Homemade blueberry hand pies that are filled with blueberries and a dreamy ginger vanilla custard inside a buttery crust- a pretty and delicious blueberry dessert.
Blueberries and ginger vanilla custard baked in a pretty pocket of soft, flaky pie dough – sounds good right? The taste will be even better. These blueberry hand pies vanished so quickly in my home, I barely could steal away a couple for myself after I made them. You can use whatever berries you have, even frozen ones. I used frozen blueberries and the pockets turned out perfect.
The beauty of these rustic berry-filled mini-pies is that the gorgeous fillings are meant to spill out a little, giving a preview of the deliciousness that waits inside the blueberry hand pies. So don’t worry too much about making them all neat and tidy, just put in as much filling as you dare and let the pockets do their thing in the oven.
This is a great make-ahead recipe, as both the dough and the filling can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use. I made both the day before I baked the pockets, and the dough was easy to work with and the filling stayed soft and creamy. I love any recipe that allows me to divide the work over a couple of days so I don’t have to camp out in the kitchen for hours at a time.
This recipe uses quite a bit of ginger, because I love fresh ginger and want the flavor to really pop when I use it. You can use half the amount given here if you would like the gingery flavor to be more subtle. Personally, I think it gives these sweet blueberry hand pies some edge and personality and I wouldn’t have them any other way.
The main thing about working with this pie dough is to keep it cool to maintain easy handling and processing. As soon as the dough becomes too warm, it will be harder to mold. I suggest placing the rolled out discs in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before filling and closing them up. This is not necessary for the pockets to turn out well, but it will make the whole process a little easier for you.
Cutting the steam vents on top of each pocket lets you control how much of the filling will come out. Cutting two 1/3 inch cuts is probably the tidiest option; I cut just one vent and made it slightly longer, and had a lovely spillage! I used wild blueberries, the smaller “lowbush” variety that are deep dark blue on the inside as well as outside. If you use regular, larger blueberries that have a lighter flesh, put half as many berries in each pocket so that the dough will not tear. I just love the intense color and flavor of wild blueberries for this recipe.
This pie dough recipe results in buttery, tender and flaky crust and can also be used for a standard 9 inch pie shell. The recipe is one of my go-to recipes for pie crust and it has never let me down. Easy as pie too!
Note: Adapted from Valerie Gordon’s book Sweet.
Blueberry Pockets with Ginger Cream Filling
FOR THE DOUGH:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ sticks cold butter cubed
¼ cup ice cold water
FOR THE FILLING:
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter cubed
2 cups wild blueberries
1 egg for brushing
1. First, make the dough. Mix together flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Pick the butter into small pieces into the flour with your fingers until you have a texture resembling a coarse meal.
2. Pour the cold water in the flour-butter mixture, mixing with a fork just until the dough starts to look more even. Divide the dough into 2 parts, pat into a disc shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Make the filling. Grate the ginger very finely, also reserving the juice that forms. Put milk, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat immediately after you see bubbling.
4. In a medium bowl, mix cream, yolks and cornstarch together with a whisk. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture from the saucepan into the bowl while whisking constantly. Add the grated ginger and any juices. Pour this sauce back into the saucepan and while continuing to whisk, cook just until the sauce thickens on medium-low heat. Don’t cook too long or you’ll end up with a rubbery lump; remove from heat when the sauce starts to look custardy and is no longer watery. Finally, put the cubed butter into the pan and mix until melted.
5. Pour the sauce through a mesh sieve into a bowl, cover carefully with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until completely chilled.
6. When you are ready to bake the pockets, preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Unwrap one disc of dough and on a floured surface, roll out with a rolling pin until you have a roughly 1/8 inch thick roundish shape. If the dough starts to stick to the working surface, run a spatula under it. Sprinkle the dough with flour if the pin starts to stick to it.
8. Cut out rounds roughly 4 inches in diameter, roll out the scraps and repeat until no dough is left. Place the rounds on a tray or a large plate and put in the fridge and repeat the process for the other disc of dough. You should have a total of 14-15 rounds in the end.
9. Take out the first batch of rounds, place on baking sheet and put 1 tablespoon of ginger vanilla filling and 10-12 wild blueberries on one half of the round, leaving a border. Using your finger or a small brush, brush the edges of the round with lightly whisked egg, then lift the empty half over the filling and gently cover it until the edges meet. Press edges together and crimp with a fork or your fingertip. Place the pockets back on the tray and in the fridge while you repeat the process for the second batch of rounds.
10. After putting the second batch of pockets in the fridge, take out the first batch, place on baking sheet and brush with lightly whisked egg. Cut steam vents on the top of each pocket, sprinkle with sugar and bake until golden brown and filling is bubbling out from vents, around 30 minutes.
11. Let cool on the baking sheet, then remove with a spatula. Store in room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days.