A few weeks ago, two kind neighbors gave me bags of garden fresh rhubarb so I could make some yummy summer desserts for the blog. One afternoon, my kitchen smelled so good as I made these strawberry rhubarb hand pies and a strawberry rhubarb crisp. These delicious hand pies are made with an all-butter pie crust and filled with a yummy mixture of rhubarb and strawberries. If you’ve never heard of a “hand pie”, basically it is just a little pie that you can pick up and eat with your hands – no plate and fork needed.
This recipe was inspired from a favorite blog of mine, Sugar Dish Me. I followed her filling recipe, with a few twists of my own to bump up the flavor. I added vanilla cane sugar that I had purchased from Amazon, and lemon zest to the mixture. The bowl of fruit looked so vibrant and fresh and smelled heavenly!
To make the hand pies, I started with my trusty gluten-free pie crust. I make a from-scratch recipe that I’ve adapted from the cookbook In the Kitchen with Gluten Free Mama. I use all butter in mine, but you can definitely use a dairy-free margarine or all shortening in yours as well. I patted the dough out into a circle between two pieces of wax paper, then chilled the dough a few hours. After chilling a few hours, I was able to roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness, then I used a cute scalloped round cutter to cut the dough circles. My scalloped circle measured 3 3/4″ wide. I just used an old plastic cutter I had on hand, but I now have this set on my wishlist as you get such a variety of sizes and both regular and scalloped in this Double Sided Round Cutter Set.
If you’d rather not make your crust from scratch, I often use Gluten Free Mama’s Pie Crust Mix. It is so quick, easy, fool-proof and delicious!
You have to work a bit to figure out how much filling you can stuff in these and still be able to seal the edges. I put about 2 tsp. in each of my hand pies, but wish I would have worked at getting a bit more in them so that there was a better ratio of fruit/pastry in the finished product.
I also played around with brushing the crust with different things. I tried a beaten egg, egg yolk only, all butter, just milk, and just water. There wasn’t much difference between the butter, milk, or water ones. The ones brushed with a beaten egg or beaten egg yolk were very yellow, but I did like how the crust crisped up more on those. So I’d suggest brushing these however you prefer when you usually make pies, or feel free to experiment. I did sprinkle sugar on all of them after brushing, before baking. I liked that extra little sugar on the top crust.
These were well-liked by everyone that tried them. I had a few left over that I put in the freezer to pull out to enjoy whenever the craving strikes!
- 2½ cups Gluten Free Mama's Almond or Coconut Blend Flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 cup unsalted butter (1 stick melted, 1 stick room temp) or non-dairy alternative
- 1 egg white
- 6-8 Tbsp. cold water
- 1 cup diced rhubarb
- 1½ cups diced strawberries
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- ¼ cup vanilla sugar (or regular sugar or brown sugar)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)
- pinch of salt
- 1 lightly beaten egg, or butter, or milk for brushing
- extra sugar for sprinkling on hand pies
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and xanthan gum. Make a well in the center for adding the wet ingredients.
- Add all of the butter or shortening, egg white, and 4 Tbsp. of the cold water.
- Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend ingredients.
- Add extra water as needed until dough comes together and is a mealy texture.
- Note: You can also use a food processor for this process.
- Use lightly floured hands to form dough into two balls.
- Place one ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Roll out to about 1" thickness. Repeat with other ball of dough.
- Place dough flats into refrigerator to chill while you make the filling. I kept the wax paper stuck to them.
- Finely dice the rhubarb and strawberries. Place in a medium bowl.
- Add the cornstarch, vanilla sugar, sugar, lemon zest and a pinch of salt to the bowl and stir together gently with a rubber spatula. Set aside.
- Remove the pie dough circles from the refrigerator. Remove the top piece of wax paper. Sprinkle the dough with more gluten-free flour.
- Roll the dough to ⅛" - ¼" thickness.
- Use the cookie cutter to cut out circles about 3.75" across.
- Spoon about 2-3 teaspoons of filling onto center of each circle. Fold over the dough and use your fingers to pinch to seal the edges.
- Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, leaving about 2" between each hand pie.
- Repeat until you have used up all of your dough, re-rolling and re-flouring surface as needed to cut out more circles.
- Use a knife to make a slit or an X in the top of each hand pie.
- Brush the top of each pie with a lightly beaten egg, milk, or butter.
- Sprinkle each pie with sugar.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until tops are a pretty golden brown.
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