Date Raisin Almond Hand Pies

hand pies 

Date Raisin Almond Hand Pies

    

   This recipe is a new holiday tradition for our family this year.  These rich, nutty, fruity pies are just the perfect size to fit in your hand.  They're certain to bring a smile to your face and spread Christmas cheer wherever they are shared!  We made these pies for the first time on Thanksgiving this year and we loved them so much, we decided to make them again and share the recipe with all of you.  The lemon icing that adorns these lovely pies is a wonderful tangy finish to a rich, delicious dessert.  We think it contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the filling and complements the spices in the dough.  For this recipe, you can experiment with any type of filling you enjoy - mincemeat or another similar filling would work nicely for this recipe.  We're also working on a chocolate version of hand pies that we hope to share with you all sometime in the near future.  Hope you all enjoy! Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

Filling

2 cups pitted dates

1 cup raisins

1 cup almonds

1 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup cranberry juice

1/4 cup orange juice

Crust

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup honey

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white all-purpose flour

Icing

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 375*F.  You'll want to get your filling started first, then move on to making the dough.

Filling

    In a food processor, combine the pitted dates, raisins and almonds.  Pulse the food processor until fruit and nuts form a finely chopped sticky paste.  Transfer the paste to a saucepan.  To the saucepan, add the cranberry and orange juices and almond extract.  Stir well.  Place the saucepan on low heat and let cook until all the juice is absorbed.  Stir your filling occasionally during the cooking process.  Its a good idea to keep a constant eye on it to prevent burning.  When your filling is finished, it will be a thick paste with no residual juice or liquid remaining.  Our filling was on the stove on low for about one hour.  Once filling is completed, set aside to cool.  Now its time to make the dough for the crust!

Crust

     In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about 30 seconds. 

butter

Softened Butter....

    Add brown sugar, baking soda and spices and beat well. 

sugar

Adding the brown sugar...

baking soda

Baking soda....

cinnamon

Spices....

    Next, beat in the egg, vanilla, almond extract and honey. 

egg

Egg....

    Lastly, add the flour and mix until fully combined. 

flour

Measuring out the flour.

    Form the dough into a ball with your hands and cut it in half to make two equal portions. 

dough

Dough before dividing...

    On a sheet of parchment, pat out the dough into the shape of a square about 1/2 an inch thick. 

dough round

Half the dough portion....

dough square press

Flatten the dough with your hands....

dough square

The square of dough....

    Repeat this step on another sheet of parchment for the second portion of dough.  Wrap up the dough squares in the parchment sheets and refrigerate for a few hours.

ready for fridge

Ready for the refrigerator!

    Once your dough is refrigerated, line a cutting board with a piece of parchment and turn out one square dough onto the cutting board.  Cover the dough with parchment so that you have a layer of parchment between the dough and your rolling pin. 

covering the dough

Placing a sheet of parchment over the dough....

    Let the dough sit for a few minutes before rolling it out - just to let it warm up a bit, but not too much.  If the dough wants to stick to your parchment, you may add a minimal dusting of flour but this is usually not necessary.  For this dough, the less flour you use in rolling it out the better.  Roll out one portion of dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick. 

rolling out the dough

Rolling out the dough....

    Carefully peel back the parchment and trim the jagged edges of your dough. 

cutting off the edges

Trimming the edges...

    Next, cut through the dough horizontally and vertically as shown to create small rectangular or square pieces of dough.  Be sure to reroll your scraps of dough to make more crust pieces. 

trimmed edges

After trimming before cutting out crust pieces....

vertical cuts

Cutting dough vertically....

cutting dough horizontally

Cutting dough horizontally....

    Transfer these portions to a parchment lined baking sheet.  These are the base crusts of your hand pies. 

hand pies

Base crust for hand pies...

    Next, spoon about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of cooled filling on top of each pie base, depending on the size of your base crust.  Spread the filling out, leaving a little room on the edges of your crust, as shown.  You'll use this empty space to seal your hand pies in a minute....

spooning in the filling

Spooning the filling onto the base....

filled pies

Pies base crusts with filling.....

     Now its time to roll out the second portion of dough using the same method as before.  Cut out rectangular or square shaped pieces of dough.  Before your transfer them to the top of each hand pie, cut a cross shape in the middle of each, as shown.  You can also use a mini cookie cutter of your choice to create a specially shaped vent hole for your hand pies. 

cross shape

Cross shaped vent for hand pie top crust...

    Place a top crust piece on top of each hand pie and seal the edges by pressing them together with your finger.

pinching the edges

Pressing or pinching the edges together....

ready for oven

At this point, your pies should look something like this....

    Bake on 375*F. for 10-12 minutes until the edges of your hand pies are golden brown.  When baked, let the hand pies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

hand pies

Icing

    Once cooled, its time to ice your hand pies.  In a small bowl, measure out your sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Whisk together very well until mixture forms a thin, smooth icing.  Drizzle the icing on the top of each hand pie.  Let dry on the cooling rack before transferring them to a beautiful Christmas platter for serving or packaging for later use. 

finished pies

Finished pies waiting to be served....

 

     Serve with hot tea, coffee or apple cider and enjoy!

 

    By, Jessi Wasell