It has been an insane whirlwind of almost 2 weeks now, lemme tell ya.
One second, I'm sitting at my desk at work cracking my back, when my body feels weak, I can't breathe, and I feel like I'm having a heart attack.
Soooo it turns out that it's possible for you to "pop" a rib. Who knew?? Apparently it's kind of like popping a knuckle. It's annoying, irritating, and causes some crazy discomfort until it's "naturally" put back in place.
And after 2 different episodes in the ER and being poked and prodded by 2 doctors, I'm so relieved to say it could've been a lotttt worse (PHEW), and I just needed some meds and a lot of quality time with my softest blankets. So I've been buried in my couch all woozy binge watching the entire season of Ina Garten on Netflix.
So now you all know why things have been a bit quiet around here.
I went a little nuts and made a hell of a lot of things these past few nights…a little overboard for an apartment of 2 but who cares right?
Especially if one of those things is blackberry hand pies.
I also used to be really scared of trying to make dough, pie crust or anything of the sort. Like…terrified. I just couldn't get down crumbling cold butter and dry ingredients together. Pie was one of those mystery desserts my mom made using a pre-made crust with some filling or bought from the store during the holidays.
But I decided to make one for the first time back in July, which you can check out here, and it was LIFE CHANGING. The crust, the sweet warm filling...worth ittttt.
Now fall is here, different fruits are in season, and blackberries were on sale so I grabbed as many as humanly possible.
They're so great because of their bitter punch, and with the right pinch of sugar, ooze the perfect amount of sweetness.
But let's rewind back to this crust for a moment.
Pie crust can be tricky if you don't have the right ingredients. So I'm sharing some things that I've learned while trying to perfect my pie game that could help you.
1. Butter is everything.
Picking the best quality butter is crucial in making your pie crust a big deal. Half of what you're making this dough with, is essentially butter, so grab something with a lot of flavor. That way you avoid a boring, dry crust. Anything that's good enough to spread on bread is probably a winner.
2. Yes, add the ice water.
Adding a tablespoon of ice water at a time to what probably looks like flakes and shreds of dough helps to combine the mixture, without warming the butter. You'll already be creating enough heat by creating the dough, so all of your ingredients should be chilled to avoid melting.
3. Yes, it needs to chill.
I know what you're thinking. "Oh I can just go ahead and roll out the dough before chilling it, it'll save so much time!" Well your arms won't be thanking you when you're rolling out dough that's melting on your cutting board. If there's one thing that heats up butter more than kneading it, it's rolling it out dough. No one likes a messy rolling pin or butter everywhere.
4. Prepare for a work out.
Your arms will get tired a lot faster than you thought they might. Rolling out chilled dough may be physically taxing if you have noodle arms like me, but it's made easier when you put it between 2 sheets of wax paper. There's less direct pressure or heat, and you'll be able to throw it in the fridge for another quick chill while you assemble the filling.
5. Use that egg wash.
So you see all kinds of desserts that have golden crusts when you take them out of the oven? And that crisp bite? That's not just the dough. Egg wash creates a hard shell and a warm glow. It's visually pleasing, and delicious. Not to mention, it's a great binding agent too. My 2 layers of dough use it to stay together for these apple pies, to make sure you've sealed them up tight.
I hope you guys all have great Saturdays! What are you baking this weekend?
Blackberry Hand Pies
Makes 24 pies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (and extra for rolling out dough)
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 sticks good quality unsalted butter (if you want to opt into salted butter for more flavor, just remove the dash of salt)
2 tablespoons ice water
**You can always use 2 pieces of store-bought pie crust if you're short on time
2 pints of blackberries, rinsed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
**And a whisked egg for coating each pie
Grease a baking sheet and set aside
1. To make the dough, sift the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor).
2. Cut up the 2 sticks of butter into 1/2" cubes, and combine them with the dry ingredients. In the food processor, you can pulse the mixture until it looks crumbly, or by hand, rubbing the butter into pieces with the flour this way. Then add the ice water a tablespoon at a time. Pulse it again in the processor again, or knead it until the dough forms. Add as much water as it takes for the dough to solidify, but not sticky. If you put in too much water, dust with flour and mix again.
3. Remove from bowl or processor, dust a hard surface with flour, and knead until dough is well combined and soft. Split in 2 pieces, shape into disks, and put each half in a plastic bag. Chill for at least 1 hour (dough can last up to 3 days pre-baked).
4. While the dough is chilling, make the blackberry filling. In a medium size bowl, combine blackberries, sugar and cornstarch and lemon zest, then mix. Gently press on a few of the blackberries to release juices so the mixture thickens slightly. At this time, you can preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
5. Take the dough that has been chilling, and roll each piece into large disks, making sure it doesn't get too warm. If the dough gets warm, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes, then continue rolling. Once each piece is about 2mm thick, use a large circular cookie cutter (mine was 4" wide, but you can use whatever size you like). Cut out 12 disks from each dough piece and place half on your greased baking sheet.
6. Fill each "pie" by spooning the filling into the center of each piece of disk on your pan. Once each is full, take the egg wash and brush the outer edge of each. Use a fork to press the top crusts onto the bottom ones. (The egg wash helps them to stick together). Cut small slits in the top of each pie.
7. Brush the top of each crust with the remaining egg wash and set them in the oven for 20 minutes, until the juices start to bubble out or the crust is golden brown. Let them cool for 30 minutes to let the juices thicken before serving.