It is hard to believe that this is my first quarantine post. I have been extremely busy with my bakery business. A great deal has changed since March – how we operate, changes in our pastries and our staffing etc. After a few months of hustling in the kitchen, I finally found some time to write a post here because of a fellow blogger friend Amy Ho’s new book Blooms and Baking. What are the chances that we both live in Vancouver and have published our books with the same publisher?
I have always been fan of Amy’s blog Constellation Inspiration where she shares her creative recipes and tutorials. I am also and avid follower of her Instagram account. She is incredibly talented and now we have the opportunity to learn some of those skills. I was so excited when I received a copy of her new book Blooms and Baking. I love using flowers in baking, they are great both for garnishes and as flavourings. Today I am sharing a recipe from the book: Floral Hand Pies – they are so cute and delicious!
Floral Hand Pies
All-Butter Pie Crust
- 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 2-1/2 cups fresh strawberries hulled and diced
- 3 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
Royal Icing Glaze
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp whole milk or water
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Gel food coloring, as needed (optional)
- Fresh or dried culinary-grade edible flowers, as needed
- Make the all-butter pie crust. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated salt, and salt. Add the butter. With a pastry cutter or a fork, quickly cut the butter into the flour mixture until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay).
- In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the water, ice, and vinegar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the ice-water mixture over the flour mixture and mix with a spatula until the water is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice-water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) at a time. Using the spatula or your hands, mix until the dough comes together in a ball with some dry, shaggy bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch the dough with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small splashes of the ice-water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
- Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (or overnight), to give the dough time to rest.
- Make the strawberry filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the strawberries, orange juice, granulated sugar, and salt. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until some of the strawberries break down and some remain whole but soft. Remove the filling from the heat and allow it to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the disk of dough until it reaches ¼ inch (6 mm) in thickness. Using a 2- or 3-inch (5- or 7.5-cm) cookie cutter, stamp out an even number of circles. Place a large spoonful of the strawberry filling in the centers of half of the dough circles. Take a second dough circle and gently lay it on top of a filled circle. Using the tines of a fork, press down on the edges to seal the hand pie. Once all the hand pies have been sealed, use the fork to prick holes in the tops to allow steam to escape during baking. Transfer the hand pies to the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the egg wash on the hand pies.
- Bake the hand pies for 24 to 28 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove the hand pies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer the hand pies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the royal icing glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and food coloring (if using) until the glaze reaches a spreadable consistency. Add more milk if needed.
- Using the back of a small spoon, spread a thin layer of the royal icing glaze on each cooled hand pie. To garnish the hand pies, arrange the edible flowers on top of the glaze before it sets.
These pies taste as good as they look. My favourite part of the recipe is actually the pie crust. It is very flakey and tender. The technique to a good pie crust is not to overwork the pastry as any good baker would tell you. For the glaze, I didn’t have any gel food colouring at home, so I used a little bit of freeze dried strawberry powder instead. It is a great alternative to artificial colouring if you are concerned, though colouring is optional.
Besides recipes, Blooms and Baking also has a chapter dedicated to decoration tutorials and techniques such has decorating cakes with fresh flowers, making your own pressed flowers, and piping buttercream flowers. The pages are filled with Amy’s detailed instructions and beautiful photos. It is my favourite section of the book. Needless to say, the recipes are just as wonderful.