Chocolate Hand Pies
Happy national PIE DAY! Yes, today January 23rd is National Pie Day.
Let’s spread it all around. ♥
This past week, I’ve been working with chocolate/cocoa pie dough. It’s not heavy on the chocolate because I found that to be nearly impossible. However, there’s a slight cocoa taste that will surely complement a chocolate ganache filling. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and, well, because the world needs a little more love (and always more chocolate!) … I made HEART hand pies.
Today let’s look at step-by-step photos and chat about:
- Chocolate pie dough
- The filling
- Bringing it all together!
And add a heart shaped cookie cutter to your Amazon cart if you don’t already have one!
The chocolate pie dough is an all-butter pie crust. I prefer to make regular pie dough with a mix of shortening and butter, but I found the best results for *chocolate* pie dough with all butter. The dry ingredients are like regular pie dough, but we’ll sub out some flour for unsweetened cocoa powder. Since there are no leavening agents, you can use either dutch-process or natural cocoa powder. I use dutch-process. Add a little sugar since cocoa can be bitter. And Instead of ice cold water, use ice cold milk. Cocoa powder has the tendency to dry things out, so I suggest a richer liquid, like milk or cream, in the pie dough.
As always, keep your chocolate pie dough super cold at all times. These guarantee chocolate pie dough success: (1) cold ingredients and (2) chilling the pie dough before shaping it.
After the pie dough has chilled, roll it out and cut into shapes.
Quick tip: place the heart shapes in the refrigerator so they stay cold as you prepare the hand pie filling.
The filling is a simple chocolate ganache made from pure chocolate and heavy cream. Pure chocolate like those 4 ounce bars you get next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle (Baker’s brand, Ghirardelli baking bars, etc). But here’s a little secret to amp up the flavor. Add PEANUT BUTTER. This, of course, is optional and you can make a plain chocolate ganache if preferred. But if you’re not concerned about the chocolate hand pies being nut-free, why not?
I’ll include the optional addition of peanut butter in the recipe. My pictured hand pies were filled with peanut butter chocolate ganache!! ↓
When assembling the chocolate hand pies, make sure you brush the edges of the bottom heart with egg wash. This helps the top heart stick. Fill with a spoonful of ganache, then seal shut with a fork.
Add a little egg wash and coarse sugar on top of the hand pies before the oven. The chocolate hand pies will take about 15-18 minutes in a hot oven. Don’t overbake! I overbaked my first batch and they tasted very dry. Tasty, yes… but I needed a gallon of water after 1 bite. You only want to bake them until the edges are pretty set. The filling should be warm and a little gooey. Deeee-lish.
Top with more chocolate (and you can melt it down with peanut butter!!) and you’ve got yourself a triple chocolate heart-shaped treat.
These sorta remind me of chocolate pop-tarts. And, actually, this is exactly how we make homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts!
Chocolate Hand Pies
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (20g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons (24g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
- 1/2 cup (120ml) cold milk or heavy cream, plus more as needed1
- egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk or heavy cream
- optional: 2 Tablespoons coarse sugar for topping
- one 4 ounce bar (113g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped2
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream3
- optional: 2 Tablespoons (31g) creamy peanut butter
- 2 ounces (57g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped2
- 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
- optional: 1 Tablespoon (16g) peanut butter
- Place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and cubed butter into a large food processor. Pulse 15-20x until coarse crumbs form. Alternatively, you can use a large bowl and pastry cutter. Slowly drizzle in the cold milk or cream while pulsing (or stirring). After all the milk or cream is added, the dough should look slightly shaggy and be a little soft. If it's too dry, add another Tablespoon of milk or cream. Try not to overwork the dough. Divide the dough in half and form each into 1 inch thick discs. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours and up to 5 days.
- On a floured work surface (you can "flour" with cocoa powder too!), carefully roll out each pie dough with a rolling pin. Cut into heart shapes (using a 3 inch heart cookie cutter). Re-roll any scraps. Refrigerate the hearts as you prepare the filling. (I make room and refrigerate them on 2 baking sheets.)
- Make the filling: Place chopped chocolate into a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it begins to boil, immediately remove from heat then pour over the chocolate. Stir gently and slowly using a wooden spoon until the ganache is smooth. Stir in peanut butter, if using. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes. During this time, it will slowly thicken.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Remove the hearts from the refrigerator. Arrange on 2 large baking sheets if you haven't done so already. Brush the edges of half of the hearts with egg wash. Add a spoonful of filling on top of half of the hearts. Top with another heart (lightly stretch the top heart slightly if needed to cover). Press down the top edges to seal, then use a fork to crimp the sides to completely seal. Brush the top of each hand pie with egg wash. Top with coarse sugar, if desired.
- Bake the hand pies for 15-18 minutes, just until the edges are set. The tops of the hand pies may look a little soft. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling with chocolate and serving.
- Chocolate drizzle: Melt the chopped chocolate and oil (and peanut butter, if using) together in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each until completely melted. You can also melt in a double boiler if you have one. Drizzle over pies.
- Cover and store leftover hand pies at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Make ahead tip: The chocolate pie dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. The hand pies can be prepared through step 5 and refrigerated for up to 2 days before baking. Bake hand pies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
This chocolate dough yields 2 9-inch pie crusts.
- I suggest whole milk, half-and-half, or even heavy cream for the pie dough. Make sure it is ice cold.
- For the filling and topping, the chocolate used should be pure chocolate. Not chocolate chips. Pure chocolate produces the best tasting-- and the best texture-- for both. Pure chocolate is typically sold in 4 ounce bars in the baking aisle. Look for Baker's brand, Ghirardelli, Lindt, Nestle, etc.
- Chocolate ganache is made with heavy cream/heavy whipping cream. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup sour cream or crème fraiche. Instead of heating the sour cream or crème fraiche separately, melt either with the 4 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler until melted and combined. I find the best tasting ganache is with heavy cream.
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