By Seton H. Rossini
When Valentine’s Day rolls around, I eagerly await the arrival of a single box of Conversation Hearts, sent from my mother in an envelope that has been heavily inspected by the postal service. They usually arrive crushed and stale, but to me, there’s nothing better than those chalky heart candies. Throughout the years, I’ve tried to pass on the love of Conversation Hearts to my husband and failed miserably. I’m convinced the only way to a man’s heart is not with candy hearts, but with pie. So one chilly February 14 a few years back, I made these sweetheart hand pies and our own conversation heart was invented. Whether the messages are traditional (“Love You” or “XOXO”) or, um, less sentimental (“Take Out the Trash” or “Share the Remote”), when I deliver them on a delicious flaky hand pie, they’re always well received.
Makes 9 hand pies
BUTTER PIE CRUST
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ó-inch cubes
1/3 cup ice water
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or large fork to cut the butter cubes into the dry ingredients, working quickly and incorporating all of the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of peas.
Slowly drizzle the ice water into the flour mixture and mix until the dough pulls together. Divide into two disks and wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight.
2 cups raspberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
Combine the raspberries, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with liners or parchment paper.
Unroll one of the chilled disks of dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out until dough is about 1/8-inch thick, rotating the dough often so it doesn’t stick.
Using a 4-inch heart cookie cutter, cut 9 hearts out of the dough and place them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Spoon out two heaping spoonfuls of the filling into the center of each heart, leaving a 1/2 inch border of dough all around.
Roll out the second disk of chilled dough and use the heart cookie cutter to make 9 more hearts.
Use your finger to lightly dab water around the edges of the filled pies, then place the additional dough hearts on top, pressing the edges shut. Use a fork to crimp the edges together.
Gather remaining dough scraps and lightly fl our your work surface. Roll out dough into a 1/8-inch sheet and use alphabet cookie cutters to spell out your message.
Use a scant amount of water to affix letters to the pies. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg over the top of the pies. Bake for 35 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Apple: In a small bowl, combine two large peeled and diced apples, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and . teaspoon cinnamon.
Banana & Nutella: Thinly slice two bananas. Spoon 1 tablespoon of Nutella on each heart cutout then layer several banana slices on top.
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Seton H. Rossini is pretty much our baking hero. Graphic designer, self-taught baker, and general super mom, she is also the author of Sweet Envy: Deceptively Easy Desserts, Designed to Steal the Show.