brown sugar cranberry hand pies

happy day before thanksgiving, lovies!!

i have a few crazy to-do lists and a huge calendar all with criss crosses and huge red pen circles and exclamation marks and arrows because i’m in the midst of the craziest two weeks of my life!! but tomorrow, i get to sit in a car for 3 hours as my dad drives us to brooklyn for our yearly family thanksgiving! it’s become my tradition to bring a homemade cheesecake every year and i’ll surely be upholding that this year! with a twist! i’ve decided to go with a matcha (zebra design) cheesecake instead of the usual classic new york version. sooo excited for everyone to see how it looks as we cut into it!

anyway, we’re not here today to talk about cheesecake! i wanted to share a quick recipe with you all. brown sugar cranberry hand pies! if you’re still stuck for an amazing thanksgiving dessert, give these a try! although pie dough and hand pies aren’t exactly new around here, i thought i’d still walk you through these step by step!

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in case you’re kinda new around here, let’s talk about pie dough. my personal favorite is an extremely simple all-butter pie dough that only requires a few ingredients. if you follow my instructions exactly, you’ll end up with crazyyyy tender and FLAKYFLAKYFLAKY pie crust! it’s sooo easy and you’ll be obsessed!

things to keep in mind as we move on:

keep everything extremely cold. i keep my water in the freezer as i’m working on the butter.
no need for fancy equipment- i only use my hands!
DO NOT over knead!
add only a bit of water at a time.
ideally, make your dough the night before you use it.
make sure you have room in the fridge to chill rolled out dough!

make ahead: 
you can make the dough up to 2 days before you use it.
filling can be prepared up to 3 days before you use it, stored in the fridge.

let’s do this!

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makes about 12-14 mini hand pies

for pie dough:
2 1/2 cups (315g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
8-9 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

for filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

egg wash + topping
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
raw turbinado sugar


make the pie dough. i usually make this a day before i need it.
in a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and very cold butter. lightly toss everything around with your hands to coat the butter with flour. then, start flattening and breaking up the pieces of butter in your hands, between your thumbs and forefingers. you want to end up with some bigger flat pieces of butter, and other smaller varied pea sized pieces. work quickly because you want everything to stay cold. the mixture should resemble course meal.

add the ice water a couple tablespoons at a time. toss around lightly with a spoon to hydrate the flour and fully combine. dough should hold together when squeezed but not be overly wet or sticky. you can knead the dough to bring everything together but DO NOT over-knead it or your crust will be tough. push dough into a single clump, divide into two equal pieces. form a disc with each piece and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. store in the fridge right away for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.

prepare the filling. since cranberries are in season right now, i’ve been using only fresh cranberries! this also means that it’s very easy for me to cut most of the cranberries in half for my filling! i do this so i can pack more cranberries into each small hand pie! this is optional but recommended.
in a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and mix together to thoroughly coat all cranberries. set aside in room temp or in fridge.

line a baking tray with parchment paper. use a tray that will fit easily into your fridge. set to the side.

roll out pie dough. heavily flour your work surface. and rolling pin. take one disc of dough out of the fridge. dust a little flour on top of the disc and start gently flattening it into a circle with the rolling pin, picking the dough up and turning (rotate) it on the the surface every couple rolls to make sure it’s not sticking. when disc is slightly flattened, start gently rolling it out until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.

cut out circles with a 3 inch circle cookie cutter. place cut outs onto parchment paper lined baking tray. bring together the scrap and re-roll and cut again. if scraps became too soft and sticky, form into a tight ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge.
place tray of cut circles to chill in the fridge. repeat roll and cut with second disc of dough.

assemble. take out the first tray of now chilled dough cut outs. with a small shape cookie cutter such as a heart or a star, cut out the centers of half of the circles. alternatively, you can just cut lines. working quickly, place about 2 tablespoons of filling onto the other half of the circles. place tops on and seal all the way around with the prongs of a small fork.
place entire tray of assembled pies into the fridge for 15 minutes.

preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

brush hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. bake for 28-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. repeat with second tray.

serve warm with ice cream and ENJOY!




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