I can think of no other dessert as satisfying and nostalgic as a summer fruit pie. Growing up, my grandfather always chose pie over cake or cookies, and I’m definitely my grandfather’s granddaughter that way. He taught me that pie can be breakfast, and a scoop of ice cream on top is always the appropriate accoutrement. Serious family wisdom, y’all.
Needless to say, I’m crazy for a juicy fruit filling, encased in a flaky, buttery pastry crust, but honestly, making a whole pie can feel a bit daunting. Enter, the hand pie. Not only are hand pies cute, portion-controlled twists on pie, they are portable and there’s no need to slice!
These pies combine one of my favorite fruit fillings, sweet and juicy summer peaches, with a tangy, creamy, cheesecake-like filling. The combination is a no-brainer in my book and a total crowd-pleaser. These pies are an adaptable party food, as they can be made ahead, frozen and baked-off as needed.
Let’s get started by making the pie dough. What good thing doesn’t begin with butter?
We combine butter with dry ingredients to make a coarse meal. It looks a bit like a shaggy mess, but we add super cold water to coax everything together. Cold ingredients are preferable for pie-making because it encourages maximum evaporation, which helps us achieve that flaky, tender crust we all know and love.
Once we bring the dough together and let it chill out, we make the fillings! First up, cream cheese, an egg yolk and brown sugar meet and mingle.
After we mix the cream cheese filling and we toss the peaches with some sugar and cornstarch, we roll out…the dough, that is. Then, cut it up!
Next, we spoon the fillings onto our little circles of dough.
Then, it’s time to seal and crimp. Crimping makes for securely sealed pies and pretty edges.
Then we brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I just love a crackly-sugar topped pie.
Then they’re off to the oven.