I have this on-again/off-again, love/hate thing with the color pink. Growing up, it was kinda my thing. Well, that and teddy bears. Bonus points if was a pink teddy bear. I was all pink all of the time. My relationship with the color has ebbed and flowed over the years, peaking around age 8 and fizzling out in the years since. The nail in the coffin was when those horrendously tacky Pink sweatpants from Victoria’s Secret hit the scene in the early aughts. Those saggy bottom, bubble gum hued, sorry excuse for pants ruined pink for me.
I’ve come to terms with all of that, and lately I’ve been slowly accepting pink back into my life, mostly by way of Rosé (another comeback kid). I’ve been hitting the Rosé like it’s going out of style, and it seems these days it couldn’t be more in style. Everyone and their fuzzy pink poodle is feeling pretty in pink this Spring and sipping the sweet nectar like it’s 1986.
While I may enjoy a more refined and distinguished Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s Rosé all the way on warm weeknights and sunny weekends. Like every Andie needs a Duckie (For all of you sweet millennials, that’s a reference from the classic 1986 John Hughes coming of age film, Pretty in Pink) my Rosé habit needed someone to lean on.
Enter, my new recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies with Pink Peppercorn Crust. The farm fresh strawberries have all of the playful sweetness of the lovable sidekick, Duckie, the rhubarb is as tart as Iona on date night, the pink peppercorns punch you in the mouth like that spoiled rich a-hole Steff, and the flaky tender crust is as complex and layered as Andie herself. If none of that makes sense to you, “It’s called a sense of humor – you should get one – they’re nice”, then bake yourself and your best boyfriend a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies with Pink Peppercorn Crust. Pop the top on a bottle of Rosé and settle in for an evening with the Brat Pack of Pretty In Pink.
Alright, I’m off like a dirty shirt.
- cold, unsalted butter - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- all purpose flour - 2 1/2 cups
- granulated sugar - 2 tablespoons
- salt - 2 teaspoons
- pink peppercorns - freshly ground - 1 teaspoon
- ice cold vodka - 1/4 cup
- ice cold water - 2-4 tablespoons
- fresh strawberries - 1 cup, chopped
- rhubarb - 1 cup, chopped
- lemon - zest and juice of 1
- sugar - 1/2 cup
- tapioca starch - 1 tablespoon
- egg - 1
- sparkling sugar or turbinado sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Cut the butter into 1/4"- 1/2" cubes and put back in the fridge or freezer to firm back up for a few minutes.
- Place the flour, sugar and salt and ground pink peppercorns in a mixing bowl with high sides and whisk together.
- If you have a food processor, you can use it to mix the pie dough. (Alternatively, you can mix the dough with a pastry blender or two butter knives.) Place the flour mixture and cubed butter in food processor. Gently pulse until the flour changes from silky to mealy; this should only take a handful of pulses so watch it carefully.
- While pulsing, gently pour the vodka through the feed tube just until combined. At this point, I like to turn the crumbly dough into a large mixing bowl to check the hydration level of the dough by gathering a small fistful; if it holds together, it’s ready. If it is dry or crumbly, slowly add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, using a pastry blender (or the butter knife method). Test the dough by pinching it occasionally.
- *Be careful to add only as much water as it takes to combine the dough into a ball or disk. The exact amount of water can vary depending upon the moisture content of the flour, the quality of the butter, and the weather. When it has the proper amount of water, the dough will come together without much effort or deliberate packing. If you need to add more water, make sure the ingredients are still cold.
- Form the dough into two disks and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour before rolling and forming. *If you don't plan on using the dough on the day you prepare it, you can store the dough in the freezer. This dough will last at least a couple of months if wrapped up tightly in the freezer. Defrost the frozen dough overnight in the fridge before using.
- Once your pie dough has chilled, on a lightly-floured counter, roll one disk to 1/8"-1/4" thickness. Using a 4" square cookie cutter, cut squares out of the rolled dough. Transfer the dough squares to a lined baking sheet, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining disk of dough.
- Chop the strawberries and rhubarb into 1/4" -1/2" chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Add the zest and juice of one lemon, sprinkle wish sugar and toss to coat. Stir in the tapioca starch and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Remove the chilled dough squares from the refrigerator. Cut vent slashes in half of the dough squares and reserve for hand pie tops. Spoon 1 - 2 tablespoons of filling onto remaining pie dough squares. Lightly brush a small amount of cold water around the edges of the filled dough squares. Carefully lay the vented top doughs over the filled dough squares and gently press and seal the edges together around the perimeter of each hand hand pie.
- Create a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork all the way around the hand pies. Repeat the process with remaining dough squares. Return the hand pies, on a lined baking sheet, to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.
- Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the hand pies with the egg wash and sprinkle with sparkling or turbinado sugar. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown, about 20 - 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
- Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.
- Enjoy with a bottle or Acrobat Rosé and the classic 80s film, Pretty In Pink.