Our peaches out on the East End of Long Island are outstanding this year. They’re glorious to look at—all those colors from deep golden yellow mottled with shades of orange and red, almost to purple. It seems almost a shame to peel them, let alone cover with them with flaky pastry. Waiting under the skin is that juiciest of fruits, as golden as can be. And if you want an ideal picnic item, you can’t really do better than this Peach Hand Pie. It’s just the right size to be eaten in about two bites. Inside is the delectable peach itself – so sweet that there’s hardly any sugar in the recipe. That is, if you don’t count the Turbinado sugar Andrew has baked right into the crust making these a crispy, flaky treat. Then the icing on the pie adds another layer of sweetness. Off they went to the beach where they were devoured by our guests. One, I counted, ate 6 all by himself.
The recipe for Andrew’s version came from Lisa Donovan, writing for Food and Wine magazine a couple of years ago. Lisa even offers up the suggestion that the uncooked Hand Pies, naked of their egg wash and Turbinado sugar, can be frozen for up to a month in advance, popped in the oven for a last-minute dessert. On that timetable, these might even make it to your first tailgate picnic in the Fall. A reminder of just how wonderful this summer’s peaches were.
Andrew insists these are not at all hard to make. You make the filling first, the skin of the peaches slipping off the peaches easily once they are parboiled. Do this first and remember the filling has to cool to room temperature before it goes into the fridge for a good two hours until it’s cold. The dough is fairly standard and it too requires an hour in the fridge. When both filling and dough are chilled, the fun begins. You roll out the dough, get out a 4 inch biscuit cutter and stamp out rounds until you have 16 of them. These too get refrigerated for 30 minutes. Then it’s really a matter of spooning the filling into the center of each pastry round and folding them in half, sealing them with your fingers. Make two slits to allow the steam to escape. Onto the baking sheet, brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with Turbinado and ta-da! Bake and 18 minutes later Peach Hand Pies! Here is the recipe:
Peach Hand Pies
The perfect portable peach dessert. Ripe peaches encased in a crunchy pastry topped with sugar and icing.
- For the Filling:
- 3 small peaches (about 12 ounces)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- For the Dough:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- For the Icing:
- 1 ½ cups confectionary sugar
- ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 5-5 ½ tsp. Milk
- Step 1 Make the peach filling
- Step 2 Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Using a sharp paring knife, mark an X on the bottom of each peach. Add the peaches to the saucepan and blanch until the skins start to peel away, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath and let cool completely. Peel, halve and pit the peaches and cut into 1/4-inch pieces. You should have about 2 cups. Wipe out the saucepan.
- Step 3 In the same saucepan, combine the peaches with all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and syrupy, about 12 minutes. Scrape the filling into a small bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until cold, 2 hours.
- Step 4 Meanwhile, make the dough
- Step 5 In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Scatter the butter over the flour and, using your fingers, pinch it in until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs, with some pieces the size of small peas. Stir in the ice water just until a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently to form a ball. Pat into a 1-inch-thick round, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Step 6 Preheat the oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out 1 piece of dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out 6 rounds and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Top with a layer of parchment paper. Gather the scraps and form into a ball. Roll out again and stamp out 2 more rounds. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Step 7 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 dough round at a time, brush the rim with the beaten egg. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling into the center and fold the round in half to enclose. Press the edge firmly to seal and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, arranging the hand pies 2 inches apart on the sheets. Brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Using a paring knife, cut 2 small slits in each hand pie. Bake until puffed and golden brown, shifting the pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, 18 minutes. Transfer the hand pies to a rack and let cool slightly.
- Step 8 While the hand pies bake, make the icing:
- Step 9 Whisk confectionary sugar, vanilla extract and milk thoroughly until smooth. Add more milk and sugar until you achieve the consistency you want.
- Step 10 Once hand pies are completely cook, drizzle icing over each one. Let icing set before serving Hand pies.