During the holiday baking season, I am often up for a good recipe challenge. Let me assure you, these hand pies do not fit into that category. You also need some fun and impressive recipes that you can whip up without too much stress. These do fit into that category.
I love a good hand pie with a homemade crust, but with all the other baking and experimenting I’ve been doing lately, I needed something that was a little less time consuming. Enter frozen puff pastry. It’s cooks up tastier and flakier then those pre-made frozen pie crusts but takes the same amount of effort. For these hand pies, you make up an easy cranberry sauce and let it cool while the puff pastry thaws. Then assemble the pies and bake! I used Trader Joe’s puff pastry, but any all butter version will work.
My husband and I had a couple of holiday parties last week and these were a great sweet – but not too sweet – addition. Besides, hand pies are always good for parties since they are easy to eat with one hand! The cranberry filling for these also has the perfect ratio of tart and sweet with hints of vanilla and orange. It’s adapted from these pies by heed the feed, and I think the vanilla makes it extra special. That said, these would also be a great way to use up any extra cranberry sauce you might have after Thanksgiving.
I used a cute little hand pie maker that I got as a gift to shape these, but it’s not something I would necessarily recommend. They did turn out super cute, but they are just as easy to cut and shape with a cookie cutter or even by hand. The genius idea I did get from the back of the hand pie maker- freezing the pies before cooking. I think this helped reduce the amount of filling that bubbled out. You’ll still get some, but not quite as much.
Enjoy! Now, back to making cookies! We highly recommend these!
- 1 pound fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- 2 tbs. water
- 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 sheets frozen all butter puff pastry, thawed
- flour, for rolling
- 1 egg, beaten
- Additional sugar for sprinkling on top
- First, make the filling by combining all the filling ingredients in a small saucepan. Let the mixture stand until the juices start to accumulate, about 10 minutes. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a simmer and most of the cranberries have burst, about 10 minutes.
- Set the mixture aside and let it cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (I let it cool while I thawed my puff pastry.)
- Set the puff pastry out to thaw. Once the pastry is thawed, roll it out on a well-floured surface to about an 8 by 15 inch rectangle. Then, you can either cut the dough into an even number of rectangles or use a cookie cutter to cut out shaped pies. A fairly round shape is recommended for the right crust/filling ration.
- Spoon about 1-3 tbs. of cranberry sauce onto the center of half the dough shapes (more for larger rectangle pies, less for smaller pies). When in doubt, use less filling then you think you need!
- Place another cut shape on top and seal all the edges by crimping with a fork. Cut a small vent into the top of each pie. If you have any extra dough, roll out the remainder and repeat till all pastry is used.
- Brush the top of each pie with some of the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Transfer them to a baking sheet and freeze for about 15-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F. Bake the frozen pies for 17-20 minutes. Transfer thenpies to a wire rack to cool.
- Store in a well sealed container for up to 3 days.