Spring is here & summer soon enough, so my favorite fruits, berries, and vegetables are beginning to show themselves in California markets. It's a great time to eat!
Blueberries. Basil. Pie in your hand. It's pretty amazing eating pie and not using a fork or knife and just biting right into it. This was the first time I have ever made or eaten hand pies and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Each bite has an even pie crust to blueberry ratio and you get to skip the mess. Sign me up.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy these were to make and assemble. Then eat.
Blueberries are absolutely my favorite of all the berries. These guys were hand picked by a local farmer in Northern California -- it was hard not to eat them all before making the pies.
A lot of things have changed over the past few months, hence my sudden lack of blog posts. For one, I moved into a new apartment. Unfortunately, the cottage was not working out. There were some health issues with mold, it was too small for two people to share space and hold onto any ounce of sanity, and raccoons took home in the backyard. I wish that the cottage was everything I wanted it to be - but it simply wasn't and it was time to stop pretending.
It was sad to say goodbye, but I was ready to embark a new adventure. After traveling to Seattle in March I moved all of my belongings into a huge flat with three girlfriends on Nob Hill near Chinatown & North Beach in San Francisco. The cable car literally drives on my street - I can hear the bells ringing as I write this - and the Cable Car Museum is on my block. Just down the hill are all of the Chinatown food markets and dim sum bakeries. I can walk to City Lights Bookstore in 5 minutes! (see: favorite places ever)From the top of the apartment you can see Coit Tower, the gorgeous Saints Peter + Paul Church, the Bay Bridge (at night it lights up!), and so much more. This apartment seriously is post card San Francisco and I am so in love with it.
blueberry, meyer lemon + basil salt hand pies
Ingredients for Basil Salt*:
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
Directions: In a food processor, pulse the salt and basil leaves until it reaches a green consistency. Spread onto a baking sheet and place in the oven at 225 degrees F. Dry out the salt for about 30 to 40 minutes, tossing half way through. Break up the salt in the food processor and store in an airtight jar or container.
Ingredients for Pastry Shell:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2 tbsp pieces
1/4 cup ice cold water
Directions: In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. On low speed, add the butter a cube at a time until just blended but still a tad bit clumpy. Then add the ice water and mix on low speed until dough is formed. Test by tearing a piece away and checking if it's "elasticky." Dump the dough onto plastic wrap and flatten into two separate round discs. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes.
Ingredients for Blueberry Basil Salt filling:
1 pint of blueberries, (scant 2 cups)
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
1/4 cup sugar plus more for dusting
1/4 cup meyer lemon juice*, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp basil salt plus more for dusting
Directions: In a small bowl, mix the sugar and meyer lemon juice. Add the blueberries, basil and basil salt. Stir. Allow mixture to macerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Then mix in the corn starch to thicken.
Ingredients to assemble the hand pies:
1 egg white
1 tbsp milk
Directions for assembly: Dust your work surface with flour. Once the pastry discs have slightly hardened in the fridge, remove from plastic wrap and flatten with a rolling pin until about 1/8 inch thick on your floured work area. With a biscuit cutter or small round object (I used the rim of a wide mouth mason jar) cut out an even amount of mini discs. Then, in a small bowl mix the egg white and milk.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bottom layer of pie discs onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Spoon a small portion of your blueberry mixture onto each disc. Place the top layer of pie disc onto the blueberries. Fold together the two layers of pie with the egg wash. Press the sides down with a fork to ensure they stay together. Cut an X into the top of the pie. Spread the egg wash, sprinkle a little sugar + a little basil salt on top. Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on rack for at least 20 minutes.
*This basil salt is an incredible addition to any pantry. Sprinkle on pasta, pizza, kale chips, salad. Anything really... Let me know if you decide to make + use it, and on what!