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Cherry rye hand pies

Cherry rye hand pies
Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times

Think about rye and the things that probably come to mind are dense loaves of Old World bread, dark as earth and shot with caraway, maybe a nursery rhyme (blackbirds, pie) or more likely a tumbler of Prohibition-era whiskey. But ... Read more

Total time: About 2 hours, plus chilling time | Makes 12 hand pies.

Cherry compote

  • 2 pounds cherries, preferably Brooks, pitted
  • Scant ½ cup (100 grams) sugar, more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Madeira wine
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • Pinch salt

Step 1In a heavy pot, combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, wine, vinegar, vanilla bean and salt. Set aside to macerate for 20 minutes, then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (the mixture must boil for the cornstarch to thicken). Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the cherries soften but before they begin to break down. Cool completely before assembling the hand pies. This makes about 3 cups filling, more than is needed for the pies; the remainder will keep, covered and refrigerated, about 1 week.

Quick rye puff pastry

  • 1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon (155 grams) rye flour
  • 1 ¼ cups plus 1 scant tablespoon (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • About 3 tablespoons (20 grams) bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups plus 3 tablespoons (3 sticks plus 3 tablespoons) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup ice water

Step 1Cover and freeze the flours and butter for 30 minutes to chill thoroughly.

Step 2In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours and salt, pulsing to combine. Add 1/3 of the frozen butter pieces and pulse until they are covered with flour. Add the second third and continue to pulse until the butter is reduced to the size of peas. Add the remaining butter, and continue to pulse until the butter is reduced to the size of peas.

Step 3Slowly add the ice water, and continue to pulse just until the dough begins to clump together.

Step 4Remove the dough to a floured board (using all-purpose flour), and form a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 8 inches.

Step 5Fold the dough in half (the dough will be very crumbly at this point), and roll out again until the dough measures a 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle. Fold the dough in half, then cover and freeze for 20 minutes.

Step 6Remove the dough and roll out into a rectangle of the same size. This time, fold the dough into thirds, as with a letter. Roll the dough out once more (12-inches by 8-inches) and fold again into thirds. Cover and freeze again for 20 minutes.

Cherry rye hand pies

  • Prepared rye puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • Prepared cherry compote
  • Caraway seeds, for garnish

Step 1Roll the dough out once again and fold into thirds. Roll out one final time so the dough is a rectangle measuring 12 inches by 16 inches. Cut the dough into 12 (4-inch) squares. If, at any time, the dough begins to soften, refrigerate or freeze the pieces for a few minutes to firm up. Keep the pieces you are not currently using in the refrigerator.

Step 2Beat the egg with about 1 tablespoon water to form the egg wash.

Step 3Take 1 square of puff pastry, and, on a lightly floured board, roll it out so it is just shy of a 5-inch square. Brush two adjacent edges of the square with egg wash, then spoon about 2 tablespoons of the compote in the center of the square. Fold the square over to form a triangle, pressing the edges together to seal, then crimp using your fingers or a fork. Place the hand pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until all of the hand pies are formed.

Step 4Heat the oven to 375 degrees, and freeze the hand pies for about 20 minutes to thoroughly chill.

Step 5Brush the hand pies with egg wash (for darker coloring, brush the pies twice) and sprinkle over caraway seeds to garnish. Dock each pie 3 times.

Step 6Space the pies a few inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until the pies are a deep golden color and the pastry is crisp, about 25 minutes (timing will vary depending on the oven and temperature of the pies).

Step 7Cool the pies, still on the baking sheets, on a rack until set and cool enough to handle.

Note: Adapted from Sarah Lange of Elysian, formerly of Elysian and of the upcoming Bearclaw Kitchen at Smorgasburg. 


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