Baking on Friday, Wednesday Edition: Cranberry Hand Pies

The past few days have been unproductive sewing-wise. I needed to give my wrist a break, and I'm happy to say that it is feeling better today. This morning I headed down to get my monthly pedicure, which is two weeks overdue at this point. My original appointment was scheduled for the same day Mike came home from the hospital, and so I postponed it until today. Since it was right smack in the middle of the day, it seemed like a good day to try this recipe for Cranberry Hand Pies from Bon Appetit.

That's the image from the Bon Appetit website. Pretty, huh? This is the time of year that I like to experiment with different recipes to give as food gifts during the holiday season. In particular, there is a man who was a wonderful mentor to me some years back, and I always like to make baked goods for him and his family at Christmas. They are always very appreciative, but I appreciate the excuse to visit with him and check in once per year.

So anyway, all of that to say that with my pedicure right in the middle of the day, I started this morning by making the filling and the dough for the crust. The filling needed to cool completely and the dough needed to chill for two hours before I could assemble the little pies.

I just love cranberries at Christmas. Aren't they pretty and festive?

To make the filling, you need 4 cups of cranberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of instant tapioca, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, and the seeds and pod of half a vanilla bean.

Mix that all together and let it sit for ten minutes to extract juices. I didn't get much juice with mine.

Bring it to a simmer and cook it for about five minutes until it thickens, then let it cool completely. The good thing about this is that you can make it five days ahead.

While that was cooking I made the dough for the pies. This is where I had a little trouble because there is so much dough that it was overflowing the bowl of my food processor. It takes 3 2/3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Yeah, I had a little trouble getting the butter distributed evenly through the dough.

You pulse it until there are no large pieces of butter showing and then add 1/2 cup of ice water through the feed tube until the dough comes together. Mine never really did come together. It was a little dry, and I really just had more dough than my food processor could handle. 

Nevertheless, I persevered, but before I left home I made sure I had an emergency back-up supply of Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Dough.

Yeah, never let it be said that I could be defeated by pie dough when I have my secret weapon on hand.

[Pause here for the pedicure. Ahhhhhhhhh.]

Okay. With that out of the way, I was ready to assemble and bake my little hand pies. I was supposed to divide the dough in half and refrigerate it in two disks. Then, working with one disk at a time, I was suppose to roll it out and use a cookie cutter to cut out 16 circles from each disk. Try as I might, I could only get ten from my first disk. Once I had my circles cut out, I spread half of them (5 total) out on a parchment lined baking sheet, brushed the edges with egg wash, and then mounded a heaping tablespoon of filling on top. 

Then, I used the remaining 5 circles to top them. Then I did the same thing with the second disk of dough. I rolled out the scraps and when all was said and done, I had 15 little hand pies...one short of what the recipe promised. I used a 3-inch biscuit cutter on mine. I think in the future, I might go down to a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. The recipe was silent on that point.

Those had to chill for another 45 minutes after they were assembled. Then I scored the centers, brushed them with egg wash, sprinkled them with raw sugar, baked them for 20 minutes and Voila! Cranberry hand pies!

Yes, I ate one right away. It was important. I know you understand why. The dough was nice and flaky despite the problems I had with it. I still think in the future, I could save myself a lot of work by just using Pillsbury right from the get-go, but I always like to try the recipe dough first. I'm not sure Pillsbury would be as flaky as the dough made fresh. Also, when I look at the image at the top of this post...the one that came with the recipe...I think they used quite a bit more raw sugar on theirs which made them prettier.

So, all in all, I would say this recipe was a success. I like it because the dough and the filling can be made days ahead and then, for purposes of gift-giving, it's easy enough to assemble and bake them the day you plan to give them. It's always nice to bake something fresh on the very day you give it away. When I do this again, I think I might halve the recipe, or else make the dough in two batches.Want to try this yourself? You can find the recipe right here.

I have a couple of other recipes I want to try this week. I'm going to make some cranberry pepper jelly and also some cranberry chutney which will be canned in half-pint jars. 

So that was today's fun. No sewing today or yesterday. Yesterday I went to the grocery store and bought the place out. Oh yes, and I went swimming too. My knee is feeling great. I've actually had some pain-free days with it. It was a little stiff this morning. It's hard to say whether it was swimming that caused it or if it was the temperatures dipping into the 20's. Could be either one. But I'm here to say that in spite of myself and all the whining I did about going to physical therapy, it seems to be working. It sure beats the heck out of surgery.

So that's it from me today. My giveaway posting for the Blog Hop Party and Giveaway goes live at midnight. To see the giveaway page, you can access it by clicking this button later on Thursday afternoon.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

I hope you had a wonderful Wednesday! Any holiday baking on your agenda?

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Crickets Corner said...

You had me at the word cranberry. Combine that with hand pie and I'm in! Thanks for the link!

Brown Family said...

THose cranberry hand pies look wonderful.Being on a diet during the holidays so so bad! I see so many things I wan to try and have very little will power!

otterdaughter said...

My secret weapon is Krusteze pie crust mix. :)

Lyndsey said...

Those pies look yummy. I love cranberries and I like the sound of cranberry chutney. Can't wait to see how that turns out.

Dasha said...

I have never seen "real" cranberries - only craisins. Do you think I could make that pie with blueberries Barbara? Theya re readily available here.

Dana Gaffney said...

I think yours are prettier, theirs have popped and look a little messy.

SoozeM said...

OMG how good do they look!! Can't believe you only sampled one, I mean what if there were problems with some of the others? I think it is your duty to try at least a bite out of every one! And then of course no one else will want a pie with a bite out of it so I guess they are all yours!

Ann Bassett said...

All I have to say is "YUM!" Great recipe.

quiltzyx said...

Those do look delicious! I mean, really, how can you go wrong with cranberries?!?
Glad to hear that your wrist & knee are doing better - huzzah!

works4me said...

Sounds and looks mmmm good. I plan to make muffins that have pretty much the identical ingredients in them. May have to keep some cranberries and an orange aside for some hand pies.
Thanks for sharing.

Tami C said...

I love reading your posts! I can just see you pausing for your pedicure and I know how much better it feels afterwards. Your Cranberry hand pies look really yummy! So glad your wrist and knee are feeling better.

Kate said...

They look yummy!

Glad your wrist is feeling better.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Oh my, pie is at the top of my Favorite Dessert list and cranberries delight taste buds so this post feels good on a few levels.