AKA pop tarts from heaven.
Or at least that's what Tyler calls them. And he's not overselling them. They're very, very good.
Much like these rhubarb bars, they were originally born out of an abundance of fruit at my in-laws' house. They have a very prolific little raspberry bush - not even two toddlers and a small Labrador could deplete it. We'd occasionally lose track of the boys and inevitably find them at the raspberry bush, stuffing their faces from straight off the plant. We stained a lot of t-shirts that week.
So I started picking to help stem the tide- at least a pound a day. Some went straight onto the boys' plates (really, those little shrimps can eat. some. berries.) but the rest were simmered on the stove with some sugar, lemon juice, and jalapeno for a sweet and spicy jam. And definitely keep the seeds in on the jalapeno- the spiciness is key to balance. Then I just needed a place to put it...
And hand pies are perfect for using amazing jam. A long-time favorite is hand pies made with this apple-ginger jam but I've been needing a summery alternative. My favorite crust is enriched with some full-fat Greek yogurt, producing a tender-yet-flaky result that toes the line between biscuit and pie crust. The raspberry-jalapeno jam is a little intense on its own, so I added a cream cheese filling.
And, obviously, we need some icing and sprinkles to complete the pop-tart effect. The standard milk and powdered sugar icing isn't totally opaque and tends to run, so I opted for a quick one-bowl royal icing. Just lightly whipped egg white, powdered sugar, and almond/vanilla extracts. It takes about 30 seconds extra to make, and produces the sort of firm, solid white icing that totally reminds me of those classic toaster pastries.
And ultimately - yes. These take a while to make. There's a jam, and a filling, and a crust. And then an icing. But they're also so insanely worth it. If you're feeling a little bit less ambitious, though, consider buying a good-quality jam and making the other parts. You'll get the same effect and save yourself a bit of time.
Raspberry-jalapeno hand pies
- 3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (12 ounces)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 lemon
- 3 cups All-Purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes (8 ounces)
- ¾ cup full-fat greek yogurt
- ½ cup water ice cold
Cream cheese filling
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese at room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 Tbsp)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg white
- 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- rainbow sprinkles for decorating
- Make raspberry-jalapeno jam: Place raspberries in a small saucepan with sugar. Slice jalapeno lengthwise and add to saucepan, retaining seeds and membranes. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemon and add to the pan. Juice lemon and add to saucepan as well.
- Bring raspberry mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, break apart raspberries to help release juices. Reduce to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Using the back of a spoon, push the pulp through the sieve to produce a seedless, smooth puree.
- Return raspberry puree to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat until thickened, another 15 minutes. Transfer to a airtight container and set aside until ready to assemble pies (Note: jam can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator)
- Make crust: Add All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine and fluff. Sprinkle butter on top of flour mixture. Using your hands, toss butter in flour to coat, then begin to rub butter into flour using your fingertips to produce a pea-sized meal. (Note: you produce the flakiest results by using your thumb and finger to flatten the butter pieces into small sheets. You will want the final mixture to contain some visible butter pieces, and some completely worked into the flour)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and cold water. Make a well in the center of your flour-butter mixture, then carefully pour the yogurt into that well. Using a fork or your fingers, toss the flour onto the yogurt mixture, working outward until a dough just holds together. Form the dough into a disk. Cover well with plastic wrap and chill until firm (2 hours in the fridge, or 30 minutes in the freezer).
- Prepare cream cheese filling: combine cream cheese, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and egg yolk in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth.
- Assemble: preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cold dough disk into quarters. Place one quarter on a floured work surface and return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator. Using a rolling pin, roll the crust to an even ⅛ inch thickness. Cut out 4-inch rounds using a bowl or biscuit cutter as a guide.
- Transfer half of the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top each round with 1 rounded tablespoon of the cream cheese filling, then layer 1 tsp of the raspberry filling on top of that. Dip your fingertips into some water and then use your fingers to wet the edges of the crust rounds. Top the rounds with the remaining crust circles and use a fork to seal the edges. Cut a single ½ inch vent in the top of your pies with a sharp knife.
- Repeat the assembly directions with the remaining 3 crust quarters. Bake pies until golden on both top and bottom, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
- While the pies bake, make icing: Using a very clean glass or metal bowl, whisk egg white until soft peaks form, 30-60 seconds. Add confectioner's sugar, ½ cup at a time, until a thick drizzle-able icing forms. Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts and a pinch of salt.
- Decorate: Using a teaspoon, dollop approximately 1 tsp of icing on the center of each cooled pie. Spread the icing to the fork marks using the back of the spoon, leaving a ½ inch border. Top with sprinkles. Let icing dry until set, about 30 minutes. Enjoy!