HOLY COW!!! I almost missed it—again! But thanks to my fab Twitter feed, I was reminded in the nick of time that today is…….. π (Pi) Day!!!!
Yup, the mathematical constant π (Pi) that is approximately 3.14159 is celebrated every year on March 14th. 3/14 = 3.14 Get it????? Oh so clever!
So, what does one do to celebrate π Day? Well– I guess if you’re a big math fanatic, you may spend your day racing through equations or preparing for the next Math Olympics. OR you can spend your day baking and eating delicious pies.
Seeing how I’m rather mathematically inept, I chose the latter and made these fun Mixed Berry Hand Pies. Crispy, flaky crust filled with tart fresh berries. Scrumptious!
And in case you’re feeling extra naughty today, you can choose to deep fry the hand pies instead of baking them. Why the π not?
And with that Friends, Happy π (Pi) Day!!!
ps. Obviously I was too busy shoving my face with these hand pies to wipe my fingers clean of powdered sugar before snapping this pic. Ooops!
Mixed Berry Hand Pies
Makes 10-12 pies
2 cups diced fresh strawberries
1 cup diced fresh blackberries
½ teaspoon lemon zest
seeds from ½ vanilla bean pod
1½ tablespoons sugar (more if berries are too tart)
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
flour for dusting
1 pound pie dough*
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream or water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.
In a bowl, gently mix together the berries, lemon zest, vanilla beans, sugar and cornstarch. Depending on the sweetness of the berries, more sugar may be added. Set aside.
Dust a workspace with flour and roll the pie dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 5-6 inch round cookie cutter to cut circles out of the dough. Place about 2 spoonfuls of the berry mixture in the center of a pastry circle. Fold over the dough to cover the filling and gently press the edges together to seal. You may also use a fork to crimp the edges to secure the seal. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Transfer the hand pies to the baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and heavy cream/water. Brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash and make a small nick with a sharp knife on top to allow the steam to release while the pies bake.
Bake the hand pies for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t worry if some of the berry filling bubbles out. Once done, allow the hand pies to cool on racks for about 10 minutes. Dust the hand pies with powdered sugar and serve.
Fried Option: If you opt to deep fry your hand pies, do not brush them with the egg wash or cut an air vent in the filled pies. Once formed, refrigerate them for at least 20 minutes. Fill a heavy bottom pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 375 degrees F. In batches, fry the hand pies for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer the hand pies to cooling racks to drain excess oil. After 5 minutes, dust them with powdered sugar and serve.
*When it comes to pie dough, I’m a big fan of using Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough recipe or Martha Stewart’s Patee Brisee recipe. Both yield great results AND they’re both ideal to make double batches of to freeze when you need them.