As a mom, there’s not much I get ‘props’ for. No one jumps for joy when I wash and fold their clothes; no one really notices when I go grocery shopping, or make lunches, or sweep the floor. (I wrote about motherhood being a tough gig not too long ago.) And hey – that’s the life of a mom, so I don’t sweat it. But one of the reasons I love, love, love to cook and to bake is because, without fail, when my kids catch whiffs of what I’m stewing, or baking, or sautéing… it draws them to me.
That’s the thing about cooking: the sweet, delicious smells created by my work call my babies to my side quicker than words ever do. They come in close, lean in, and ask for nibbles. They want to talk about what’s going into the pan; they ask questions like: Mom, did you make this up? Have I eaten it before? Will I like this?
They see ingredients at their finest – fresh, colorful, clean. They see me confidently using my hands to prepare and dice and toss and squeeze. They see me choose, and manipulate, and ‘dance’ my mama’s dance of love. And, when it’s all done, they enjoy the fruits of my labor.
It’s seeing my babies enjoy my ‘work’ and celebrate my ‘dance’ – that’s why I cook.
I especially love the squeals of joy when I make these:
Call these my rebel yell against commercialize pop tarts, breakfast strudels, and sugary cereal. I dreamed them up in my kitchen one day when I had an abundance of mangos and some leftover tart dough… and I can’t believe it took me so long to begin creating these. They are just sweet enough with the fresh fruit and the slight addition of sugar that I wouldn’t hesitate to serve one for breakfast with a couple eggs – or as an after school treat with a glass of milk. And man, let me tell you: the kids really think they’re getting something spectacular when they eat these.
The crust is super simple, the filling is fresh and easy to prepare, and based on the reaction of my kiddos, all kids are sure to enjoy making and eating.
First, make the dough.
- 2.5 cups flour
- 2 regular sticks of salted butter
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 12-13 TBSP ice water
- Add flour, butter, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Turn on for 10 seconds nonstop. Then, pulse and additional 5-8 times. The goal is for butter bits to be about a little larger than pea sized…. so don’t over process!
- Drizzle a TBSP of water at a time through the top of the food processor and pulse for 1 second after each water addition.
- Pour mixture from food processor bowl into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, squeeze the dough together until all of the mixture is stuck together. (NOTE: The dough should lean to the dry side. If it is too dry, wet your hands and continue to work dough until it adheres. If it is too sticky, add a tsp of flour at a time until the stickiness is gone.
- Form two discs, wrap in plastic, and chill.
While dough chills, prepare your filling. Here are some great options…
Dice up some champagne mangos and toss with sweetened shredded coconut.
Peel and dice up granny smith apples. (Apple pieces should be just slightly larger than a corn kernal.) Toss the apples with a little sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Toss fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries – anything! – with a little sugar and squeeze of lemon juice.
Assemble the handpies:
- Preheat the oven and a baking sheet to 400 degrees.
- Roll out your chilled dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Cut out whatever shape you’d like with an oversized cookie cutter, or other found object from your kitchen. (Large coffee cups make great cutters for circular hand pies.)
- Fill the center of your shape so that you maintain about a 1/2 inch around the outside of the filling. Dip your finger in the egg wash and coat the edge along the outside of the filling.
- Take a second shape and cover the filled piece. Gently push the edges together being careful not to push the filling out of the sides. Then, dip a fork into the egg wash and ‘seal’ the edges with the fork.
- Using a pastry brush, wash the top of the hand pie thoroughly, then score with either a knife or a several fork pricks.
- OPTIONAL: You can sprinkle colored pastry sugar over the top before baking. If you are making the apple pies, you can add chopped store-bought caramels and sprinkle a pinch of coarse sea salt over the top for a ‘salted carmel apple’ pie.
- Place the assembled pies onto a preheated baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until the pies are golden brown.
These little gems are amazing warm… but just as yummy served cold – especially when thrown into a lunch pail for your little love.
Check out today’s AM Northwest segment from this morning where Dave and I made these up: