Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blueberry Hand Pies - Avid Baker's Challenge

I consider myself an avid baker so it seemed appropriate to join a group of bakers in a monthly baking challenge with that very name. I've been following the group for some time but haven't participated before since I've been blog-less, until recently that is.

Baking from the King Arthur Flour website, the challenge for July was Blueberry Hand Pies. The results looked so fabulous, I decided to join in the fun this month, even though my post is late.

I'm so glad I did. These tasted as good as they looked: the filling had a bright, fresh fruit flavour and the pastry was buttery and flaky.

The first step was making the pastry. I find it ironic that the time of year with weather most conducive to producing an abundance of beautiful fruits for pie fillings is least conducive to making pastry! Despite the hot and humid conditions, with frequent pauses for refrigeration, I managed to do it.

The all butter pastry recipe was a little unusual in that sour cream was used in place of liquid, and it used the rolling/letter-folding technique of incorporating layers of flakiness into the dough, something I've not seen often in a pie dough. The resulting pastry had a nice flavour with a slight tang to it and was indeed very flaky, but also very, very rich - perhaps too rich?

The filling was a simple mixture of fresh blueberries, sugar and lemon juice, cooked just long enough for the berries to start to release their juices but still retain a fresh fruit flavour.

These were a huge hit with the family so I may be making them again (and often) before the summer is out.

If you'd like to try them, the recipe can be found here

Additional notes:
- I used 100g more blueberries than required - it's what was in the container I bought - but didn't increase the sugar and had no leftover filling
- I used 1 tbsp cornstarch as thickener in place of Instant Clear Jel but probably only needed 2 tsp

Please visit ABC to see the other bakers' creations.


  1. Welcome to ABC, Zosia!! My face lit up when I saw the link to your post on the ABC blog. You are an avid baker indeed. I'm happy you were able to squeeze this baking challenge into your schedule. Your hand pies turned out beautiful. I like the flower-shaped cut outs in your little pies. I too used 1 Tbsp of corn starch and found that it dulled out the fruit flavor a bit (will reduce the amount next time).My taste testers also commented on the crust being too rich/buttery (it was fine for me). I'm thinking of maybe decreasing the butter next time and increasing the sour cream. What do you think?

    1. Hanaâ, I checked the Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum because I knew there was a sour cream variation of the basic butter crust and the author says that using sour cream produces a more buttery flavour; using yogurt produces a slight tang but less buttery flavour. So I think using yogurt instead is the way to go. I found this to be a very soft dough, even after refrigeration, so I'd be concerned about reducing the butter by too much - maybe just by a tbsp or 2 (~30g).

  2. Btw, I added you to the ABC blog roll :o)

  3. Hi Zosia,
    Great! welcome to ABC! It is so nice to see that we are going to be baking together in another event!
    Your pie looks so good! I have not made this yet, am dying too! Just got my new oven delivered today and will be making this soon! :)

    1. I can't imagine being without an oven! I highly recommend this recipe...they were delicious.


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