Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies


 
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Hi! I am writing this to you from a cute little coffee shop up in Rhinebeck - a few friends and I have escaped for a little mid-week work holiday. For some reason getting work done while you’re tucked away in a little air bnb (we got one with a pool, it is dope) is so much more satisfying than working at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love both, but it’s real cute up here.

I made these just before we left for Canada as a way to use up a couple of things in my fridge - a brick of cream cheese, and half a jar of jam. I had some pie dough in the freezer, so I whipped up these little hand pies, and ohhhh man. I used the cream cheese to act as a bit of a dam to hold in the filling, and the combination of vanilla bean flavoured cream cheese, and sweet mixed berry jam filling is just so good. I didn’t add any additional sugar to the cream cheese, and the super flaky pie dough isn’t sweet, so the jam centre is so, so good against the slightly tangy cream cheese. These are crazy easy to make - they have serious pop tart vibes, and can very easily be scaled up to make a bunch. You could also do them as little circle hand pies rather than the rectangles, and another great thing about them is that you can freeze them ahead of time, store them in an airtight container in your freezer, and bake them off as you need.

Use whatever flavour of jam you like in these - I used mixed berry, but they would also be so, so good with a stone fruit jam or anything berry. You could also use a store bought puff pastry - this is a choose your own adventure here, you can make as many or as few components as you like.

A few wee tips:

  • A pie dough trick I learnt from my friend Erin that is now firmly in my repertoire : After you mix the dough and shape it into discs, rest it in the fridge for about an hour, and then roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle, fold it in thirds like a letter, then roll again and repeat the folding. Then you shape it into a disc by folding the edges under, rewrap tightly in plastic, and rest for at least two hours before using. What this step does is make the dough homogenous and therefore easy to work with, but also adds layers through the rolling and folding - the same way puff pastry is laminated. It is definitely an optional step but from my experience it makes the world of difference when it comes to rolling out the dough and getting a nice even crimp or lattice work.

  • These come out of the oven HOT. Like, take skin off the inside of your mouth hot. Make sure you let them cool down before you eat it. You’ve been warned.

  • I used homemade jam to make these because I had it on hand, but store bought is great too!

  • I added a couple of flowers I cut out from some excess pie dough. To make these I like to roll out the scrap dough and freeze briefly on a baking sheet, then cut out the shapes with pastry stamps - I have these and love them!

 

 

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

- Makes about 9 hand pies -

Pie Dough
375g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
240g (1 cup) cold water
1 cup ice
60g (1/4 cup) Apple cider vinegar
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Filling
225g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup mixed berry jam or jam of your choice (I used this recipe)

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado (raw) sugar to finish

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

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 large 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 two rectangles, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.  (See notes for rolling out dough during resting period)

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a large rectangle. If you are worried about it getting too warm and soft, you can cut it in half and do this in two parts. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the pastry into 3" x 4" rectangles (7cm x 10cm). You should get approximately 18 rectangles. Place the cut rectangles carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 mins to help firm up the pastry slightly. 

Remove the pastry rectangles from the fridge and match up into pairs. Lightly brush the edges of one piece of pastry with egg wash, then pipe a rectangle of the cream cheese mixture, and fill the centre with two teaspoons of jam. Top with a second piece of pastry, pressing down lightly around the edges to seal, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, then use the tines of a fork to press down around the edges to help seal. Repeat with the remaining rectangles of pastry until all the hand pies are assembled. Add decorations using pie stamps by stamping out rolled out scrap pastry.

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. 

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. 

cream cheese and mixed berry hand pies with flaky pie crust .jpg

Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel


 
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie

Hi hi! I am currently sitting in the middle of Toronto airport - my sister, Rich, and I are waiting for our connecting flight to Vancouver Island, where we will spend the next 10 days with family! I am so, so excited, and so ready for a wee break - it will also be peak fruit season, so I see a slab pie or two happening in the near future!

This Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel is a little something that Jase and I whipped up a few weeks ago. Cherry pie is a fave of mine (I mean, I love all pie, but cherry is pretty high up there), and we amped it up a little by adding a brown butter oat streusel, which adds the most amazing crunch and texture to the edges, making it just a teeny bit more exciting than your average slab pie. I love slab pies for a whole lot of reasons - for starters they are amazing for feeding a crowd, but because they are a little shallower than your standard pie, you get the most amazing ratio of fruit filling to flaky pastry.

There’s not too many wee tips for this one - it’s a super simple pie, with the filling following the fruit, sugar, starch formula. When the fruit is good, you really don’t need much else. I can see this cherry pie happening at least a couple more times this stone fruit season!

A few wee tips:

  • For the pie dough, make the quantity listed twice (so make two batches of dough) rather than doing it all in one big batch. It makes it much easier to handle and greatly reduces the likelihood of over working the dough, which can give you a tough crust. You only need one quantity of water though, don’t double that.

  • I like using a wee tip that my friend Erin taught me to make the pie dough nice and smooth and easy to work with. I make the dough, shape it into two rectangles, 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 slightly, 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. For me, it’s a game changer.

  • Cherry pie can be a little wet, so you want to leave this to set up completely before you cut into it - it’s hard to wait but it is worth it, I promise!

  • We added the streusel onto the pie after about 20 min in the oven to ensure that it didn’t brown too much before the pie did, which would have resulted in burnt streusel and pale pie dough.

  • You can also leave the streusel off if you would like, and just make the cherry slab pie.

 

 

Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel

- Makes one 9” x 13” slab pie -

Pie Dough (see notes for instructions - make this twice to yield two larger crusts)
375g flour
2 tsp sugar
Pinch of Salt
225g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup ice
240g cold water
60g Apple cider vinegar

Brown Butter Oat Streusel
225g butter
200g light brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200g flour
80g old fashioned oats

Cherrry Filling
1500g cherrries, pitted and halved
420g raw sugar
120g tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado Sugar to finish (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Combine the ice, water, and cider vinegar in a bowl and stir lightly to combine. Place cups flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir lightly to combine. 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.

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 tightly in plastic wrap. 

Repeat the process again. Place both rectangles of dough in the fridge to rest for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.

 

BROWN BUTTER OAT STREUSEL

Place the butter in a small pan, and place on the stove over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Continue to cook, until the butter begins to foam, smells nutty, and goes a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well to combine. Using your hands, break up any large lumps.

ASSEMBLY

Have a quarter sheet pan (9" x 13" baking sheet) ready.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the rectangles of dough into a shape slightly larger than your sheet pan. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pan, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Fold the overlapping edge under itself, pressing down with your fingers to seal. This creates a border which helps prevent the edges of the pie from shrinking. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice. Wrap any offcuts of dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.

Roll out the second piece of dough, and cut lattice strips - we did an angled lattice and a braided edge. Place cut out lattice pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until needed.

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, tapioca starch, and salt. Transfer to the pastry lined sheet pan. Top with lattice strips. Trim back any overhanging pastry, and either crimp the edge or add a braided border, fixing down with a little egg wash.

Transfer the pie to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the pie is resting in the fridge,  preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. Brush the pie with eggwash and sprinkle generously with extra raw sugar. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has set and is beginning to go golden. Remove from the oven, and add the prepared streusel around the edge of the pie. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, return the pie to the oven, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel - a thick cherry slab pie is topped with a layer of flaky pastry and finished with a brown butter oat streusel that gives the most perfect crunch. #slabpie #streusel #cherrypie #cherryslabpie

Strawberry Balsamic Pie


 
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie
Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie

Happy Memorial day weekend! I caught myself doing a wee happy dance at the farmer’s market recently when I discovered Strawberries have arrived for the season! Growing up, there were loads of pick your own strawberry places near us, so I have all kinds of memories of hiding within the rows sneaking strawberries that we most definitely should have paid for before I ate them. I hadn’t baked with strawberries too much until I moved here - we usually just have them fresh with a little powdered sugar (which is still one of my favourite ways to have them), but I also love how they bake up - particularly in this strawberry balsamic pie!

Strawberries are definitely on the sweet side, so when I bake with them I like to balance them out with something either tart or acidic, which is why you so often see them paired with rhubarb. Instead of using rhubarb, in order to really let the strawberry flavour shine through, I balanced out the sweetness with a little Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Filippo Berio. It is the perfect pairing - the balsamic balances out the sweetness of the strawberries just enough, while not taking away from the flavour. The first test I found was a little soggy for my liking - strawberries are about 92% water, similar to that of watermelon, so you either need to remove some of the liquid, or add more starch than you think, or a combination of both, to avoid a sog fest! I went for a wee combo of both - macerating the strawberries to help draw out some moisture (which makes a super yum strawberry syrup), and then using more starch than I would for an apple or stone fruit pie.

I hope that you give this one a go - it would be perfect to take to a summer bbq as an easy dessert, and it is fairly quick to put together thanks to strawberries being fairly no-fuss when it comes to prep. The sweet fruit goes so well with the flaky crust, and then the Filippo Berio vinegar rounds everything out. I gave this a pretty easy lattice - using a multi-wheeled cutter (which I think is a pasta cutter), I just cut loads of strips, and used three small strips in the place of one larger strip when making my lattice. This is a super easy way to switch things up a little when it comes to latticing, without having to worry about any fancy weaving techniques or braiding. I think it is going to be my new go to, just like this pie! Happy pie making! x

A few wee tips:

  • I have included a recipe for a regular double crust pie here, but I sometimes like making a little extra so that I don’t have to worry about running out of crust - so if you like, you can make a 1.5x of the recipe to have some wiggle room.

  • I found that the first time I made this, it was a little on the soggy side, so I included a step of macerating the berries a little in some sugar to help draw out some excess moisture. I found 15 min was enough, but you can leave them up to an hour.

  • Berry pies do tend to be a bit wetter than other fruit pies, so make sure that your bottom crust is nice and thick, and gets nicely cooked - having the pie near the bottom of the oven at the start of the baking process helps this a lot.

  • Ideally, you want to give your dough an overnight rest so that it is easy to work with, but a few hours works in a pinch.

  • I like using a wee tip that my friend Erin taught me to make the pie dough nice and smooth and easy to work with. I make the dough, shape it into two rectangles, 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 slightly, and shape into a disc or a rectangle (I usually do a disc for the bottom crust and a rectangle for the piece I will use for a lattice). 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. For me, it’s a game changer.

  • You want to let this cool completely before slicing, or it’s going to juice everywhere. Trust me on this.

  • Don’t bake this without a sheet pan underneath. Strawberries are juicy, and will very likely leak. A sheet pan helps catch everything nicely and avoid an oven disaster.

 

 

Strawberry Balsamic Pie

- Makes one 9” pie -

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (375g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar

Filling
1200g trimmed and quartered strawberries (weight was taken after they were trimmed)
80g granulated sugar
6 Tbsp tapioca starch
75g granulated sugar
75g raw / turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Filippo Berio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Raw sugar to finish (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix to combine. 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 1/2 to 3/4 cup, but add slowly) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Divide the dough into two - I like to do a 1/3 to 2/3 split. Shape the smaller portion into a disc and the larger into a rectangle. If desired, roll out and perform letter folds (see notes) Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Place the chopped strawberries into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the first measure of sugar, then toss to combine. Leave to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll the disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the lattice.

Roll out the second piece of dough (the rectangle) into a rough rectangle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips for your lattice. Place your strips onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and store in the fridge until ready to use. Press together the scraps and re-roll - these are good for extra lattice strips or for using pie stamps to cut out for the border.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tapioca starch, granulated sugar, raw sugar, and salt. Drain the strawberries, reserving the liquid if you like - it is delicious in soda water or cocktails! Add the whisked starch and sugar mixture, then add the vanilla and Filippo Berio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and mix well to combine.

Transfer the filling to the prepared pie dish, packing the strawberries in slightly - it is ok if they mound a little as they cook down a lot.

Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving into your desired lattice. Either crimp the edges, or trim them flush to edge of the pie dish using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. If you are crimping, trim the crust with a little overhang and then crimp as desired.

Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. 

Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling - 40 to 50 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Strawberry Balsamic Pie - sweet strawberries are balanced out by Filippo Berio's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, then wrapped up in a super flaky pie crust. Strawberry pie is the perfect summer dessert, is easy to make, and is ideal for taking along to an evening bbq or gathering. #strawberrypie #strawberrybalsamic #summerpie

Thank you so much to Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.