Foods are often intertwined with memories in our minds. We connect significant events with a certain cookie or cake that was baked for the occasion. Or a delicious meal always reminds us of the special friend with whom we shared both the food as well as a lot of laughter or tears. A lot of the time we don’t even realize a food’s connection until we take a bite and our brains are flooded with emotion and memory.
I am certain that these hand pies will always remind me of our cookout last night. Prepared with love in my kitchen beforehand, we brought them along with our meat to grill and a side salad. The evening was well spent at a family from our church’s house. In fact, it was so well spent that we kept our kids out later than ever before– simply because we were all having such a good time and had no idea what the time was.
But as wonderful as good food eaten with even better friends is, what I will remember is something different.
I used to be an athlete. Before three kids and no time. I love to play team sports. The competition. The fun. The challenge. I’m game for whatever pick-up sport is available (pun intended).
What I will remember about last night is the opportunity to finally play basketball after months of really wanting to shoot hoops.
The goal was wonky and crooked. Every other shot someone had to go over the fence to get the ball. Half the time during the game of horse I had a toddler holding my hand, and half the time during our game of three-on-three I had to stop to check on the baby. I will likely have jello legs and arms for a day or two. But none of those things matter. We got to play and it was glorious.
I am not sure if your Memorial day plans involve any team sports, but I am pretty confident that many people’s plans will involve cookouts with good food for sharing. If you have some time and a little inclination, give these hand pies a try. They are delicious and perfectly suited for a summer barbecue.
Patriotic Hand Pies
- 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 C coconut oil, soft, (not melted)
- 12 Tbsp butter, cold and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 C ice cold Vodka*
- 1/4 C ice cold water
Yogurt Cream Frosting
- 1 C Greek yogurt**, room temperature
- 1/2 C butter, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- Fresh blueberries, (if using frozen, thaw and pat dry with paper towels)
- Fresh raspberries, (if using frozen, thaw and pat dry with paper towels)
- Pie Dough: In a food processor***, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse twice to blend.Evenly distribute coconut oil and butter pieces on top of flour mixture. Turn the food processor on and mix for about fifteen seconds, until the dough comes together and starts to clump together in one piece. Stop immediately (do not over mix).Redistribute dough evenly in the bowl and add the remaining 1 cup of flour on top. Pulse again 4 to 5 times to break up the dough and mix in the rest of the flour.
Dump the dough into a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle vodka and water on top. Gently mix the liquids into the dough, pressing with a rubber spatula.
Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Press slightly to form a disk. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before using.
- Yogurt Cream Frosting: In a small mixing bowl, combine room temperature yogurt and room temperature butter. (If your yogurt is cold, then the butter will get hard and will not mix well. You will end up with flecks of yellow in your frosting…ask me how I know…) Stir in sugar and lemon juice. Mix well. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425°.After pie dough has chilled for at least forty five minutes, remove one disk from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a quarter inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, cut circles and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Press a fork around the edges of the circles.
Repeat with remaining pie dough until you have used it all and made about 35 pie rounds.
- Spread about a teaspoon of frosting on a cool pie round. Top with berries. You can be as creative or simple as you like. I would have done all flags if I wasn’t pushed for time and trying not to vex my husband! The frosting will set and get harder as it rests.
*This pie recipe is adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe. They are my favorite go-to recipe source because their recipes are so reliable. They suggest using vodka in your pie dough because of it’s lower water content. If you don’t have or don’t want to have vodka available, you can just use all ice water. Sidenote: we keep our vodka in the freezer just for pie dough because it won’t freeze and is cold and ready when I need it.
**You need thick Greek yogurt for this recipe. If your yogurt is runny, you need to strain it for about 30 minutes to and hour depending on how thick it is to start. We make our own yogurt and always make it rather thick.
***A food processor helps to keep the butter cold and thus makes a nice flaky crust.
What is one food memory that makes you smile?