Blueberry-Basil Hand Pies

The chief recipe taster in my kitchen calls these fruit empanatas.  Also known as turnovers, hand pies are personal pies. Tidier to eat and serve, they are perfect for picnics and potlucks or to enjoy on the go.  With plump, sweet and juicy berries in season, hand pies showcase the bounty in a tasty little parcel of goodness.  Hiding inside my blueberry hand pies is a layer of lemon curd to add some zing to the berries.  I love contrasting sweet notes with earthy herbs and this filling features fresh basil.  You could substitute lemon balm or leave it out completely.  Just make sure to toss your filling together just before filling the pastry so the berries don’t have a chance to weep and make the pastry soggy.  The hand pies can be made in any shape desired and could be fancied up with a special cut out on the top such as a star or heart.  Mine are a classic half round shape with 3 vent slits.  Whatever you want to call them, just call these flaky mini pies delicious!

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Blueberry-Basil Hand Pies

  • 2-9 inch rounds of pie dough
  • 2 c blueberries
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 4 T chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 T lemon curd, optional
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sanding sugar(mine was yellow in color)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet wiht parchment paper.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your dough.  Using a 5″ in diameter inverted bowl, press down on your dough to mark 6 circles.  Use a knife to go over the marks and release the forms.
  3. On one half of the dough, brush on a layer of lemon curd if using.  If not, you can substitute some lemon zest to your berries.
  4. Brush all connecting edges of the dough with a thin layer of egg wash.
  5. Mix the blueberries with the corn starch, sugar and basil.  Mound about  3 tablespoons of fruit over the lemon curd.  Fold over the dough, using a fork to push in the fruit as you seal the pastry pocket.  Use the fork to crimp the pastry edges. You will have some left over filling and ends of pie crust.  Feel free to join the dough ends and reroll to create a free form tart with the extra filling.
  6. Brush the pastry with thin egg wash.  Sprinkle liberally with the sanding sugar. Cut a few venting slits on the top of the pies.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden.  Cool 10 minutes before eating.

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“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”
Robert Frost
Blueberries

15 thoughts on “Blueberry-Basil Hand Pies

  1. Oh so tempting, these little beauties. Just went blueberry picking in the woods around our cabin. Competing with bears, I had to reach high! Will make this for desert tomorrow when friends are visiting. Luckily I still have some lemon curd in the fridge.

    • I remember picking those high bush blueberries around our Pocono cottage too. I had never seen high bush plants before, as those growing wild in Canada are all low bush. Can’t wait to hear what your guests think! They’ll want more than 1!! Enjoy!

      Johanne Lamarche

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  2. Oh loving this recipe Johanne. I love how you added basil leaves to the little parcels of goodness. The curd had to have enhanced the flavors too, beautiful! My husband loves blueberries, I should give these a go for sure:)

    • Is the a Canadian who doesn’t love blueberries??? They were fun little parcels of yumminess we enjoyed watching the DNC convention speeches. I hope you will make them!

      Johanne Lamarche

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  3. Another irresistible and yummy taste treat. And perfectly accompanied by Frost’s words.

    Sent from my iPad

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    • I’m so glad you loved these little pies Lindy! Blueberries must be ripe for the picking in Ontario. It was a happy discovery to find the Frost poem on blueberries, especially with the kerplunk reference to my all time favorite children’s book, Blueberries for Sal. Wonder if McClosky borrowed the term from Frost or vice versa? Or maybe like me, they both picked blueberries in a metal pail and wrote about the sound!

      Johanne Lamarche

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  4. Growing up in the Southern USA we frequently had “fried pies” which look a lot like your hand pies, but without the frying part! I do not like to fry…so un-Southern of me…but every calorie counts these days. Very lovely hand pies!

    • These would have just a few less calories than a fried version! Just a wee bit less. But they were good and worth every calorie! My mom had filled my freezer with balls of her famous pie dough so these pies were especially flaky, lucky for me!

      Johanne Lamarche

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