Rosemary-Infused Peach Hand-Pies
Baking with substitutions wasn't always a strong area for me. I have always been interested in making "healthier" versions of classics, but as my family will attest, it hasn't always been a, um,(ahem) success. There were the whole wheat sugar cookies I made one Christmas that not even our dog would touch, and a baked cheesecake I had attempted to healthify with natural sweeteners and egg whites that was just a dry, gross mess. (Please don't be worried as you read this, thinking I have no business attempting gluten free pie of all things after such statements! Things have improved immensely in this area -- promise.)
Sometimes unexpected outcomes come out of our situations, and I like to think of my current baking as such. When I first was diagnosed as having gluten (and many other) intolerances, I grieved the end of family recipes. With time, I began to experiment and learned with the guidance of others with more skill and experience than me (this one, this one, and especially her) ... and with time, I became comfortable enough to start to experiment with making my own recipes. Sometimes I still reference others' recipes, read inspiring food blogs, and research ratios of flour to fat and liquid, but in general I feel so much more confidant in the kitchen than I ever had been before changing my diet. See what I mean? A happy, unexpected outcome from what seemed like a terrible turn of events at the time.
So, these hand-pies. I wanted to make a special, celebratory treat for a friend. I needed something that would hold up well and would be okay without a refrigerator for several hours since I had a bit of travel ahead before I'd see her. Raw, vegan cheesecakes are certainly beautiful and occasion-worthy, but most definitely didn't fit the bill in this case. Cookies are good and portable, but just didn't seem special enough for a celebration. I had seen a few hand-pies (this seems to be the adult name for "pop tarts"!) and thought it would be a fun spin on the peach and rosemary combination I had been thinking about. My favourite gluten-free pie crust is Aran's and I've been using it for a few years now with success. However, usually I use non-hydrogenated shortening and I have been moving more towards coconut oil as a substitute lately. I made a few changes, and actually felt a bit nervous that the coconut oil wouldn't hold together well, as sometimes it can spread and create a bit of a mess on the baking sheet. A bit of time spent in the freezer before baking seemed to remedy this, and these little pies came out perfectly shaped, sturdy enough to hold by hand, and flakey just like a pie should be. I'm so happy with how these turned out!
At the farmer's market this past weekend, my favourite farmer told me she'd have peaches for about two more weeks. After going through a basket each week since they appeared on the market tables, I am feeling so reluctant about letting them go ... this may be the year I attempt canning, so that we can savour the fresh, summery taste of peaches when stone fruits are long gone and the frost settles in.
So! We all have just a little bit longer to eat all the peaches we can! May I suggest you try these?
Rosemary-Infused Peach Hand-Pies
Makes 5 hand-pies, recipe can be doubled. The pie dough recipe is adapted from my favourite by Canelle et Vanille.
1 c (140 g) brown rice flour
2 tbsp (20 g) potato starch
2 tbsp (20 g) tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c (115 g) coconut oil, solid
4-5 tbsp ice cold water
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced (omit or reduce if making these for children as the rosemary flavour is pretty pronounced)
Spread the coconut oil onto a small piece of parchment paper, and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden.
Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with an s-blade, combine the brown rice flour, tapioca and potato starches, xanthan gum, sea salt, and rosemary.
Remove coconut oil from the freezer and chop with a sharp knife into small pieces. Add to the food processor, and pulse a few times to combine with the flour mixture. Add 3 tbsp ice cold water and pulse. Slowly add more ice water, one tablespoon at a time, while pulsing. Stop before the dough is wet; it should hold together well when pinched.
Form the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place a piece of parchment paper down on your work surface, and sprinkle lightly with brown rice flour.
Remove the chilled pie dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on the prepared parchment sheet. Top lightly with brown rice flour, and the remaining piece of plastic wrap you used to wrap the dough to chill in.
Roll the dough to about 1/4-1/8" thickness. Using 3" rings (or, a sharp knife) but out 10 circles form the dough, re-rolling scraps until you have enough circles.
If dough cracks, just gently pinch it back together - it will still be fine!
2 tbsp raw honey, maple syrup, or agave
1 tbsp coconut sugar or granulated sugar of choice, plus extra for topping (add an extra tbsp of sugar if you like a very sweet filling)
2 tbsp tapioca starch
Peel and slice the peaches, and then cut the slices in half. Combine the peaches with sweeteners and tapioca starch, and stir well. You may find that, if your peaches are nice and ripe, you have quite a bit of juices. Try to get mostly the solid pieces when scooping the filling out.
Place 1 1/2 tbsp of peach filling over each of 5 pie dough circles. Carefully top each with remaining pie circles, and gently press edges together with the tings of a fork. Prick the tops of each hand-pie twice with a fork to create holes for steam to escape. Lightly brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with coconut sugar.
Place baking sheet with prepared hand-pies in the freezer for 45 minutes. (This step is important!)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden in colour. Allow to rest on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to serving plates.
Serve and enjoy! If not eating right away, store in the fridge in a sealed container once cooled. Hand-pies will freeze well if packed in an air tight container or freezer bag. Defrost, and gently warm in the oven to serve.