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Peaches are at the end of their season, while apples are on the way in, and despite there being a hundred recipes I can think of to use both in, hand pies are at the tippy top of my list. Whoever you share these little personal sized treats with will be thrilled. The recipe does not produce an overly sweet filling, so makes being able to taste fresh peaches and apples in every bite a real end of the summer days indulgence.
I was lucky enough to have a friend drop off a half bushel of peaches to the house for me to enjoy. She would only say “they were extra,” but I suspect she was just plain exhausted from canning and making her preserves, so here I was, the very fortunate recipient of ‘overages.’ As soon as she handed me the basket, I could smell them. They were ripe, and ready to be used immediately.
Peach and apple hand pies are the epitome of summer wrapped in lightly sweetened, glazed pastry. They are a perfect for a picnic, which is what I will be making this batch for…a sweet ‘take-along’ for my walk to the beach. I prefer a sturdy pie, so I combine the largely peach filling with a single Granny Smith apple. Apples are firmer than peach flesh, even after juicing them in sugar, and they allow the pastry to be ‘stretched’ enabling me to stuff as much filling into each pocket as I can.
Tiny pies are a ‘thing.’ I’m seeing them in nearly every bake shop. The following recipe will make enough filling for two batches, or 24 pies. May sound like a lot, but remember, they’re cute and small. They come together quickly if you prefer to use refrigerated pie crusts. If you do this, you will need four (4) sleeves of dough, or two (2) boxes. I make my own dough and have provided my method below.
A quick tip; if you are not in a hurry, prepare and chill the filling for several hours before assembling the hand pies. They will be less runny while you work to fold and crimp them closed.
Ingredients for Peach and Apple Hand Pies
For the pastry crust
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces (1 stick)
6 tablespoons solid shortening
6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk
For the filling
4 medium to large peaches
1 large Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of table salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons almond extract
For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or cream, more or less for desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Peel and dice the peaches and the apple into 1/2″ pieces. Place the diced fruits in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Gently toss to combine. Set aside for an hour to allow the fruits to juice.
While the fruits are making their juice, prep the pastry dough. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the cold water and pulse just until the dough starts to hold together. Don’t over process.
Gather the dough together and divide in half. Form each half into a disc. Wrap each tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Of course, if using refrigerated pie crusts, omit these steps.
Once the peaches and the apple have rested for an hour, drain the juice into a medium saucepan. It’s okay if a few pieces of the fruit slip past you and into the saucepan. Set the rest aside. Whisk in the corn starch, cinnamon and salt until combined. Cook over medium heat until the syrup boils. Whisking constantly, cook for about 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and almond extract. Gently fold in the peaches and apple and any extra juice. Set aside to cool while rolling out the dough. * Allowing this mixture to cool for several hours refrigerated provides for a cleaner, less runny assembly of the hand pies.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rest 10-15 minutes. Lightly flour a clean work surface and dust the dough with flour. Roll out one of the discs to about 1/8″ thick and cut out as many 4″ rounds as you can. Gather dough scraps together and re-roll to cut out additional rounds. If you do not have a 4” biscuit cutter, find a bowl that measures 4” and use a butter knife to trace the rounds from the rolled dough.
Place the 4-inch rounds of dough on a large piece of parchment or wax paper.
Beat together the egg and milk. Brush the egg mixture on one side of a pastry round. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each round. Pull up the sides to make the hand pie look like a half moon and crimp the edges using the tines of a fork. Cut a few small slits in the top to vent. Move the unbaked pies to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. If the dough become hard to handle or sticky, refrigerate 15-20 minutes and try again.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the pastries from the refrigerator and brush the tops of the pies with a little bit of the egg and milk mixture. Bake or 30 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer hand pies to a wire rack to cool.
Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk or cream and almond extract until smooth. Add additional sugar or milk to reach the desired consistency.
Drizzle the icing on the cooled pies. Refrigerate left over pies in a single layer in an airtight container.