Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cranberry Hand Pies and a Thanksgiving Feast

Tim and I spent Thanksgiving this year with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Seattle - it was a weekend of amazing food and lots of fun sight seeing and conversation.  We got into Seattle around noon on Thanksgiving, so I didn't do a lot of cooking, but I did help out with a batch of cranberry hand pies.  These were so tasty - we thought they tasted like super fancy Pop Tarts!  The crust is extra tender and a little sweet, and the filling is tart and scented with orange zest and vanilla bean.

The only warning I'll give about this recipe - and it's certainly not a bad one - is that the yield on the recipe is way off.  I would say this could make almost twice as many pies as the recipe claims (16).  We ended up making 16 for Thanksgiving, and then rolling out the extra dough and filling a smallish pie plate with dough and filling the next day - both versions were totally delicious...the little pies are more fun, but also more work, so you mileage may vary as to which way you want to put this together!

Cranberry Hand Pies (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Makes 16 hand pies + 1 pie, or divide this up as you like

For the dough:

3-2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 3 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 cup Crisco

For the filling:

1 pound fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) raspberries
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon instant tapioca (not starch)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

To assemble:
1 egg, beaten
Raw sugar, to sprinkle

1. Make the dough.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the butter and shortening.  Drizzle in about 1/4 cup cold water and mix in with a fork.  Continue to add water a little at a time and stir with a fork until a dough forms.  It's definitely ok if there are some larger pieces of butter or shortening visible in the dough.  Divide in half, form into disks, and wrap in plastic.  Chill for two hours.
2. Make the filling.  Combine everything in a medium saucepan - include both the vanilla beans and the scraped seeds.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Then cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken, about 10-12 minutes.  Let cool completely.
3. Assemble. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out the dough as thinly as possible, using lots of flour as needed (this is a soft dough).  Aim for an eighth of an inch to a sixteenth of an inch thick, working with one disk at a time.  Cut out circles using a 3-inch cookie cutter or a glass with a similar diameter.
4. Place half the circles on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  Brush the edges of the circles with beaten egg.  Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle.  Then top with the remaining circles.  Crimp the edges with a fork.  Brush the tops with egg, and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Cut a small X in the top of each pie.  Let chill for 30-45 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake pies until the crust is golden brown, 17-20 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.

Thanksgiving Dinner!  We had turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes with celery root, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ginger-cranberry compote, roasted green beans, kale-kohlrabi salad, Waldorf salad, brown butter Brussels sprouts, pickled plums, and fresh sourdough rolls.  Such a feast!

Tim is ready for dessert!  Along with the pies we had my cousin's salted caramel ice tasty!

I'm sending this recipe to My Kitchen Addiction's Holiday Recipe Challenge!


  1. Looks like you had a feast for Thanksgiving! I've never cared for cranberries, or should I say that gelled mess in a can, but your pies sure look and sound yummy. I may have to give them a try to find out. :)

  2. Those are great looking hand pies, but that plateful looks even better!

  3. These hand pies look delicious, good idea for using up the leftover cranberries.

  4. A pie you eat with your hands? Count me in! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have fun baking for Christmas!