Art school is serious business, I’ve come to realize. Since J is taking a suicidal course load this quarter and working, he really hasn’t had time for anything else. The occasional shower and a few hours of sleep, stolen at the expense of working on his charcoal drawing or showering the house in balsa sawdust for 3D design, are luxuries these days.
Relationships are the true casualty of these busy seasons, and we’re trying to be intentional about carving out time for those we value most. We are blessed with such great people here in Savannah. The few months we’ve been here have felt like a lifetime, and we have accumulated a proportional amount of friends. They miss us when we’re too busy to stop by on a Monday night to drink cosmos and shoot the breeze. So J organized a party–the many birds with one stone approach–to wrap up all the “we should have coffee sometime” debts he owed.
J and I have very different approaches to entertaining. He buys a box of PBRs, a big bag of Doritos, and maybe a few of those awful Red Baron pizzas. I would rather make a buffet dinner of finger foods and Three Buck Chuck. This time we compromised: He bought the beer & chips, and I made hand pies.
Okay, what is a hand pie? Well, truth be told, it’s a grown-up Pop Tart. Hand pies are the perfect use for all those scraps of pie dough shivering in their plastic baggies in the freezer, and all the half-eaten jars of jam and scraps of cheese in the fridge. It is a scavenger’s endeavor.
We had half a jar of kumquat marmalade and some chocolate butter on hand from crepes last weekend, and a forgotten nub of cheese from the farmers’ market and some fig and cherry-lemon jams cluttering up the refrigerator. Perfect. I also mixed the last bit of brown sugar clinging to the bottom of the jar with a spot of melted butter and a hefty dusting of cinnamon for those wary of kumquats and figs.
And then it was a matter of rolling out the pie dough on a floured Silpat, cutting it into rectangles, filling, and sealing the little guys. The cherry-lemon ones exploded in the oven, necessitating a move to a different baking sheet halfway through. They were still damn tasty. I let them cool on the porch in our strange balmy January weather.
And yes, our friends demolished every last one. I was hoping to experiment with putting one in the toaster the following morning, but that will have to wait for next time.
- 1 recipe pie dough, enough for a double-crust pie
- Jams & compotes
- chocolate butter, ganache or Nutella
- brown sugar & cinnamon, mixed together with a few tsp. of melted butter to form a sugar paste
- Bits of cheese, especially those on the softer side like brie or chevre
- Anything else that sounds awesome (Sliced peaches with brown sugar, cardamom, & ginger? Ham & cheddar? Bananas & homemade caramel? I could go on all day.)
- If you’ve just made your pie dough, allow to chill in the fridge for about an hour, or until cold all the way through. If you have frozen dough, allow to defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Prepare a baking tray by lining with parchment paper or a Silpat, and set aside.
- Roll dough to a 1/4″ thickness on a floured surface. I like using my Silpat and tapioca starch or white rice flour for this. Slice into 3″x3″ squares, and dollop half the squares with about 1 Tbsp. of your desired filling to within 1/2″ of the edges. At this point, my dough is usually too soft to work with, so I put the Silpat on a tray in the freezer for a few minutes. Use a spatula to work the squares loose, and match tops to bottoms. Press edges together and crimp with a fork, poking a few air holes in the top.
- Place pies on prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pies begin to brown around the edges and on the bottom. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, and remove to a wire rack to cool completely. (Or enough to the point where the filling is no longer molten.)