A few months ago a Brooklyn-based blog made the rounds through the Eat Boutique staff, with resulting ooh and aahs, and more than a few wistful sighs. Ali + Echo is the charming and breathtaking collaboration of two NYC gals, with a love of good food, seasonal eating, and beautiful moments. So we’re over the moon to present this Holiday inspired treat, via the leading ladies themselves! – Amy
Nothing quite signals the beginning of the winter cooking season like the arrival of cranberries. In our world, the holidays are not the holidays (joy is not joy!) without these crimson morsels. Their color and round shape remind us of Santa’s belly and their tart flavor is a welcome change when pears and apples dominate the baking landscape – at least on this sorry coast.
We rarely cook with cranberries outside of these cold months since we try to stick to seasonality as much as we can. Lucky for us, cranberries store well and we always freeze a few bags right after the first harvests in October. But, alas, they’re always gone too soon. We just can’t help ourselves.
Since cranberries come and go so quickly this time of year, they remind us of the holiday season when hams reign supreme, radio stations play that Mariah Carey Christmas song, and friends and family come together in good cheer. It’s this last one, the conviviality around cranberry season, that inspired these little hand pies. Nothing says “I love you” like cranberries, brown sugar and salty caramel wrapped in a flakey pie crust. Right?
During the holiday season, we love to package these in a little box or simply wrap them up with parchment paper and twine. But, really, we wouldn’t judge if you kept them for yourself to nibble with a cup tea. I’ll always believe that Dickens left out the part when Scrooge ate one of these on Christmas morning when his heart was suddenly struck with joy and love.
Cranberry Hand Pies
Makes: 12 hand pies
Ingredients:For the Pastry
- 1 ½ c flour
- 1 cold stick butter
- ½ t salt
- 2 t sugar
- ¼ c water + 3 ice cubes
- 1 c brown sugar
- ⅓ c water
- ½ c heavy cream
- 2 T soft butter
- ½ vanilla pod, seeded
- 2 T orange juice
- 1 t salt
- 2 cups cranberries
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ vanilla pod, seeded
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, whisked
- a 3” and 4” round cookie cutter
- ¼ cup demerara sugar
Directions:Making the Pastry
- Cut the butter into ½ inch dice and stick in the freezer. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer.
- Measure out water, add 3 ice cubes and keep in the fridge.
- Take the butter out of the fridge and toss it with the dry ingredients.
- Beat the flour and butter on a medium speed until the butter resembles small pebbles. Pour in the water while beating on a low speed and mix until the dough just comes together.
- Tip out the dough, gently bringing it together, wrap in Saran and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare all your ingredients ahead: measure brown sugar and water together in a super clean (this is important!) heavy-bottomed sauce pan, and keep the prepped heavy cream, butter, orange juice and salt separately to the side.
- Place the brown sugar and water over a medium heat. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and then boil rapidly until it turns a deep brown.
- Turn off the heat and pour in the heavy cream (it will splatter and bubble, so be careful!), stirring the whole time. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing to incorporate.
- Finally, add the orange juice, vanilla seeds and salt.
- Pour boiling water over cranberries to plump for 10 minutes.
- Drain off water, dry and toss with remaining ingredients.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll out dough to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Using the cookie cutters, cut half into 3” rounds and half into 4” rounds (the larger one will be the top crust). Place the rounds on the baking sheets and freeze for 5 minutes.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of caramel onto each of the small rounds. Stack 8-10 cranberries on the caramel, leaving enough space around the edges to seal. Drizzle a little extra caramel over the top
- Brush the edges of the bottom round with egg wash and place the larger round on top, using your fingers to press the dough all around. Crimp the edges with a fork and then use the 3” round to cut a clean edge. This also helps seal them.
- Brush egg wash over the top and make a small X in the center to vent. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Divide pies onto prepared baking sheets and chill for 30 minutes.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and serve with some yummy ice cream.
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