“Peach Hand Pie” sound like the punchline to a dirty food pun. Probably is. But it’s also the best thing we’ve eaten this summer.
More dumpling than casserole, hand pies are single-serve and stupid easy to make. To compensate for the higher crust-to-stuff ratio than a more tradish’ pie, we swap the usual raw fruit for an intensely flavored preserve. It’s twice the carbs with half the goo getting in the way. What’s not to love.
When picking your peaches, try to find ones that smell like jolly ranchers and feel heavier than they look. Hella, hella ripe (and hella, hella local) is the goal. Even better? Peaches that are about to go bad. They taste like candy (even when they’re maybe too squishy to enjoy raw) and it saves perfectly good fruit from the landfill.
If the peaches in your area aren’t yet at their dopest– honestly, you should probably just hold off. There’s not a whole lot going on in this recipe other than butter and peaches. There’s nowhere for lackluster sweetness or crunchy fruit to hide. This recipe can technically be made with frozen peaches and you could let some meh ones warm on the windowsill for a day or two, but it won’t be nearly as tasty. If you’re pie-desperate: swap peaches for another fruit. Blueberries, rhubarb, and cherries are particularly nice substitutes.
- 6 baseball-sized, extremely ripe Peaches -- about 6 cups of chopped fruit
- ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp Bourbon
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 3 tbsp Candied Ginger, cut into a very small dice (optional)
- a pinch of salt
- Peel your peaches and slice them into thick chunks, a little bigger than your thumb. Some people like to blanch them and then slide the skins off. We have literally never been able to make that work in a way that doesn't also cover our kitchen in peachy slime. Just use a fucking vegetable peeler and don't worry about being too prissy. A little skin left behind makes for pretty, rose-colored preserves.
- Place the peaches, and everything else, into a large saucepan and cook over very low heat for basically ever, stirring often to prevent burning. You want the peaches cooked beyond falling apart; the juices should be thickened into a barely visible syrup. If you can cook them all day, do it.
- If you don't have the time or patience to do this on the stove, stick them in a crockpot overnight instead-- just leave the lid cracked so the water can evaporate.
- Let the preserves cool completely before filling your hand pies-- but you can spread it on a biscuit or two while it's still hot.
- 1 batch Peach Preserves (above!)
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus some more for dusting your counter.
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2½ sticks Unsalted Butter
- ¼ cup Cold Water
- ¼ cup Bourbon or Vodka, whatever's handy.
- 1 Egg + 1 tsp Water, beaten
- Clean your dang counters and wash your hands.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Dice the butter into small pieces and toss in the flour until each bit is coated. This makes it a ton easier to work the butter into the flour without giant fat globs happening.
- Work the butter into the flour using your hands, a fork, or a pastry cutter-- but your hands are best. We like to sort of rub it in, using our pointer and index finger against the length of our thumbs. No matter how you do it: you'll know the butter is worked in when the mixture is mostly uniform, with a few pea-sized butter lumps here and there, and will hold its shape when you squeeze it into a ball.
- Pour in all of the water and alcohol and barely mix together.
- It's worth pointing out that this will Not look like pie crust at this point. And that's fine. Smash it into a sort of ball the best you can without mixing it too much, and wrap it in plastic. Park it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Longer is better, up to 3 days. This hang-out period helps the flour evenly hydrate and it transform the mess of shaggy nonsense into a real dough.
- Preheat your oven to 450°.
- Roll the dough out into a ¼ inch thick sheet. Cut circles about 4 inches in diameter with a well-floured cookie cutter, a glass, a small bowl -- whatever's round. Re-roll your scraps once or twice, to make sure you get the most pies.
- Using a rolling pin or just your hands, gently roll or stretch the dough discs into slight ovals. This helps the hand pies keep a half-circle shape while they hold their filling.
- Place a rounded tablespoon (yes. just one measly tablespoon.) of peach preserves in the center of the pie, and wet the outside edge of the dough with your egg wash. Fold the dough on top of itself, lining up the edges, and firmly press the pie closed with a fork.
- Place the pies on a lined (parchment, silpat, foil, whatever) baking sheet. Brush the exterior with the egg wash, and make a few small pricks (haha) in the crust to help vent steam.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
- If your hand pies open a bit when they separate (like ours did) it means you used too much filling or didn't seal them firmly enough. Fortunately, it doesn't mean they're any less delicious, so eat the fuck up.