Blueberry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies

When we bought our house and moved into the neighborhood several years ago, our neighbors dropped by to introduce themselves and they brought a blueberry pie. Shane doesn’t like blueberries so I was on my own with the pie, and I devoured it in record time. I may have had blueberry pie before then, but if I had, it clearly wasn’t very memorable. Apple pie had always been my very favorite – the go-to choice when presented with pie options, but no more. Blueberry has had my heart ever since!

Blueberry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies

I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of making pies, but there seems to be an exception for hand pies. I guess technically they’re more work than a regular pie since you have to assemble each individually rather than just dumping all of the filling into the crust for a traditional pie, but I love the shorter cooking time, and I think it’s easier to avoid the dreaded runny filling I’ve encountered more times than I care to admit with traditional pie. Other good things about hand pies? The ratio of crust to filling, the fact that they’re portable, and the cute factor :)

Blueberry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies

I could eat these blueberry hand pies for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert every day and be perfectly content. They were fantastic in every way! The pie crust was flaky, the blueberry filling creamy and not overly sweet, with hints of lemon throughout. They can definitely be eaten out of hand – the filling is perfectly contained, no dripping or leaking. Oh, and since frozen blueberries are used in the pies, you can make them year round! No need to impatiently wait for blueberry season to roll around :) My one minor complaint is that I wish the tops of the pies had browned a little more so they weren’t quite as pale, but it really didn’t affect the texture or flavor, so no biggie.

Blueberry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies
pies from Everyday Food-May 2012, pie dough adapted from Williams-Sonoma via Annie’s Eats

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 large egg
10 oz frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For Assembly
2 tablespoons heavy cream
sanding sugar

To make the pie dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt on low speed just to combine. Add the butter, and mix, first on low and then increasing the speed to medium low, cutting the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the mixer on low, add the cold water, beating just until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface. Divide it in half and shape each piece into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the filling: In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the lemon zest and egg until smooth. In a second bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the lemon juice and flour.

Place one of the disks of pie dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a square about 1/8-inch thick – don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just trim the edges. My square was roughly 10×10-inches. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces (so for me, it was four 5×5 squares). Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each square, then top with about 2 tablespoons of the blueberry mixture. Brush the edges of the square with the heavy cream, then bring opposite corners together to form a triangle. Press the edges together, then use a fork to crimp them. Brush the top of the pie with heavy cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Repeat with the remaining 3 squares of dough, then do the same with the second disk of dough, making a total of 8 pies.

{Note – I did have leftovers of both the cream cheese and blueberry fillings – I probably could have made several more pies.}

Transfer the pies to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Cut a small vent or two in the top of each pie. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until the pies are golden brown (the filling may bubble out of the vents a little too). Transfer to a wire rack and allow the pies to cool completely.

Makes 8 pies