Prep ahead, assemble and bake later. Tuck these Blueberry Lemon Curd Hand Pies into your love’s lunchbox, or serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
” Eat anything you want; enjoy all of your food. Anything you want. Have an apple pie, cookies, ice cream… have all you want. I’m just going to ask you to do one thing. Make all of it. ” ~ Harry Balzer
I’ve been watching Michael Pollan’s Cooked series on Netflix. I’ve a few episodes left, but already, I’m so excited about how Pollan and his guests are articulating concerns I’ve had for so long regarding how distant we’ve become from the roots of our food. How we’re yielding to an industrialized food system to plan, prep, and make our meals. Or to someone else for that matter.
We’ve become reliant on fast food, or quicker food and/or boxed convenience food and moved towards anything where the meal planning, prep and/or cooking is done outside of our kitchens. He argues that these systems rely on efficiencies like monoculture farming (corn, potatoes, almonds, and soy, for example) to the detriment of food, environment, and eventually us.
We, in our modern culture, are over-the-top pressed for time with work, family and friends, activities, self-care, and plenty of distractions, from T.V. and/or social media. I get it. We all
want need a break. But that break shouldn’t come at the expense of our diets. There’s gotta be something other than cooking to cut out.
“Rates of home cooking has fallen by half since the mid 60’s.” ~ Pollan
When I first started a vegetarian diet, I discovered the beauty of planning and cooking meals at home. I started learning about foods I’d never tried before and spices I didn’t know existed. Kale, chard, cardamom, anise and saffron were unfamiliar, for example.
New techniques were learned and applied. I stepped outside of my box, reading cookbooks for fun, and I still do. But what I discovered over time was how much better I felt, not only physically, but spiritually as well.
Preparing a home cooked meal or anything made in the kitchen gave me a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and nourishment, body and soul. Even if it’s as simple as a sandwich. Sure, it takes more time.
But the more I did it, the more I began to enjoy it, learn how to plan, prepare and appreciate it for the benefits it gave and gives my family and I.
Now that meal-planning and cooking is routine, it’s no longer a struggle.
Sure, I still go out to eat. There’s so much to enjoy about it, including new cooking inspiration, socializing and a break from the dishes. Oh lawwwdy the dishes! But I try to seek out restaurants who care more about how their food is prepared rather than how fast it is. Or, when traveling, I pack a cooler. Seeking scenic picnic spots is much more fun than finding the nearest fast food.
“…the link has been demonstrated that as rates of home cooking declines, rates of obesity go up.” ~ Pollan
I’ve yet to finish Cooked, but am looking forward to learning more. This 20-minute video, How Cooking Can Change Your Life, will offer a taste of it. ;)
If you’re a baker and love a fun baking project, you’re going to love these little pastries. I shared my first video on Instagram Stories of me making these (have you tried IG Stories?). All the components can be made ahead. (Tip: If you’re without a 3″ cookie cutter, use the metal lid of a large Ball jar). Assembly takes about 20 minutes, then get ready for a long, slow bake. Your house will smell amazing!
Serve these little Blueberry Lemon Curd Hand Pies toasty and warm, right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, tuck one in to your picnic basket or love’s lunch.
I’d love to hear when you discovered cooking and how/if it’s changed your routine or views on food. Who’s most influential in your food ethic and/or do you have a favorite food documentary or book to recommend? I’d love to know!
Blueberry Lemon Curd Hand Pies
For the Blueberry Compote:
- 3/4 C Fresh or Frozen Blueberries 128g
- 1 Tbs Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 2 tsp Water
- 1/2 tsp Corn Starch
For the Pastry:
For the Curd:
For the Blueberry Compote:
In a small sauce pot, add the berries, syrup, zest, water and corn starch. Turn heat on medium and mash berries with a potato masher, stirring and mashing leaving some of the berries whole. The mixture should begin to simmer and the color will change from light blue to deep purple. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into a lidded container and place in the refrigerator to chill, where it will thicken a bit.
For the Pastry:
Divide the pasty in half. Wrap one, snugly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it. Roll out the pastry to 1/8" (3mm) dusting the work surface and pin generously so no sticking occurs. Using a 3" (7.6cm) circular pastry cutter like the one in this set or a metal lid from a large ball jar, cut out as many discs as possible, collect the scraps, reroll and cut out a few more disks. You should be able to get 14 disks from each piece of pastry. Lay the cutouts on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Roll out and cut the second piece of pastry just like the first. If the pastry starts sticking at anytime, pop it in the freezer for five minutes.
Use the rolling pin to gently roll each disk to just a few mm more, keeping it's shape the best you can. Assemble now or store in refrigerator, gently wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to two days. The disks may be frozen for up to 3 weeks, stacked between parchment paper.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Crack an egg in a bowl and add two Tbs water. Whisk. Set aside. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Arrange disks, blueberry compote, and curd in an assembly line fashion. Each hand pie has a top and a bottom. For each bottom, using a pastry brush, brush the outer edge with egg wash. Using the tines of a fork, poke the center three times. Add 1 tsp of lemon curd and spread it around in the middle. Follow with one generous Tbs of blueberry compote. For the top of each hand pie, cut four very small steam vents using the tip of a knife. Lay the top over the bottom without pressing. Dip the tines of a fork in flour and use it to press the edges together, all the way around. It's okay if a bit of curd and blueberries ooze out. Repeat with the remaining pieces until complete. Use a spatula to transfer the pies to the sheet pans, 6-7 pies each.
Place in freezer (preferably) or refrigerator while the oven is preheating. Arrange baking racks in center of the oven. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
Once the oven is preheated, egg wash the tops of the pies then sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Rotate pans, and exchange their baking positions then reduce heat to 350F (180C) and bake for an additional 20-22 minutes. The tops will be golden.
Serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream, or cool completely and store in a covered container at room temperature for two days. Reheat at 350F for 7-8 minutes.
*The pastry can be made and refrigerated for up to two days, or frozen for up to three weeks. The blueberries can be cooked and chilled up to three days ahead or frozen for up to three weeks. The curd can be made ahead and chilled for up to two weeks or frozen for up to two months.
*You'll have leftovers of lemon curd, but it freezes beautifully!