Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Peach Hand Pies

This will be my last post for Cook Like A Star : All Stars Anniversary March/April 2014. There are so far 130 links (will update later) and I would like to thank each and every one who has joined in our Anniversary Party. It would not be a party without you gals! I hope that you had fun cooking and baking for our All Stars Anniversary Party, I sure did! Thank you for all your delicious links and your wonderful support! There's still today and tomorrow to submit your posts, keep them coming!


While I was "rummaging" thru my pantry, found a can of peach halves which I bought for this recipe months ago, but have completely forgotten all about it. This hand pies was originally Apricot Hand Pies from Martha Stewart's New Pies and Tarts cookbook, and the recipe uses fresh apricots which are simmered with some cardamom, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla, and left to cool. Fresh apricots are really expensive and is not easy to find, as they are imported and depend on the season's availability. Now getting canned apricots is not easy too, I have bought canned apricots only once before, and that was ages ago, and have not seen it it since. On the other hand, we can get canned peaches easily, as we can buy them from any supermarkets. 

Instead of simmering fresh apricots, I have skipped all that process and used the canned peach halves instead. Drain the canned peach halves and dab with kitchen paper towel to get rid of excess moisture.

Firstly, make the pastry, Pate Brisee, and it needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes to firm up. The recipe states to use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of ice cold water, and I started off with 1/4 cup, which is a little too much. The next time, I'll start with 2 tablespoons instead and add on as necessary. As the pastry was quite soft and sticky, though with some sprinkling of flour helps.

Roll out half of the firm dough and use a 3" cookie cutter to make some rounds. Refrigerate these rounds, and with the other half of the remaining dough, use a 4" cookie cutter to make equal number of rounds, these need not be refrigerated.

Remove the tray with the 3" rounds from the refrigerator, place a piece of half apricot or peaches, cut side down, brush the sides of the pastry all around with some water and place the 4" round over, press the pastry edges together to seal. I use a fork to tine the edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Use a sharp knife to make a cross on the top, brush the pastry with some water and sprinkle some sanding sugar over the top. I have used demerara sugar. 

I made only 8 as there was only 8 half pieces of peaches in the can. There was some pastry left, though I don't think that it is enough to make another 4, as the recipes states that it would yield 12 hand pies. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 425F for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I made the hand pies in the afternoon, with a pot of warm tea, and we enjoyed these hand pies while still warm, and they are really nice.

The pastry is flaky and buttery, and while I guess that with fresh apricots simmered in cardamom, lemon and vanilla would be more flavourful, the canned peaches makes a nice substitute. 

Apricot Hand Pies
(adapted from "Martha Stewart's New Pies and Tarts", Martha Stewart)
2 cups water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 strips (1-1/2 inches long) fresh lemon peel, pith removed
1 piece (about 1/2 inch) fresh ginger, peeled
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped
6 small just-ripe apricots (3/4 pound) halved and pitted
all-purpose flour, for dusting
Pate Brisee (see below **)
2 tablespoons ice water
fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

  1. Bring the water, granulates sugar, lemon peel, ginger, cardamom, and vanilla-bean seeds to a boil in a saucepan. Cook until sugar dissolves; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add apricots to pan. Rinse a double thickness of cheesecloth under cold water, and drape over apricots so fruit is covered by cloth and submerged in liquid. (Alternatively, cut a round of parchment to fit pan and cover fruit). Continue simmering until apricots soften slightly, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the ripeness. Remove from heat, and let cool completely. Use immediately, or transfer apricots and poaching liquid to a storage container. Make sure apricots are completely submerged in liquid at all times. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 4 days.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out  disk of dough into a large round, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out twelve 3-inch rounds. Transfer rounds to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat process with remaining dough, using a 4-inch cookie cutter to make 12 more rounds; do not refrigerate.
  4. Using paper towels, blot poached apricots halves to eliminate excess liquid. Place 1 in center of each chilled 3-inch round. Brush ice water around edges of dough; cover each with an unchilled 4-inch round. Gently press edges together to seal. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425F. Using a paring knife, slash top of each hand pie in a crosshatch fashion. Brush with water, and generously sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F. Continue baking until pastry is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Or let cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.

Pate Brisee
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (omitted, used salted butter)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

  1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor (or whisk together by hand in a bowl). Add butter, and pulse (or quickly cut in with a pastry blender or your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces remaining. Drizzle 1/4 cup water over mixture. Pulse (or mix with a fork) until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse (or mix with a fork).
  2. Divide dough in half onto two pieces of plastic wrap. Gather into two balls, wrap loosely in plastic, and press each into a disk using a rolling pin. Refrigerate until firm, well wrapped in plastic, 1 hour or up to 1 day. (Dough can be frozen up to 3 months; thaw in refrigerator before using).


I'm linking this post to Cook Like A Star, All-Stars Anniversary Party, hosted by Zoe of Bake For Happy KidsMich of Piece of Cake and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.
(click on any of the hostess blog for further info and to link your posts)

All-Stars Anniversary Party featured chefs :  Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Curtis Stone, Ree Drummond, Bill Granger, Masterchefs, Martha Stewart, Delia Smith, Donna Hay

The next Cook Like A Star featuring Paula Deen and The Deen Brothers will be in June 2014, and the hosts are Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, Diana of Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Joyce of Kitchen FlavoursEveryone is welcome to join us. Cook or bake any recipes from the featured chefs and link your posts to the linky at any of the hosts' page on June 1st right up to 30th June. 

and I'm sharing this post with :
 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg


  1. Joyce , I made peach ice cream few days ago and your peach hand pies will be perfect for it :D Good to know that you already have the Bouchon Bakery book , you gonna love it !

  2. Hi Joyce, how I love hand pies. I used to bake apple and blueberries hand pies previously but never thought of using the apricots. Love to give this a try as I love Martha Stewart's recipe.

  3. they look adorable and just perfect for grab for summer time

  4. WOW... I love these hand pies. Look so wonderfully delicious... definitely love to try this recipe for sure.
    Thank you for sharing, Joyce :)

  5. Such of delicious pies and i like the way you cut the cross on it!

  6. Wowza Joyce!!! What a successful event this has been. Just look at all that goodness. I have so many more links to check out, eventually, lol...

    I have never made hand pies before, hey, I rarely make any kind of pies:) I love how once again you have made this recipe your own. Apricots are difficult to find here also especially this time of year. I do love them though but pricy is the word for them. Canned peaches are quite versatile and this recipe really makes them shine. I should give hand pies a try. I have a feeling they are Marion's style, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Joyce...

  7. Wow! Lovely hand pies & very inviting too. How I wish to have one now with kopi ! hihihihi ;)

  8. I just love the concept of hand pies and peach would be a favorite of mine too!

  9. Hi Joyce,

    I really enjoy cooking and baking for CLAS... With all stars, the choice of recipes is lagi better! Great suggestion!!!!

    I was wondering why your pies are all so nicely dome-shaped... Seeing your last pic showing a fat generous slice of apricot neatly tucked inside , I clearly understand why :p


  10. Hi Joyce , oh my do those pies looks delicious , wish I could grab one off the screen . Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Oooo your pies look so pretty!

  12. Joyce, your hand pies look really good! Honestly, it is too much work for me hah..hah...

  13. Joyce, this recipe really get the best use of the apricot, small size of pie with one huge halved peach inside, must be yummy!