Sweet Cranberry Hand Pies with Candied Orange Peel
Recipe courtesy Piper Davis, Grand Central Bakery
Total time 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes 8 dessert-sized hand pies
Fillings should be chilled when they are stuffed into the pastry, so Piper Davis usually makes them the night before she bakes and serves the pies.
Serve these directly from the oven with small bowls of sweetened whipping cream for dipping.
Candied orange peel
1 cup granulated white sugar for syrup, plus additional for dredging
Water for blanching orange peels, plus ¾ cup water for syrup
10 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup white sugar
½ cup water
3 lb rough puff pastry (or 1 sheet of Grand Central U-bake puff pastry), chilled
1 egg, separated
1 tbsp water
The night before, start making the candied orange peel. Score the skin of the orange into quarters and pull away from the fruit. Remove any citrus membrane and scrape the soft pith out with small spoon or paring knife. Slice lengthwise in ¼-inch strips.
Put the peels in a nonreactive pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes 3 separate times, using fresh water each time. (This removes any bitterness.) Drain peels after third blanching and set aside.
Next, prepare the syrup: Dissolve sugar in water over medium-high heat. Add blanched peels to simple syrup and poach until translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely in syrup before draining and placing on a wire rack set over aluminum foil to dry overnight. The next day, dredge the candied orange pieces in sugar and return to the wire rack to dry out. Dice the candied peel into irregular pieces and toss with sugar again.
Make the cranberry filling: Put cranberries, sugar and water together in a saucepan and boil for 5 to 8 minutes, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened. When the cranberries have cooled, stir in diced dried peel. Refrigerate the mixture overnight, or until chilled through.
Prepare the pies: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
Roll the dough into a 12-by-20-inch rectangle on a lightly floured board. Using a large, sharp knife or a pizza cutter, trim the edges of the dough so they’re square. Cut the dough rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each strip into six equal pieces, so you have a total of twelve dough rectangles that are about the same size.
Whisk egg white, water, and salt together in a small bowl, reserving the yolk, and use a pastry brush to lightly paint egg white mixture around the edges of each rectangle. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling in the center of the bottom half of each rectangle.
Fold the top half of each rectangle over the filling so the edges meet. Seal each rectangle using the sides of your hands, then use the floured tines of a fork to crimp and reinforce the seal. Trim the edges with a sharp knife, then slice a steam vent in the top of each hand pie. Whisk egg yolk into egg white mixture, brush the pies with egg, then bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, until the pies are deep golden brown.
Note: Pies should be cold when they go into the oven. You may want to refrigerate softening dough during folding, before sealing, and/or before brushing with egg.