Serves: Yields approximately 24 mini-pocket pies or 8 double-crust individual pies
- 2 cups (16 ounces) cranberry or berry juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ pint (8 ounces) fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 recipe Easy Cream Cheese Pie Dough (recipe follows)
- 1 cup unsifted powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
Procedures:You may remember the sugar-coated fruit pies sold in grocery stores during your childhood. Now, pocket pies are all the rage again. These mini-pies are filled with a sweet and tart filling made with fresh strawberries and glazed with lemon. They’re perfect for picnics, after-school treats, or as a nostalgic addition to a dessert buffet.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the upper and lower thirds.
To prepare strawberry filling, combine juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean paste in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the boiling juice, whisking constantly. Cook until the liquid thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cool completely and stir in strawberries. To speed cooling, place the bowl of strawberry filling in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir occasionally.
To assemble pocket pies, remove pie dough from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before rolling. Generously flour a work surface and place chilled dough disk on the flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll chilled dough into a circle, turning and flipping the dough as needed with a bench scraper to prevent sticking, until the circle measures 16 inches wide and less than 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut 24 circles of dough, rerolling once as needed. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and water for egg wash.
Place 2 teaspoons of strawberry filling in the center of each dough circle. Using a fingertip or small brush, coat the dough edge halfway around with egg wash. Fold uncoated dough edge over to create a half-circle shape and press to seal and remove any air bubbles. Place assembled pocket pies on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Continue with remaining dough circles and freeze assembled pies for 30 minutes before baking. Save remaining egg wash.
Remove pocket pies from freezer and cut a small “x ” in the top of each with a sharp paring knife. Brush tops of pies with egg wash to coat. Place pans in preheated oven and bake until pocket pies are golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and allow pies to cool for 5 minutes. Using a large spatula, transfer pies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make lemon glaze, sift powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk the lemon juice and zest into the sugar until a smooth glaze forms. Use less lemon juice for a glaze that covers thickly or use a little more water for a thinner, more transparent glaze.
To serve, drizzle glaze over pocket pies and serve at room temperature.
Easy Cream Cheese Pie Dough
A nearly foolproof alternative to flaky dough, cream cheese dough can be made in the food processor in a couple of minutes. Rich cream cheese takes the place of water and helps to bring the dough together. The high proportion of fat means it’s practically impossible to toughen the pastry. The dough’s tangy flavor and flaky texture accent the fruit fillings in turnovers.
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend. Add the cold butter pieces and process for 8 to 10 seconds, until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add the cream cheese and pulse 30 times (1-second pulses), or until large, shaggy clumps of dough form.
Transfer dough to a work surface and knead gently 2 or 3 times to create a cohesive dough. Flatten into a 7-inch square about ¾ inch thick and wrap in plastic. Chill for 30 minutes before rolling.