Yet another cold and rainy day here in Maine today, I'm needing the warmth of the wood stove, or better yet, the oven! I have fresh strawberries and cream cheese in the fridge, I think some Strawberry Cream Cheese Hand Pies are in order. A tender light and flaky crust wrapping itself around a not to sweet filling of strawberries and cream cheese, with a hint of lemon. Oh yeah, this days getting better already!
Recipe makes 12 3-1/2" pies
For the strawberry filling...
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups fresh strawberries , sliced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour,sifted
For the cream cheese filling...
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg yolk
For the crust...
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks) cold, cut into small cubes
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons cold milk
1 egg for egg wash
coarse sugar, optional
1. Prepare the filling first. Place butter in a medium saucepan on medium, heat until butter starts to brown. Add strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Stir to incorporate and bring to a low simmer. Cook 5 minutes until strawberries have released their juices. Remove pan from burner and cool completely. Add flour and stir to combine. Spread the mixture into a large
plate and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. In a small bowl, whisk cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk until smooth. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
3. In a bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse several times to mix. Add cold butter cubes and pulse only until pea sized lumps remain. In a small bowl beat together, the egg and milk and add to the dry ingredients and pulse until moisture is introduced throughout all of the flour mixture. Do not over process. Transfer flour mixture to a lightly floured work surface, and gather mixture together until it forms a ball. Divide evenly in half and shape into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Remove one disk from the refrigerator and on a well floured surface, roll the dough out to an 11-1/2X11-1/2" square, shy of 1/8" thick. Using a 3 1/2" square cookie cutter, a pastry wheel or a knife work well also, cut out 9 squares. Gather together scraps and set aside. Do the same with the other disk. Take your leftover scraps and combine into a disk, roll and cut and repeat until you have a total of 24 squares.
In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with 1 Tbs. of water, brush 1/2 of the squares all over with the egg wash.
Spoon about a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture and a teaspoon of the strawberries in the middle of each egg washed square, don't over fill. Top with the second (unwashed) piece of dough and press all around with your finger, or the tines of a fork. With a sharp knife poke a few small holes on top to vent steam. Brush top of each pie with egg wash and if desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place tarts on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill.
5. Heat oven to 375° let the tarts rest in the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For more fresh fruit recipes, click the links below.