Jaggery & Cream Cheese Hand Pies

February  2, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • makes 8 pastries
Test Kitchen Notes

Jaggery is a sugar product hailing from Southeast Asia and Africa. Its flavor profile is similar to that of muscovado—a molasses-heavy sugar that is unrefined. These sweet cream cheese pastries start with a super tender pastry crust made with cream cheese for extra richness, and are then filled with a cashew and almond filling, sweetened with a bit of the jaggery. Eat straight out of the oven, or save and reheat in the toaster to have as a breakfast treat reminiscent of our favorite childhood toaster pastry. —Food52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Jaggery & Cream Cheese Hand Pies
  • For the pastry crust:
  • 300 grams (2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 25 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher
  • 100 grams (about 7 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams (about 3 ½ ounces) cold cream cheese, broken into pieces
  • 6 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a fork
  • For the filling:
  • 50 grams (1 ¾ ounces) jaggery, roughly chopped (heaping ¼ cup)
  • 50 grams (⅓ cup) raw cashews
  • 50 grams (⅓ cup) raw almonds
  1. Make the pastry dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to incorporate it until you get a texture that looks like peas and bread crumbs. Add the cream cheese and use your fingers to combine until it resembles gravel. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it just holds together when squeezed. (If you’d like, you can also make the dough in a food processor.)
  2. Transfer the dough to a work surface. Knead the dough for a few seconds just to combine, then divide the dough in half. Flatten each piece of dough slightly, and shape into a rough rectangle. Wrap both in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour to 2 days.
  3. Make the filling: In a food processor, pulse together the jaggery, cashews, and almonds until you get a coarse powder.
  4. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. On a floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough (leaving the other piece in the fridge) into a roughly 12x10-inch rectangle, then trim the edges straight. Working from the longer side, cut the big rectangle into 8 rectangles.
  5. Place 4 rectangles on one of the prepared sheet pans. Leaving a 1-centimeter border, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling evenly over the surface of each rectangle. Working with one at a time, brush the border of one piece of dough with egg wash, then place one of the remaining rectangles on top of the filling and press all sides together to seal. Brush the top of each pie with a little egg wash.
  6. Prick the surface of the top rectangle a few times with a fork, then firmly press the fork tines around the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining 3 pies on this sheet pan, then transfer to the refrigerator. Repeat the same with the other portion of the dough, then refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  7. While the pies are chilling, heat the oven to 355°F, with a rack in the upper and lower third. Bake both trays of pies for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking, until the pastries are lightly golden. After a few minutes, transfer to a wire rack, then let cool completely.

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1 Review

Smaug February 4, 2023
I was mostly interested in the pastry here; my winter project this year has been rugelach, and this dough had elements of American style rugelach pastry, as well as pie crust and faux puff pastry. With the current absurdly elevated grocery prices, going out and buying stuff is not so attractive, and I used what I had- almonds, walnuts and Muscovado sugar- for the filling. I also made them as turnovers, as I thought I could make more efficient use of the dough that way (I only made 1/4 recipe).
The pastry came together easily enough; I rubbed the fats in by hand, which usually produces the tenderest doughs. The pastry came out well- it's tender and flaky, but seemed a little dry, for reasons I don't really get; it's a high enough fat content, certainly. Of course the filling doesn't provide a lot of moisture, and my sugar was somewhat old and was fairly dry; jaggery usually contains quite a bit of moisture. I liked the flavor; it's tempting to throw in some cinnamon or something, but as the idea is to highlight the sugar, best not to. All in all, the pies were pleasant with coffee or milk.