One fateful Christmas Day, my brother called me and asked, “Do you have a rolling pin?” As quickly as I’d replied, “No,” he’d ended the call with a swift “Cool, see you later!”
Later that day, I opened some interestings gifts from my brother and sister-in-law: a rolling pin and a cookbook for one. This would have been totally appropriate had I loved baking and I was a single woman, except I steered clear from baking as much as possible and I was happily married.
All that to say, baking and I have an estranged relationship. I often don’t read recipes, or I forget vegetable oil and just pray the baked goods are edible. Then, there are the times that baking and I get along: when there are minimal ingredients and when there’s not a lot of decorating required. Enter, handpies.
What I love about handpies is that you can be as much on the go when you make them as when you eat them. Make the dough, let it chill, take a nap, roll out the dough, add the fruit, pinch the edges, then bake until golden brown, and that’s seven steps to handpies, or six if you’re not a naptaker.
And for no-fuss bakers, these peach handpies are perfectly imperfect. Don't worry too much about perfecting the shape of each handpie, just know that you’re making something that will be perfectly delicious.
Enveloped in a flaky, buttery crust threaded with lemon zest, these handpies nestle the cherished summer fruit: peaches. If you’re like me and you’ve bought too many peaches without a plan, leaving with armfuls from the farmers market as if they won’t return next summer, here’s how to use ‘em up. And thanks to my brother, my Christmas present gets some use each year when peach season rolls around.
Perfectly Imperfect Peach Handpies
Makes 6 handpies
I N G R E D I E N T S
For the pastry dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + a few tablespoons for surface
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, quartered
1/4 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)
For the peach filling:
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups peaches, about 4 peeled and diced into half-inch pieces (can also use frozen, thawed)
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
For the egg wash:
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp raw sugar
M E T H O D
Make the pastry dough. In a food processor, add the flour and salt. Pulse until combined. Add the pieces of butter on either side of the blade. Pulse until you reach a crumbly consistency, a bit smaller than pea-sized. Add the yogurt. Pulse until the dough comes together. Remove dough from food processor, form into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Note: You can make the pastry dough up to two days ahead. Just let it sit out for about 30 minutes to warm up and become more pliable.
Make the pie filling. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Add butter to coat the skillet, then add the peaches, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Stir together and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring every couple minutes until the peaches start to brown and the liquid has thickened and become syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge. Allow dough to warm up for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400.
Work the dough. On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to a roughly 14-by-8-inch rectangle, then cut into six even pieces. Roll each piece into balls. Then roll out each ball into roughly 5-inch discs. Place discs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Note: If your dough becomes sticky while rolling it out, add a small amount of flour on your surface or chill the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Assemble the pies. Add about 1/3 cup peach filling in the center of each disc. Fold over each disc, like a taco, to close the handpie. Press the edges gently with your fingers, then go back with the tines of a fork to tightly seal each pie. Cut three small vents into the top of each handpie.
Add finishing touches. Whisk together the egg and water for the egg wash, then brush this over each pie. Sprinkle raw sugar on each.
Bake and enjoy! Bake for 17–19 minutes, or until the tops become golden brown. The filling might spill out a little on the baking sheet. No need to fret here, this is what makes them so lovely and rustic. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Note: These are best when just baked, but you can keep your handpies in an airtight container in room temperature for up to one week.
Photos by Gian Valdivia.