - no pastry stamps in sight, just two circles of dough, filled, and pressed together. Crazy easy, and can be done well ahead of time - they actually freeze super well so if you wanted to make a bunch, you could freeze them then bake on demand.
A few wee tips:
I peeled my peaches by boiling a large pot of water, and preparing an ice bath. I then scored a cross in the bottom of each peach, placed them in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transferred immediately to the ice bath. The skins should slide right off. If you want to keep the skins on, that works too!
I have also made these with frozen peaches - I just thawed them and then chopped them up and it worked just fine!
If you can, make your pie dough overnight. I actually took this dough from the freezer and thawed it overnight before using.
I like to layer up the circles as I cut them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper - to make a second layer, make sure you place another piece of baking paper between the circles.
Work with one hand pie at a time - so fill it and seal it up, and then move onto the next one rather than making a production line. That way you reduce your chances of the juice going everywhere.
If your peaches are super ripe or crazy juicy you may need to add a little more starch - add an extra tablespoon or so and see how you go if it is looking kinda soupy.
I have a little tip to help make the dough easier to work with - it is optional but especially helpful for wee pies like this where you want the dough to be flaky but still really easy to work with. I make the dough, rest it in the fridge wrapped for about an hour, then remove it and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. I then give it a letter fold (as you would a letter), roll out to a rectangle, letter fold again, then roll out once more and shape into a rectangle. I then re-wrap it, and leave it to rest overnight. This makes the dough more homogenous without compromising the flaky texture that you want in the pie dough, and it makes it a total dream to work with, and shaping it into a rectangle gives you a head start when you go to roll out your dough for assembling the pies.
Peach and Thyme Hand Pies
- Makes 11-12 hand pies -
375g all-purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
60g Apple cider vinegar
375g peeled and pitted peaches, diced (see notes for peeling tips or for using frozen fruit)
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
60g raw sugar
25g Tapioca Starch
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Raw sugar, for sprinkling
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into a rectangle, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. (See notes about rolling out during the resting period)
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into two. Wrap up one piece and place in the fridge while you are not working with it. Roll into a rough rectangle that is approximately 1/8" (3mm) in thickness. Using a round cookie cutter (mine was 3 3/4" in diameter), cut circles of dough, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Press scraps together, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 15-20 mins, before rolling out again and cutting more circles. Store cut-out circles in the fridge while you are waiting for the scrap dough to chill. You want to aim for approximately 24 circles.
In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, thyme leaves, vanilla bean paste and salt. Whisk the sugar and tapioca starch together in a small bowl then add to the filling mixture, and stir well to combine.
Combine the egg and water together in a small bowl. Take one circle of dough, and place a heaped Tbsp of the filling in the centre. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash around the outside edge of the dough, and top with a second circle of dough, ensuring that the air is pressed out. Lightly seal with your fingers, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and use a fork to crimp around the edges to ensure a tight seal.
Repeat with the remaining dough circles and filling until you have 12 hand pies. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for 30-40 minutes, or until the dough becomes very firm. If you are planning on freezing them for a longer period of time, freeze solid then transfer to an airtight plastic bag or container. You can bake them directly from frozen.
While the pies are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425°f / 220°c. Remove the pies from the freezer. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each pie, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional raw sugar. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the pies are deeply golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers wrapped in foil at room temperature. Reheat in the oven to help keep the pastry crispy.