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by Caitlin Saniga

You should probably grab a fork for this pocket pie. It's too drippy and sticky for just hands.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pie filling (I used 1/2 cup strawberry jelly + 1/4 cup sliced frozen strawberries.)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • vegetable oil

Full disclosure: My cousins got me a special pocket-pie maker for Christmas, so I didn't actually use cookie cutters or a fork. The pie maker cuts out the stars and pinches them together to form the pies.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and the 2 tablespoons sugar until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition.

I'm glad I bought parchment paper for this recipe. Hot starberry juice was everywhere!

Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and press each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using a 4-inch-wide star cookie cutter, cut out 8 stars. For 4 of the stars, use a tinier star cookie cutter to punch out dough from the center. Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Assemble the pies: Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pie filling onto a solid star, and brush the edges of the star with the egg wash. Top with a holed dough star. Seal the edges of the dough star together by pressing lightly but firmly with the prongs of a fork. Place pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Brush the pies with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Makes 8 pies.

Recipe adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen (Unfortunately, Williams-Sonoma stopped making the pie mold I used. But it looks like they still make other pie mold shapes: apples, pumpkins, etc.)

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

Baking tips:

-Of all the butters, unsalted butter has the purest flavor. It’s best to use unsalted butter for baking because, that  way, you can be more precise about the amount of salt in the recipe.

-Lining baking sheets with parchment paper makes for easy cleanup, especially for baking recipes that use jellies, chocolates and other meltable ingredients.

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by Sarah Steimer

Awwwww. Little things.

For pear filling

  • 5 pears (cut in small cubes)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used a little less)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally. Once the pears seemed to have softened, mash them until most of the pears are near applesauce consistently. Allow to simmer for a few minutes longer. Let cool

For the blueberry filling, I merely mixed about a 3/4 cup of blueberries with the same amounts of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, plus about 2 tablespoons of flour.

Pears are so attractive.

For crust

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons water

Mix Flour and salt. Cut in butter and work it into the flour until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of the water at a time and toss with a fork. Repeat until all is moistened and form the dough into a ball. On a floured surface, roll out the dough.

Cut the dough into circles about an half an inch wider than the openings of a muffin pan. I used a small bowl as my cutter. Place the circles in oil-sprayed muffin tins, don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the edges. Place fillings in the tins, but do not fill above the dough. Use the excess dough to create a pattern on top of the tarts.

Place in a 360 degree oven for about a half hour or until the tart crusts look golden brown. Let cool and take them from their tins.

Recipe: Sarah Steimer

Photos: Sarah Steimer

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