Two of my favorite ways to spend time with my kids have always been reading and cooking. So when the folks behind the novel Deep Blue asked if I’d like to team up to develop a recipe inspired by the book and then prepare it with one of my girls, I was all in.
Written by New York Times’ best selling author Jennifer Donnelly, Deep Blue is the story of one brave mermaid named Serafina who sets out on an adventure after her life is turned upside down. It’s the first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to save their hidden world.
With the backdrop of the “Deep Blue” ocean, I was inspired to develop these Deep Blueberry Hand Pies. They are tasty, flaky little pies made with whole grain flour and studded with juicy bluerries… just the sort of wholesome treat to pack along for an expedition of your own, seafaring or otherwise.
I grabbed my middle daughter Rosie, who at 13 is just the right age for the Deep Blue series (and a champion baker to boot). We set out on adventure in the kitchen, playing with pastry with delicious results.
Blueberry Hand Pies
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup blueberries or defrosted wild blueberries
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Put the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse once or twice to blend. Add the cubes of butter and pulse several times until the butter is the size of little peas and blended into the flour. Add the ice water and pulse just a few times more to form a moist, crumbly dough. If you don't have a food processor, you can make this dough by hand in a large bowl using a pastry cutter.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and press together into a disc. If it seems too dry to hold together, dribble on a little more cold water, a teaspoon at a time, until it forms a dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In a small saucepan, stir the cornstarch into the lemon juice until it dissolves. Add the blueberries, sugar, and lemon zest. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the sugar dissolves and the blueberries begin to release their juices and color the pan (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat.
After 30 minutes of chilling, use a rolling pin to roll the dough onto a floured board until it is about 9 x 15 inches. Cut it crosswise into 5 rectangles of dough (each will be 3 by 9 inches). Spoon the blueberries onto one end of each rectangle of dough, being sure the blueberries don't get too close to the edges (leave at least a half inch of room). Fold the non-blueberry end of the dough up and over the blueberries until the edges meet. Use the tines of a fork to gently press the sides of dough together to form a tight seal. Don't worry if a little of the blueberry juice travels out.
Once all 5 pies are formed, use a spatula to transfer them onto the baking sheet and refrigerate another 30 minutes.
Just before baking, gently brush the top of each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch or 2 of sugar. Poke a fork into the top of the dough to allow any steam to release.
Bake until the pies are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Eat while still warm or at room temperature. Will keep for up to 3 days.
The photos of me and the kids in this post were shot by my friend Kim Koch. She is a photographer, among other things, specializing in children and families. You can find out more about her work here. She also writes the blog In Write Field.