It’s been a long haul and wending our way through 765 posts has taken time to say the least. But at last we’ve arrived on Publication Day One of the new and improved Chewing the Fat. And it seems so appropriate that someone who gives as much time and care and contributions should have the first post. Here are Andrew’s Fig Raspberry Hand Pies.
A take-off on a recipe in Martha’s Stewart’s Pies and Tarts (Clarkson Potter 2011), credit is given to Joey Gallagher, whose daughter is Dana is a frequent photographer in Martha Stewart Living. But I give full credit to Andrew, whose recipe for the juicy fig and raspberry filling is all his. Farm stand Figs and Raspberries are combined with lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and honey to form a perfect filling for Pate Brisée pastry. That pastry is then crimped and covered in Demerara sugar for a wonderful crunch in every bite.
The hand pie is a child of the South, most famously of a bakery in New Orleans called Hubigs. The bakery burned to the ground in 2012, the victim of a lard fire, never to be rebuilt again. But the pie itself is still a staple across the South, gratefully discovered and church bake sales, picnics and in many a southern Grandmother’s kitchen. Andrew’s Hand Pies even made it to this year’s Hampton Classic where they joined his Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and his favorite Brownie Recipe.
Like all recipes with a tradition behind them, there’s some debate about what makes a true Hand Pie. Historically, the fillings were made with rehydrated dried fruits since fresh fruit was too wet to support the pastry. More recently, dried and fresh fruits thickened with sugar have come into the hand pie universe.
Need I tell you, being Southern, Hand pies are usually deep fried, or fried in a cast iron skillet. But the ‘health conscious’ among us bake them in the oven. The real challenge here is to put just the right amount of filling into each. Easy does it is the rule here. Even if you’re tempted to load it on, don’t. And rolling the dough thin helps the pies from being gummy. Here’s Andrew’s recipe:
Recipe for Andrew’s Fig Raspberry Hand Pies
For the Pate Brisée:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter. Process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream just until dough comes together. (Do not process more than 30 seconds.)
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten dough, and shape into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or overnight).
For Andrew’s Fig Raspberry Filling:
2 pints Figs, cut in half, tops removed.
½ pint Raspberries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Zest of 1 Whole Lemon
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Ginger
¼ tsp. Fresh Ground Nutmeg
2 tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup Water
Demerara Sugar for finishing.
Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring and mashing until the mixture is completely combined and the resulting filling is the consistency of fruit preserves. About 15 minutes. The mixture can be stored for up to 4 days until ready to use.
To make the hand pies:
On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the disks of dough out into a large round about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 12 three inch disks. Transfer the disks to a parchment or SilPat lined rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat the process with a 4-inch cookie cutter to make 12 more rounds. Do not refrigerate these.
Take liberal tablespoons of the Fig Raspberry filling and place them in the center of the chlled 3 inch rounds. Brush ice water around the edges of the dough; cover each with an un-chilled 4 inch round. Gently press the edges together to seal. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each hand pie in a cross-hatch pattern. Brush with water and generously sprinkle with the Demerara sugar. Bae 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking until the pastry is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the hand pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Or let cool completely and store in an air-tight container at room temperature up to 4 days.