A hand pie is literally that, one you form by hand and one you eat in your hand! They can be as higgeldy-piggeldy as you like in shape as long as you make sure all sides are sealed so the filling stays put (though as you’ll see from our photo this is a virtual impossibility and some of the fruity juices will inevitably leak out). This makes them look even more hand-made so they will be even more of a success. Use any fruit.
300g any soft fruit (frozen and defrosted or fresh)
6 tablespoons caster sugar
250g chilled pastry (shortcrust or puff pastry, home-made or shop-bought)
1 egg yolk, whisked with a fork
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Heat the fruit in a saucepan over a medium heat with half the sugar until the sugar has melted and you have a thick syrup (3-5 minutes). Leave to cool.
3. Roll out the pastry onto a floured board. Cut it into rectangles trimming all sides with a sharp knife. It doesn’t matter how large or small they are as you will adjust the amount of fruit you put in them to suit the size. Spoon a little caster sugar onto half of each rectangle leaving a half inch space all round (this will soak up the fruit juices). Spoon a little fruit on top of the sugar. Fold half the pastry on top of the fruit and press each side down gently to seal. Do this with each rectangle of pastry until you have used them all up. Brush each one well with beaten egg yolk and make a few slits in each one with a sharp knife. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake until golden (about 15-25 minutes depending on size, judge it by how golden they become – see our photograph).
– Use this pastry and method to make any type of fruit pie: use poached apples or even tinned fruit (no need to cook it with the sugar, drain the fruit well and sit it on top of the caster sugar on the pastry – it’s sweet enough already and already-cooked). To make savoury hand pies cook the mixture first, leave to cook and fill (try potatoes or squash with peas flavoured with curry paste for a samosa-type pie or use leftover spaghetti bolognese sauce and add a finely chopped chilli to make easy Italian Beef Hand Pies).
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