Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sundays with Sparky - Father's Day: Peach Hand Pies with Lavender Cream

As you will find out soon enough, I am enamored of hand pies.  We love empanadas, we love oggies, we love turnovers.  The Most Ravenous Head of Household was on shift for Father's Day - and I thought hand pies would be a perfect dessert for sharing at work.

I was kind of itching to invent something new, though, and I'd been lucky enough to score some beautiful white peaches this week.  Peach handpies have been done - that's where I got my beloved pastry recipe from in the first place, and, indeed, peach-bourbon would have been butch enough for my purposes, but it's been done.  Besides, for the first year ever, we've got lavender blooming in the back 40 (inches)...a perfect match for peaches...then I just happened to find a tub of marscapone in the fridge - and this recipe was born.  Sadly, peaches and cream flavored with flowers is just not butch - but I suppose a basket of warm pies ease the sting. (My poor hubby got called Jenn-Wahz for a week after he accidentally accurately identified a sponge cake in front of his co-workers.  Living with me comes at a price.)

So I sent Sparky out into the garden with instructions to snip the tops off the lavender flowers - and, with a murderous gleam in his eye, he immediately complied.  We then went inside and got to work.

Using frozen butter and a cheese grater, Sparky grated the butter into a bowl of salted flour.  After we carefully mixed the grated butter and flour together (having everything well chilled is crucial to the success of this recipe) we made a well in the middle of it, and added half our wet ingredients.  We incorporated them quickly, with a spatula, then hands, adding more liquid as necessary to get a rough-textured dough that immediately went into the freezer.  The idea here is to keep the butter as solid as possible, as that's what gives you beautiful, flaky pastry.

We then turned our attention to the filling:

  • 4  peaches, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp flour, separated
  • 1 tbsp demerara or brown sugar (or to taste; it really depends on your peaches)
  • 8 oz mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lavender flowers
  • 2 eggs

We diced the peaches, sprinkled them with a tablespoon or so of demerara sugar and a tablespoon of flour and set them aside.  Then we whipped the tub of mascarpone with the sugar, two teaspoons of snipped lavender flowers, a tablespoon of flour, and two egg - and poured it into a flat container which we immediately stuck in the freezer and left for 20 minutes to help it set up (don't start assembling until this mixture is firm enough to scoop.)

We rolled out the pastry about 1/4" thick and cut it into circles (at this point, we've invested in hand-pie forms.  You don't need them, but the little hollow in the middle does make runny fillings much easier.)  We  layered a spoonful of peaches and a scoop of lavendar mascarpone, and then painted the outside edge with water and a little flour, and squished the two sides together (getting a good seal is really important, or your filling will leak out as they cook.)  Place the hand-pies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, cut a slit in the top side to vent the steam, and stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes (or longer - once they are frozen solid, you can wrap them well and save them for a pie emergency.  They happen.)

When you're ready to bake, brush the tops with a bit of egg wash (1 egg yolk and 2 tbsp water beaten together - or you could just use cream) and sprinkle with some demerara sugar.  We baked our treasures in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to 400 until they were a beautiful golden brown (if your pies are frozen solid, add 5 minutes to the first step.)  Then we packed them up, and drove off to meet Dad!

Happy Father's Day, All!

(edited to add candid photos!)

1 comment:

Michele Hays said...

Special thanks to Rebekah of for giving the nod to this post in the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest!

Post a Comment