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Author Notes: These tiny pies are the perfect portable dessert for all of your spring and summer picnics. Rhubarb can tend to break down quite a bit when it is cooked so I added some chopped apples to this recipe for texture and flavor. This recipe will make about 24 small hand pies, but can easily be cut in half for a more modestly sized batch. You can also make the pies smaller or larger depending on your preference. —Yossy Arefi
Makes 24, 3-inch pies
- 24 ounces all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 18 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 6-8 ounces ice cold water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in half of the butter until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size lima beans. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix the water in until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form into discs and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.
Rhubarb and Apple Filling
- 1 pound rhubarb stalks
- 2 medium baking apples, mutsus work well here
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4-6 tablespoons sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- egg for egg wash
- crunchy sugar such as turbinado or demerara for sprinkling
- If your rhubarb has leaves attached remove them (they are inedible and poisonous) then chop the rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel the apples and chop them into slightly smaller pieces.
- Add the chopped rhubarb, 4 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, butter, and vanilla bean seeds and pod to a large skillet. Cook until the rhubarb has released most of its juices and the juices have thickened, about 7-10 minutes. The rhubarb should become jammy in texture. Cool the mixture to room temperature, remove the vanilla bean pod then add the chopped apples and flour and stir to combine. Taste the mixture and if it seems too tart add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- To Assemble the pies: Preheat oven to 400ºF. One at a time, roll each piece of chilled dough roughly 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a 3-inch circle cutter to cut as many circles as possible from the dough. Re-roll the scraps and cut more circles.
- Put half of the circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly brush the edges of the dough with a beaten egg. Add about 1 tablespoon of filling to each piece of dough, making sure that there is a small border of bare dough around the filling. Top each pie with another piece of dough and press the edges to seal well. Put the entire baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Check to make sure all of the pies are well sealed.
- Brush the pies with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Cut a small slit in the top of each pie for ventilation. Bake until deep golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.