Baked Hand Pies featuring Heavenly Rhubarb Jam. Made with an easy, flaky homemade pie dough and a family favourite pineapple strawberry rhubarb jam. Perfectly portioned and using only a few simple ingredients, even beginner bakers can master these adorable little pies.
Originally published June 2020.
Olivia here again! It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I’ve just moved into a new apartment in Parkdale, and upgraded to a much larger kitchen. It’s where I’ve been spending most of my time, and these Heavenly Rhubarb Baked Hand Pies are my latest creation.
Rhubarb was a real indicator of spring growing up in Newfoundland. I remember it growing in my Nan’s yard in Norman’s Cove alongside prickly currants. At my first job making waffles at the St. John’s Farmer’s Market, the seasonal rhubarb topping would run out faster than any other.
Now that I live in Toronto, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for rhubarb the past few weeks. I was so happy to find some at my go-to fruit stand on West Queen West.
Heavenly Rhubarb Jam
Heavenly Rhubarb Jam is a family favourite recipe that my great-grandmother used to make. Dad updated that recipe a few years ago to use fresh or frozen fruit instead of canned pineapple and Jello.
For these baked hand pies, I actually adapted the jam recipe again to incorporate No Sugar Needed Pectin. It serves several functions here. Firstly, it helps set the jam more effectively, making it less likely to ooze out of your hand pies (although it’s not a big deal if that does happen.)
Secondly, it allows you to use less sugar, adjusting the sweetness of the jam to your taste. I prefer a less sweet jam, which allows the tartness of the rhubarb and the natural sweetness of the golden pineapple to shine through.
The amount of jam this particular recipe yields makes enough for 10 hand pies, plus an extra 250 ml jar. Spread that on toast, use it as an ice cream topping like my cousin Celia, or eat it by the spoonful because it’s THAT good.
Of course, you can also use whatever jam you have on hand.
Yes, you CAN make great homemade pie crust!
So, let’s talk about pie. Pie can be daunting. Scrolling through Instagram I often see elaborately latticed pies so beautiful it seems a shame to even cut them.
Here’s the thing: if you can make a good pie dough, no matter what it ends up looking like, it’s one of the most satisfying things you can bake.
This brings me to hand pies. I love them. They are perfect little pockets that lower the stakes of making pie. If you mess one up, you still have nine more chances to make a better one.
You can eat these baked hand pies without any dishes, so they’re a great treat to take on picnics or pass out at parties. Best of all, you can make a little pie just for yourself. Have another the next day for breakfast. You have my explicit permission to eat pie for breakfast.
Tips for pie dough
There are a few easy tricks to make a good pie dough. Using half butter and half shortening makes for optimal flakiness.
Make sure the fats are very cold, and only use enough ice water to bring the dough together. The trick here is not to overwork the dough. It’s okay if it is a little crumbly, so long as it holds together.
Chilling the dough before rolling is essential. Be sure to take the time to do so. It also helps to chill the cut out pie rounds for 15 minutes before assembling the baked hand pies.
Even if your pies look a little messy, I promise they will still be a rustic and delicious treat. Happy hand pie-making!
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Heavenly Rhubarb Hand Pies. Made with an easy, flaky homemade pie dough and a family favourite pineapple strawberry rhubarb jam. Perfectly portioned and using only a few simple ingredients, even beginner bakers can master these adorable little pies.
For the pastry
- 1/2 cup very cold butter, cut in small cubes
- 1/2 cup very cold vegetable shortening, cut in small cubes
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup ice water, use only enough to make a dough form.
- 1 tbsp plain white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Heavenly Rhubarb Jam
- 3 cups diced rhubarb, fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, diced small
- One 49g package No Sugar Needed Pectin (I use Bernardin Brand)
- 2/3 cup sugar, more or less to taste
To Finish the Hand Pies
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp water, to use as an egg wash
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar, to sprinkle on top
To prepare the pastry
- Using a food processor or a pastry cutter, cut cold butter and shortening into flour and salt until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible, about the size of peas.
- Pour vanilla and vinegar into ice cold water, then pour over the flour mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form.
- Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible. It’s okay if it looks a little crumbly, as long as it holds together.
- Divide the dough into 2 balls, flatten them into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. You will use both of these rounds for the hand pies. It helps to work in 2 “batches” of dough to keep it cold.
To prepare the Heavenly Rhubarb Jam
- Combine the package of No Sugar Needed Pectin and all of the chopped fruit in a medium-sized 2 quart pot. Simmer gently over low heat for about 40 minutes.
- After this time when the fruit has broken down, add ⅔ cup sugar and boil hard for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Allow the jam to cool completely before assembling the pies. You can put it in the fridge once it has cooled off a little.
- Once the pies have been assembled, I simply keep the leftover jam in a jar in the fridge for up to one week… even though it rarely lasts that long!
To assemble the Hand Pies
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Take one round of dough out of the fridge. You may need to let it rest for a few minutes in order to roll it out.
- On a lightly floured surface, begin rolling the first round of dough into a large circle about an ⅛ inch thick. Always roll from the center to the edges with even pressure, keeping the dough as level as you can.
- Using a 3-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Roll the scraps out and cut again.
- Place the first round of pie dough circles in the fridge. Repeat the previous steps for the second round of dough, making sure to put the circles in the fridge once you’ve finished cutting them out.
- Take the first round of chilled pie circles from the fridge. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of jam onto half of the circles, making sure to leave the edges clean of jam. These are the bottom layers.
- With a knife, cut a small heart into the other half of the circles, or simply make an X-shaped slit. These will be the tops of the hand pies.
- Place the tops of the pies onto the bottom layers, and use your fingers to press the edges closed. Using a fork, press along the edges of the pies to fully seal them shut.
- Repeat the assembly steps for the second round of pie dough circles which have been chilling in the fridge.
- On a parchment-lined aluminum baking sheet, brush the hand pies with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on how brown you like your pie crust.
Bake times will vary based on your oven. I usually bake these hand pies for a minimum of 25 minutes.
Amount Per Serving Calories 279Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 25mgSodium 62mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 1gSugar 8gProtein 3g
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.