It seems like summer is determined to fly by in a blur this year, leaving me no choice but to frantically try to cram as much as I can into each precious weekend.
Some of the items on my summertime bucket list are already checked off, like long bike rides, big brunches eaten on sidewalk patios, Big Summer Potluck, Saturday morning outings to the farmer’s market, and beers in the backyard.
Others, like ferry trips to the Toronto Islands, picnics by the lakeside, and road trips to Ottawa and Montreal are still patiently awaiting for their turn.
I’m sure I won’t get to them all.
Already, the evening air is growing colder and the days are growing shorter, signaling the upcoming change in the seasons. And time, slippery beast that is it, refuses to wait for me to catch up, no matter how much I try to negotiate for just another week… day… hour… even minute. (Heck, it was so cold this morning that it felt like we were getting an early preview of late September!)
These little blueberry basil hand pies are one of my attempts to seize the season, especially since the window for finding fresh blueberries seems to be so fleeting. The filling is as simple as it comes – a tumble of itty bitty berries, a fine chiffonade of basil and a pop of bright lime, a combination as lively and sweet as summertime itself.
Wrapped up in a flaky pie pastry, they’re a perfectly portable treat for your favourite summer pastimes, whether it’s sitting in the backyard with a cold iced tea or perhaps a picnic by the lakeside – after all, you’re probably rushing to check off a few last things on your own bucket list, so you may as well kill two birds with one stone.
And just like summer, these little hand pies are gone all too soon, leaving nothing but a delicious memory (and perhaps a few crumbs on your shirt). But that’s all the more reason to treasure them while you have them.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup chilled butter, cubed
- ½ cup chilled shortening, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 3-4 tbsp ice-cold water
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp finely minced fresh basil
- 2 tsp lime juice
- ½ tsp lime zest
- 1 egg
- Demerara sugar (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt until combined.
- Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter and shortening until the mixture is crumbly, like coarse oatmeal. Stir in the egg yolk and vinegar, then add water by the tablespoon until the dough just starts to come together. (Err on the side of caution – the dough should still be ever so slightly crumbly, but hold together when you squeeze a handful.)
- Divide the dough into two equal halves. Wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap, shaping into a flat disc. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- In a second bowl, gently stir together the blueberries, cornstarch, basil, lime juice and lime zest until combined. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the first disc of pie dough to ⅛" thick. Cut out into 5" rounds. Repeat with the second disc of dough. If necessary, gather up the scraps and roll out again to get a total of 12 rounds.
- In a small bowl, prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg and ice water. Using a pastry brush, run a line of egg wash along the borders of a dough circle. Spoon a generously mounded tablespoon of filling into the middle of the dough, then fold over to enclose the filling and press tightly shut using your fingers. Using a fork, crimp the edge to seal completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Transfer the pies to parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar. Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke two or three holes into the top of each pie to vent the steam.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling out from the vents. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving, or let cool completely and pack into an airtight container.