posted in 4th of July

Berry Hand Pies – “Pie it Forward” Cookbook

I’ve admitted it before, and I’ll admit it again.  I’m a hopelessly horrible pie crust maker.  I’ve tried many a recipe and many a method, and I can never seem to get it right.  Am I overworking the dough?  Is it not chilled enough?  Is it a bad recipe to begin with?  Am I just jinxed?  It’s hard to say.  But heck, I keep trying.  Once in a while I get a good one:  like this crust I used for these Berry Hand Pies.

This recipe comes from the cookbook Pie it Forward by baker/confectioner/pastry master extraordinaire– Gesine Bullock-Prado.  Perhaps you’ve read Gesine’s other books: Confections of a Closet Master Baker or Sugar Baby.  In Pie it Forward, Bullock-Prado shares both sweet and savory pies.  More on Pie it Forward at the end of this post.

This pie dough recipe was created specifically to be a “hand pie dough.”  Bullock-Prado describes it as a zippy and easy-to-handle dough, tailor made for small, handheld treats.  Something different about this one- it has a 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk in it.  I was a little worried about that… because what in the world would I do with the rest of the sweetened condensed milk?!  Not to worry though.  I discovered through some Twittering that you can place sweetened condensed milk into a little container and just stick it into the freezer until you need some more.  So that’s what I did!

The filling is a mix of strawberries and raspberries and a tiny bit of… fresh rosemary!

A brush of egg wash gives the pies a slightly shiny finish when baked, and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar (or any sugar) gives them sparkle.

The dough was pretty easy to work with (thank goodness!), and it turned out the best sort of rustic-looking pies with thick, syrupy juices oozing out in all the right places.

These hand pies were delicious.  The recipe makes 12 individual, hand-held pies.  I included them on a platter of desserts that I made for a gathering.  They were among the first to go!

In Pie it Forward, author Gesine Bullock-Prado shares the best dough recipes to use for each creation- from sweet tart dough to strudel dough to pizza crust!  And guess what?  There is an entire chapter devoted to perfecting pie crusts- all kinds of tips and tricks! She shows us how to master fillings too.  Yep, this pie cookbook covers both sweet and savory recipes.  As a pie-challenged individual, I’m happy to have this book at hand in my kitchen.  Recipes I’m excited to try:  New England Berry Galette, Blueberry Brown Butter Tartlets, German Apple Custard Tart, Buttermilk Peach Pie, Butterscotch Meringue Pie, Meyer Lemon Pudding Pie, Apple Strudel, Bavarian Calzones, Fried Green Tomato Tart and A Very Good Pizza Pie.  Everything looks so good!

Author Gesine Bullock-Prado is offering a copy of Pie it Forward to one lucky Recipe Girl reader. To enter to win, please leave one comment below sharing your favorite pie to make or eat- please do not include links! This giveaway is now closed.  The randomly selected winner is commenter #1: Karla G!  Congrats! One winner was selected and will be contacted via email. The winner will receive one copy of Pie it Forward.

Pie it Forward is available for purchase on Amazon, and it’s in bookstores too. You can visit author Gesine Bullock-Prado on her blog: Confections of a Master Baker and  Pie it Forward Cookbook (devoted specifically to the cookbook- tips shared and questions addressed) and  Twitter.

Yield: 12 hand pies

Prep Time: 45 min + chill time

Cook Time: 20 min

Berry Hand Pies


Hand Pie Dough:
2 cups Gold Medal® All-Purpose Flour (cold)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons frozen vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 pint fresh strawberries (170g)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of sea salt
1 cup halved fresh raspberries
egg wash (1 egg whisked with 2 tablespoons water)
turbinado or sparkling sugar, for sprinkling


Prepare the hand-pie dough:
1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and condensed milk. With the processor running, slowly add the milk mixture and continue to pulse until the dough just comes together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to turn the dough over a few times, until it no longer has dry bits of flour visible and is smooth. It's important the the dough be rather smooth- otherwise, when you roll it out for your pies, the dough will crack. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before using.

Prepare the filling:
4. Hull the strawberries. Cut them into small pieces, a bit larger than corn kernels. Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon zest and rosemary in a mixing bowl and stir until the strawberries are evenly coated with sugar. Allow to strawberries to sit for a while until the sugar melts and the juices of the strawberries are running freely. Drain the strawberry juice into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, then stir in the cornstarch until the mixture becomes a smooth slurry without lumps. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the berries, the cornstarch slurry and the salt. Stir over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Allow the filling to cool completely in the refrigerator, about 20 minutes. Stir the raspberries into the strawberry mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Assemble the hand pies:
5. Divide the dough evenly into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 4-inch round and place the rounds on a parchment-lined sheet pan. With a pastry brush, brush egg wash along the outside edge of the dough rounds. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling onto the middle of each round. Fold the dough over, creating a half moon, and seal the pastries by pressing gently along the edges of each with the tines of a fork. Brush the outsides of the pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado or sparkling sugar.

6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the hand pies to cool completely.


*Most berries will work in a hand pie. Just be sure to cut the berry pieces small enough (not much larger than a kernel of corn).

Source: (re-printed with permission from Pie it Forward by Gesine Bullock- Prado and barely adapted)

260 Responses to “Berry Hand Pies – “Pie it Forward” Cookbook”

  1. postedAug 9, 2012 6:13 AM
    Karla G

    I didn’t see the requirement for entry into the giveaway, but I would love to win! I usually use Martha Stewart’s pie crust recipe, and it has never failed me. You should check it out!

  2. postedAug 9, 2012 6:15 AM

    I’d love to win this book! I make a mean pie crust (my mom taught me) and would love to try these out!

  3. postedAug 9, 2012 6:29 AM

    I have wanted this book ever since I read Dawn/vanillasugar interview Gesine and everything she said just spoke to me – love her story.

    And great job on the hand pies!

  4. postedAug 9, 2012 6:53 AM

    Favorite pie is a rhubarb meringue pie made by my granny. Amazing.

  5. postedAug 9, 2012 6:59 AM

    I”m too intimidated to make one but I love lemon meringue pie.

  6. postedAug 9, 2012 7:04 AM

    Apple by far!

  7. postedAug 9, 2012 7:08 AM

    Like you, I am not a good crust maker. My mom used to come and make 8-10 crust for me and put in the freezer. May if I win this book, things will change. I love apricot fried pies and I want to adapt this recipe to apricots. Thanks so much!!

  8. postedAug 9, 2012 7:13 AM
    Blair B.

    warm apple pie is the best!

  9. postedAug 9, 2012 7:17 AM

    Oh man … my favorite pie to make is apple pie. You can’t beat warm apple cinnamon goodness. I’ve always been too scared to attempt my own pie crust though ….

  10. postedAug 9, 2012 7:17 AM

    I’m trying to perfect my apple crumb topped pie but I have yet to perfect the crust. Hopefully the book has tips on crust. Thanks for the giveaway.

    PS: Cute hand pies.

  11. postedAug 9, 2012 7:19 AM
    Erica H

    Cherry pie in the summer is the best!

  12. postedAug 9, 2012 7:26 AM
    Anne Caffey

    favorite pie to make and eat is peach pie!

  13. postedAug 9, 2012 7:28 AM

    Cool and tangy key lime pie is my absolute favorite on a hot, humid Midwest summer evening! Would love to win a copy of this cookbook to try my hand at those delicious looking berry hand pies.

  14. postedAug 9, 2012 7:29 AM

    My favorite is apple pie with crumb topping! Don’t forget a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. 🙂

  15. postedAug 9, 2012 7:32 AM
    Judy Anderson

    I love Gesine, her stories and her recipes, and when it comes to pie, my favorite is blackberry!

  16. postedAug 9, 2012 7:33 AM

    I use my mom’s recipe for crust – its just flour, salt, solid shortening and a little water. It doesn’t need to chill and is very easy to work with! Her big secret is to do it QUICKLY. Don’t overmix, don’t play with it too much, just roll it out & slap it in the dish! I use her recipe for everything from apple to cherry to blueberry/custard/merengue pies, but my favorite standby is chocolate cream pie topped with fresh whipped cream.

  17. postedAug 9, 2012 7:37 AM

    These look sooo good! Pie is one of my alltime favorite desserts. I have a Sour Cream Apple pie that I’ve made so many times- definitely a favorite!

  18. postedAug 9, 2012 7:37 AM

    This book is on my “wish list”! I love some strawberry pie!

  19. postedAug 9, 2012 7:37 AM

    I LOVE Cook’s Illustrated’s apple pie. It’s not too sweet and it’s beautiful to look at.

  20. postedAug 9, 2012 7:42 AM
    Marsha Carsner

    I love pumpkin pie. Easy to assemble and turns out great every time! These hand pies look amazing and I will be making some this weekend for my family. Thanks!

  21. postedAug 9, 2012 7:42 AM

    I love apple pie!

  22. postedAug 9, 2012 7:46 AM
    Jane Svoboda

    I love any kind of berry pie! Looking forward to reading the cookbook!
    I will try this crust!

  23. postedAug 9, 2012 7:46 AM

    Although I am a sucker for key lime pie, I can see this hand pie very easily becoming a new favorite!

  24. postedAug 9, 2012 7:50 AM

    Looks finger licking good!

  25. postedAug 9, 2012 7:54 AM

    My favorite type of pie is a peach galette. So good, so easy!!

  26. postedAug 9, 2012 7:57 AM
    April V

    I love making a simple cherry pie! It looks so pretty, and is so easy!

  27. postedAug 9, 2012 7:57 AM

    Too many to choose my favorite…apple (with lots of cinnamon), cherry (not too sweet), chocolate, peach…yum!

  28. postedAug 9, 2012 8:00 AM
    katie r k

    Tough call but I think coconut cream pie!

  29. postedAug 9, 2012 8:09 AM

    I adore apple pie, but really any fruit pie makes me happy.
    I have a hard time with pie crust also, so I can use all the help I can get. Would love this cookbook, and I’ll try this yummy looking recipe.

  30. postedAug 9, 2012 8:12 AM
    Terri Rendfeld

    Peanut butter pie is my favorite. I love to make it for my family and eat it.

  31. postedAug 9, 2012 8:13 AM

    Peach pie in the summer, apple in the fall, Costco pumpkin at Thanksgiving, and banana cream can fill in the rest of the year. 🙂

  32. postedAug 9, 2012 8:14 AM

    I love to eat peach pie or coconut-banana cream pie!

  33. postedAug 9, 2012 8:28 AM


  34. postedAug 9, 2012 8:30 AM

    I am a big fan of the straight up Apple pie with lots of cinnamon and spices. Simple but effective.

  35. postedAug 9, 2012 8:32 AM

    Definitely will make some hand pies this weekend :))
    Some blueberries and apricot sound divine
    And this book might open up some real pie making in the future. My family loves apple pie, lemon meringue and definitely peanut butter chocolate cream pie :))
    Hope to win this book

  36. postedAug 9, 2012 8:33 AM

    I think I make a pretty good apple pie, but lately I have been experimenting with mini pies in different flavors and shapes. Anxious to try your recipe!

  37. postedAug 9, 2012 8:34 AM

    I am a terrible baker. I love savory pies and would love to learn a method to make them.

  38. postedAug 9, 2012 8:35 AM

    My mom’s homemade apple pie. It makes life worth living!

  39. postedAug 9, 2012 8:35 AM

    My favorite pie to make and eat is blueberry peach pie. Like you, I tend to have a difficult time with pie crusts. I think I could learn a thing or two from this book.

  40. postedAug 9, 2012 8:37 AM
    Tamara B

    My favorite pie is caramel apple pie.

  41. postedAug 9, 2012 8:37 AM
    Tracey Bowry

    In the last few weeks my favorite pie to make and eat has been tomato pie! It is so good with homemade pie crust, garden tomatoes, and cheesy goodness. I can’t wait to make these pies though. Thank you for the recipe!

  42. postedAug 9, 2012 8:41 AM

    My favorite pie is the same as my grandpa’s – cherry pie!

  43. postedAug 9, 2012 8:44 AM
    Wendy Parker

    my favorite pie was my Grandma Nora’s mincemeat pie. Smelling a pie baking takes me back to those holidays. Grandma Nora cooking the filling and making the crusts while I stood beside her on my cooking stepstool 🙂 . She and my Mom Dorothy gave me my love of cooking.

  44. postedAug 9, 2012 8:46 AM

    I love love Raspberry pie. My grandma doesn’t make it often but I would love to try an make my own 🙂

  45. postedAug 9, 2012 8:48 AM
    Kate W.

    sugar cream..yum

  46. postedAug 9, 2012 8:48 AM

    These are just plain gorgeous! My favorite pie is a tough one, but I gotta go with blueberry peach. Two great tastes that go great together. 🙂

  47. postedAug 9, 2012 8:51 AM
    Susan Peterson

    Being a Weight Watcher, I make a great pumpkin pie that is Weight Watcher-friendly! Some of my friends and family prefer it to the regular pie-crusted version! So you CAN eat pie and lose weight!

  48. postedAug 9, 2012 8:52 AM
    Joanna H.

    My favorite pie to eat is cherry pie. When I make pie, I usually make a crumb topping because of my bad crust-making skills. Maybe this book could help me out!

  49. postedAug 9, 2012 8:55 AM

    I love my mom’s peaches and cream & berries and cream pie (it is a toss up between those and apple pie with crunchy streusel topping).

  50. postedAug 9, 2012 9:00 AM

    MMM, those look absolutely delicious! I bet they’d be perfect for a picnic. My favorite pie is strawberry rhubarb.

  51. postedAug 9, 2012 9:03 AM

    i’m not too good at making pies by scratch. pumpkin pie recipe on the pumpkin can is what i do

  52. postedAug 9, 2012 9:04 AM
    Jennifer McNabb

    It is so hard to choose 1 favorite pie! I could eat pie for breakfast! I would have to say cherry raspberry and my next favorite would have to be rhubarb!!

  53. postedAug 9, 2012 9:07 AM

    My favorite pie is and always will be PUMPKIN! There’s something about the spices that make everything feel warm and cozy, no matter what time of year it is!

  54. postedAug 9, 2012 9:22 AM
    Judy E

    If I’m making a pie, it’s usually chocolate cream pie, though I made a great peach and blueberry galette!

  55. postedAug 9, 2012 9:31 AM

    I love all pie, but my fav is definitely pumpkin. Hot or cold, it’s delicious.

  56. postedAug 9, 2012 9:39 AM

    I am a horrible crust maker. Ugh I just can never get it right! Sad because I love my mom’s homemade pies and I can never replicate them! I want this cookbook, it would be the answer to all my pie woes 🙂

  57. postedAug 9, 2012 9:48 AM

    This is hard to answer only because I love most pies…but if given the choice, I would go with cherry and of course, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

  58. postedAug 9, 2012 10:01 AM

    Looks yummy! Do these pies freeze well? I’ve been wanting to make these pies; not only fruit but meat pies as well. I want to freeze them individually so they would make a great after school snack for my sons.

    • postedAug 9, 2012 3:10 PM

      Best thing to do to get that question answered would be to go to Gesine’s website devoted to this cookbook: – I’m pretty sure you can ask her directly there!

  59. postedAug 9, 2012 10:07 AM
    Robin Thomas

    Chocolate Chip Pie…so easy.

  60. postedAug 9, 2012 10:07 AM

    Sour Cream Lemon pie is our current favorite.

  61. postedAug 9, 2012 10:13 AM

    The pie that never fails me is lemon meringue. It’s always comes out perfectly. Thanks to Joy of Cooking! lol

  62. postedAug 9, 2012 10:19 AM
    Sarah L

    Key lime pie is a favorite of mine.

  63. postedAug 9, 2012 10:45 AM

    My favorite to make is a pumpkin cream cheese pie with a streusel topping. Delish! And to eat…any kind, of course!

  64. postedAug 9, 2012 10:51 AM
    Mellisa W

    I am like Harold with his purple crayon. I want to have a picnic with all nine kinds of pie that I like. Thanks.

  65. postedAug 9, 2012 10:53 AM

    I’m terrible at pie crusts too! Its reassuring to hear I’m not the only one. When I do make a pie, its got to be apple— my fiance’s all-time favorite dessert!

  66. postedAug 9, 2012 10:54 AM
    Amanda L.

    I love blueberry pie!

  67. postedAug 9, 2012 11:02 AM
    Jody G

    Lemon Meringue Pie (my noni’s famous recipe)

  68. postedAug 9, 2012 11:19 AM
    Andrea K.

    I too have no luck with pie crust. Whenever I use my mom’s recipie, which I’m assured is fool proof, the crust slides down the side of the plate. Then I get crazy looks from her and my sister because “it’s soooo easy.”

    But I do love strawberry pie with mixed berry coming in a close second.

    • postedAug 9, 2012 3:09 PM

      I feel your pain! 🙂

  69. postedAug 9, 2012 11:19 AM

    These look amazing, Lori!

  70. postedAug 9, 2012 11:22 AM

    A ‘homemade’ Rhubarb Custard Pie that I was served in a restaurant many years ago has always stuck in my memory. It was so good.
    Pie crusts have never been a friend of mine, either, and most of my ‘pies’ turn into crisps or cobblers. Would love to have a book that really explains it all.

  71. postedAug 9, 2012 11:32 AM
    Debby G.

    I love pie! I have two favorite pies I like to make, an Amish apple pie and a peach pecan pie. Unfortunately, I’m not a good crust maker and always wind up using the refrigerated pie dough.

  72. postedAug 9, 2012 11:37 AM
    Brenda R.

    I love the apricot hand pies my dad made me as a child!

  73. postedAug 9, 2012 11:50 AM
    Cheryl Sethaler

    My favorite pie is Pecan Pie but I’m in desperate need of learning how to make a good pie crust.

  74. postedAug 9, 2012 11:50 AM
    Krisi Friday

    I would love to win this cookbook.

  75. postedAug 9, 2012 11:52 AM
    Rick Taylor

    My favorite pie is my mom’s chocolate pie. It’s an old family recipe. So rich and delicious, reminds me of the holidays! :^)

  76. postedAug 9, 2012 12:07 PM

    Apple pie with crumb top! Yum!

  77. postedAug 9, 2012 12:07 PM

    I love pumpkin pie!

  78. postedAug 9, 2012 12:11 PM

    My favorite pie to eat would be my aunt’s famous egg custard pie. So good!

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  79. postedAug 9, 2012 12:25 PM

    My absolute favorite pie is an Angel Lemon – kind of like a reverse Lemon Meringue. The crust is meringue and it has a light lemon filling. (Love that you added rosemary to your hand pies).

  80. postedAug 9, 2012 12:45 PM

    I’ve always wanted to try out hand pies! Can’t wait to give this a try and devour every single one of these 🙂

  81. postedAug 9, 2012 12:46 PM
    Kim N.

    My favorite pie to make is banana creme!

  82. postedAug 9, 2012 12:48 PM

    I’m a brand new cook and have never attempted pie crust from scratch. It’s always scared me…maybe that means I need to conquer that fear. I’d love this cookbook to help jump start my collection. Oh yeah, may favorite is definitely my mom’s pecan pie. Yummy!

  83. postedAug 9, 2012 12:55 PM

    I’m an equal-opportunity pie-eater, but what sounds lovely right now is rhubarb pie (probably because the season is over…)

  84. postedAug 9, 2012 1:36 PM
    Sharon Chrust

    I love old fashioned sugar cream pie! I have two daughters that each have a specialty; one makes awesome apple pies and the other makes amazing coconut cream!

  85. postedAug 9, 2012 2:01 PM

    My favorite is blueberry pie – the best recipe I’ve found yet is from Cooks Illustrated. And their “foolproof pie crust” – with vodka for flexibility – is great. But I see a lot of yummy recipes in Pie It Forward, too – the hand-pies sound delicious.

  86. postedAug 9, 2012 2:04 PM

    I just love apple pie, either with a regular crust or crump topping. I have Gesine’s first book and would love this one, too!!

  87. postedAug 9, 2012 2:11 PM
    Carol P.

    I love cherry pie.

  88. postedAug 9, 2012 2:20 PM
    Mary Ellen Bowen

    I love to make and eat an apple pie in the autumn

  89. postedAug 9, 2012 2:31 PM
    C Cunningham

    Wow, I love berry pies and must get this book!

  90. postedAug 9, 2012 2:50 PM

    My favorite pie to make is good ‘ole all American apple pie.

  91. postedAug 9, 2012 3:38 PM

    I love raspberry pie. It is my absolute favorite!

  92. postedAug 9, 2012 3:43 PM

    Hmm… I have to admit that I make a fantastic apple pie. I slice my apples paper thin and use Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe. It’s always a success.
    I also love peach pie 🙂

  93. postedAug 9, 2012 3:43 PM

    I love making apple pies in the fall using apples grown on my grandfather’s (now my brother’s) farm. It was the first kind of pie I learned to make.

  94. postedAug 9, 2012 3:47 PM
    Kara D

    I love classic apple pie!

  95. postedAug 9, 2012 3:49 PM

    My favorite pie to make is just a classic French Silk pie.

  96. postedAug 9, 2012 5:20 PM

    my mothre’s apple pie. i look forward to it every year when she makes it for the holidays!

  97. postedAug 9, 2012 5:23 PM
    Denise B

    Lemon pies are one of my favorites. A fried lemon pie is hard to beat. But lemon meringue is awesome too.

  98. postedAug 9, 2012 5:27 PM
    Emily Rogers

    My favorite is Strawberry Rhubarb, I usually only have it once a year but it is always glorious!

  99. postedAug 9, 2012 5:54 PM

    Yum! Definitely Blueberry pie!

  100. postedAug 9, 2012 5:58 PM

    I love the Holiday’s pumpkin pie is one of my favorite. I to have problems with making a crust. I remember Baking with my Mother (deceased) she had no recipie’s for baking, she would tell me to “just look at it” to practice and keep on trying. When I bake I know she is with me.

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