The Rhubarb Hand Pie, my friend, is a delightful, portable dessert that screams spring and summer. It’s basically a mini version of a classic pie, filled with tart, sweet rhubarb, encased in a buttery, flaky pastry, and topped with a drizzle of sweet vanilla icing. What’s not to love?
Why You’re Going to Love this Rhubarb Hand Pie Recipe
There are pies, and then there are hand pies. The humble hand pie invites you to be one with your dessert. You get to hold it, feel its weight, and bite into its crisp, flaky shell. It’s a sensory experience that a fork just can’t deliver. Plus, this version is filled with sweet-tart rhubarb, and the tartness of the rhubarb contrasts beautifully with the sweet pastry and icing.
Rhubarb hand pies are arguably even better than rhubarb pie for two reasons. 1. They are totally portable. Picnic dessert, anyone? (Or stuff two in your
bra purse and go!) 2. They are totally acceptable breakfast food (I mean, I justify regular pie from time to time, but these are essentially grown-up Pop Tarts).
Gather Your Ingredients for Rhubarb Hand Pies
Here’s what you need:
All-purpose flour: Our trusty workhorse, forming the backbone of the pastry and giving structure to the filling.
Sugar: Comes in two varieties – granulated and confectioners’. The granulated sweetens the tart rhubarb filling, while the confectioners’ forms the basis for our zig-zaggy icing.
Salt: A pinch in the pastry to enhance the flavors and balance the sweetness.
Cold Butter: The secret to a flaky pastry. Its moisture content creates steam in the oven, puffing up our hand pies into delicious layers.
Ice cold water: A touch helps bring our dough together without melting the butter – we want flaky, not greasy!
Rhubarb: The star of the show. Adds a delightful tartness to our hand pies, giving them a unique, fruity kick.
Egg: Not just for breakfast! In this recipe, it’s our golden brush-on friend that gives the pies a glossy finish and helps in browning.
Vanilla Extract: Adds a hint of warmth and complexity to our sweet icing.
Water: For the icing, to get it to just the right drizzle-able consistency.
How to Make Hand Pies: Step-by-Step Directions
Prep the dough: Mix flour, sugar, and salt, then add the cold butter. The aim is a breadcrumb texture before adding the icy water to pull it all together. A good night’s sleep (or at least a few hours) in the fridge will help the flavors to get acquainted.
Roll it out: Don’t rush – it’s a rectangle, not a race. Remember, even edges and uniform thickness make for even baking.
Portion and fill: Cut your dough into 6 even strips, then add the rhubarb goodness. Fold and pinch, fold and pinch. It’s like making edible envelopes filled with sweet-tart surprises.
Slit and transfer: Give your pies some ventilation (those slits are like little chimneys for the steam). Move ’em to the baking sheet, ready for their hot oven spa treatment.
Egg wash: A quick brush-on egg wash for that golden-brown sheen and to help the crust crisp up.
Bake: Into the oven they go! Wait for the golden transformation and the enticing aroma wafting through your kitchen.
Icing time: Lastly, the icing on the pie. Whisk and drizzle, whisk and drizzle. And remember, in the land of hand pies, a zigzag design is king!
Grab these Tools
Food processor: To help make quick work of that pastry dough. Can be done by hand, but why not let the machine do the heavy lifting?
Rolling pin: An essential to roll out your dough. Opt for a non-stick one if possible.
Paring knife or pastry wheel: To cut your dough into those perfect rectangles.
Baking sheets & parchment paper: You’ll need a stage for the baking magic to happen. The parchment is a non-stick miracle and makes clean-up a breeze.
Brush: To slather on the egg wash and get those pies gleaming.
Small bowl & whisk: For your icing mixing needs.
How to Serve Rhubarb Hand Pies
Rhubarb Hand Pies can be served warm or at room temperature. They look adorable arranged on a rustic wooden board or a cake stand, and of course, are best enjoyed with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. If you’re feeling extra decadent, serve them with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
You can make the dough a day ahead and keep it wrapped in the fridge. Even the rhubarb filling can be prepared ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Once baked, these pies are best enjoyed the day they’re made, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you need to make them further in advance, you can freeze the baked, cooled pies for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, just thaw them at room temperature and warm them up slightly in the oven. Don’t forget to drizzle the icing just before serving for that freshly-made look and taste.
Rhubarb Hand Pies
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup cold butter, cut in 1 inch cubes
- ½ cup ice cold water
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped rhubarb
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp water
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse a few times. Sprinkle butter over top and pulse until butter pieces are about the size of coarse crumbs. Scatter ice water over and pulse again a few times until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto a floured counter. Gather the dough into a cohesive lump and pat it into a disc. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least two hours.
- Preheat oven to 400º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll dough into a rectangle (approximately 16 by 11" wide). Trim edges to make straight lines. Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut dough crosswise into 6 equal strips.
- Divide the rhubarb filling among the dough strips, placing it in a small pile on one end of each rectangle, then fold remaining dough over and pinch edges to seal. Use a sharp paring knife to cut two 1" slits in the tops of each pie. Transfer pies to parchment-lined baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg with 2 tsp water. Brush pies with the egg wash. Bake pies for about 25 minutes, until golden brown and filling is bubbling out.
To make icing:
- Whisk together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and water. Drizzle over warm pies in a zigzag fashion.
Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD