Strawberries are in season and the ones I’ve had this year taste better than ever. I’ve been eating them on my cereal and churning them into ice cream, as well as making classics like strawberry shortcake. Strawberries are often incorporated into dishes where they don’t have to be cooked, since the juicy berries give off a lot of liquid and tend to lose their shape and jewel-like color when baked, but even though their look changes, strawberries become even deeper in flavor when cooked, so you shouldn’t hesitate to try baking with them this summer.
These Strawberry Hand Pies have a very simple filling that uses up lots of fresh strawberries. Unlike my Fresh Strawberry Pie, this filling is cooked before the pies are assembled. The cooked berries are tender and very flavorful, surrounded by a lightly sweetened sauce that is made with juice from the berries. Combined with the buttery pastry, this is one pie that it is hard to pass up! As an added bonus, they’re also very easy to make and take far less time than most full-sized pies, as both the assembly time and baking time are much shorter. These are a huge hit at summer gatherings at my house, where everyone can simply grab a pie off of a plate and eat them out of hand while enjoying a warm summer evening.
You may have a little bit of the strawberry filling mixture left over after making your hand pies. I make a little extra because I would rather have a spoonful or two more than I need than to run out. You could use it up by making slightly smaller pies and squeezing an extra one out of the dough if you are set on using it in a pie. If not, it can be spooned over ice cream, waffles or pancakes to make a perfectly summery topping. It can also be eaten with a spoon.
The pies are at their very best on the day that they are baked, though the pastry should remain fairly crisp for a day or two after baking. The pies can be warmed up in the oven if you want to recreate that fresh-from-the-oven feeling. Since this recipe makes a fairly small batch, it is worth noting that it can be doubled or tripled if you want to make enough to serve a crowd. If you are going to make more than that, you’ll probably have to increase the cornstarch slightly just to ensure that you can soak up all that extra strawberry juice!
Strawberry Hand Pies
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
dough for one 9-inch pie crust
cream or milk, for topping
coarse sugar, for topping
In a medium bowl, toss together strawberries, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Transfer mixture to a large skillet and cook, over medium heat, until strawberries are tender and the strawberry juice/sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a large square (10×10-inches) or a rectangle (5×20-inches). Divide dough into five even (5×5-inch) squares. Transfer squares of pastry onto the prepared baking sheet.
Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of strawberries onto half of each square of pastry, then fold the extra pastry up and over the filling. Pinch the edges together firmly and crimp with a fork.
Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut 2-3 vents in the top of each pie. Brush pies with milk/cream and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until pies are golden brown and strawberry juice is bubbling through the vents on top of the pies.