So, right now my kitchen is a mess and I have papers to grade, but I’m so excited to write about these little pies that I can’t wait. Having Valentines be on Sunday this year will make it easier to have these sweet little pies for breakfast, which I usually try to do, and have been known to even roll out of bed early to make it happen (though this is really not typical of me). I started making these handpies specifically for Valentines Day a couple of years for the simple reason that I bought a pie press in the shape of a heart and I wanted to use it. But now, these are just my favorite way to share a little love, and create one of the best breakfasts (or desserts, depending on how busy the day becomes!) of the year. I’ve changed the filling, but otherwise am using the recipe from the Flour bakery cookbook called Homemade Pop-Tarts.
Blueberry Cream Hand Pies
Pâte Brisée (recipe below)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (340 grams) blueberry jam*
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, whipped, and at room temperature
Simple Vanilla Glaze
1 cup (140 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card). [If using a decorative cutter, plan accordingly.]
Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg [this is an IMPORTANT step]. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cheese and 1 tablespoon of the jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle. Lay the second large dough rectangle directly on top of the first. Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other.
Using a knife, a pizza roller (easier), or a fluted roller (easier and prettier), and following the scored lines, cut the layered dough into 8 rectangles. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet. [You, of course, can also use the heart pie press if you also couldn’t resist buying one at the store.]
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are evenly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
To make the glaze: While the pastries are cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and enough of the water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. You should have about 1/2 cup. (The glaze can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)
When the pastries have cooled for 30 minutes, brush the tops evenly with the glaze, or write sweet messages with the glaze in a piping bag. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set before serving.
The pastries can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Pate Brisee Recipe
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks / 228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look really shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.
Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface, then gather it together into a tight mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface (at Flour we call this “going down the mountain”), until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving through the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter.
Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
*I usually make my own blueberry jam by heating up about a cup of frozen blueberries, without adding water, and a 1/2 c. of sugar, over medium heat, in a covered pot. Once the mixture is boiling, I mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and stir it in slowly, and return the mixture to a boil. After it thickens, I remove the pot and add 1 T. of vanilla extract (I love it with the blueberries!) but you can be more circumspect, or even not include it altogether. One teaspoon of lemon juice is also a nice addition. As is vanilla bean paste.
Happy Valentines Day!!