Berries are the crown jewel of Oregon produce. The PNW gets a good amount of flack for its moody weather, but it turns out berries love the climate up here. The rich soils, fresh air, hot summer days and cool nights provide ideal growing conditions for berries. Berries of all flavors flourish during the idyllic Oregon summers. There is nothing quite as spectacular as fresh picked, plump and juicy Oregon blackberries, except for when those seasonal gems line the pastry pockets of these Blackberry Lime Hand Pies.
To celebrate summer and the beautiful berries it brings, I’ve partnered with my favorite local grocery store, New Seasons Market, to throw a virtual #SummerPieParty. We are in the thick of the celebration now and we’ll continue for the rest of summer. We’re making the most of New Seasons’ summertime selection of high quality, locally sourced, peak of the season produce by baking it into all things pie! We’ve already shared our Blueberry Peach Galette made with my tried & true Basic All Butter Pie Dough recipe, and now we are taking that same base dough and making magic again with these vibrant Blackberry Lime Hand Pies.
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST OFFERS UP A BEVVY OF BERRIES EVERY SUMMER SEASON
You’ve got the classics; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, but there is a whole wild world beyond the berry basics. Marionberries are an Oregon staple. In fact, they were cultivated at Oregon State University in the 1950s. We’ve got olallieberries, boysenberries, loganberries and even wild huckleberries in the more mountainous regions. Read all about my huckleberry forging adventure in my Huckleberry Crumble recipe post. There are so many interesting berry varieties around here, it’s hard to keep track. But one worth highlighting is the cult favorite, Chester Blackberries.
WHAT THE WHO IS A CHESTER BLACKBERRY?
I have to admit, I didn’t know either. But once I tasted these sweet, full flavored blackberries, all I knew was that this Chester guy had it going on. And I needed more immediately!
- More Berries, No Thorns - Chester Blackberries are indeed a blackberry, but they are a cultivated blackberry developed to be a thornless variety with higher yields. That makes them a whole lot easier to harvest than the thorny wild blackberry.
- Flavor Forward - Chesters became popular because of their super sweet, mildly tart, full-on bursting berry flavor. They stay on the vine until the very last minute, so they’ve got an intensely deep burst of berry flavor. It’s exactly what you’d want to bottle up if you could capture the truest, deepest essence of a blackberry.
- Keeps Their Shape - Chesters grow big and hardy, so they hold up better when transported and retain their shape when frozen, baked or cooked. I love them in these Blackberry Lime Hand Pies because even when they are baked, you still feel like you are biting into fresh berries instead of a jammy mush.
THESE SUMMERY BLACKBERRY LIME HAND PIES FEATURE LOCALLY SOURCED, PNW CHESTER BLACKBERRIES FROM AYERS CREEK FARM
Ayers Creek Farm is a 140 acre farm nestled in the Willamette Valley. Established in 1998, this family farm specializes in organic beans, berries, grain, corn and veggies. Ayers Creek is known and loved by many for their pristine, distinctly seasonal produce; the result of the unique climate that lies along the 45th parallel, just inland from the coast. Their plump, peak season Chester Blackberries are a local favorite.
I remember tasting the Chester Blackberries for the first time at New Seasons a couple of years back. I was immediately taken. So, this year, when the Ayers Creek Chester Blackberries arrived in the stores, I knew what had to be done. Hand pies. Specifically these Blackberry Lime Hand Pies featuring those juicy, jammy organic Chesters.
HAND PIES COME IN ALL SHAPES, SIZES AND FLAVORS
Hand pies can be sweet or savory. Glazed or unglazed. They can be for big or small hands. The wide variety of personality that can be baked into those little hand held pockets of pastry is what makes them special. Anything that comes in its own individually sized serving is automatically adorable, right?
HOW TO SHAPE HAND PIES
THESE BLACKBERRY LIME HAND PIES ARE LOADED WITH INDIVIDUALITY THANKS TO A FEW KEY COMPONENTS
- Foundational Crust - My Basic All Butter Pie Dough is versatile and works in everything from galettes to pies to hand pies. It’s rustic but pliable, tender, flaky and full of buttery flavor.
- Blackberry Burst - The Chester Blackberry filling is idyllic and so full of flavor. Those juicy jewels break down into a jammy filing that still has that fresh blackberry mouthfeel.
- Zest for Life - I love adding a little citrus zest to my pie fillings. Typically, I reach for lemon, but for these hand pies, I chose to combines lime with the blackberries. Fresh lime zest and a bit of lime juice bring a bright, tropical sensation to the deep, dark blackberries.
- Gorgeous Glaze - I could have left these Blackberry Lime Hand Pies with a plain old pastry brushed with a bit of eggwash and they’d be great. But, the vibrant color of fresh blackberry juice was too enticing to resist incorporating into a glaze. My bright and bold statement glaze is a simple mix of the extra juices released from the blackberry filling with some fresh squeezed lime juice whisked together with powdered sugar. I think the glaze gives these little pocket pies a little pop of pink personality.
Capturing the sweetness of summer berries in a pocket of pastry is worth the work when you get to share the handheld happiness. My recipe is detailed by design. I walk you through every single step to help you make perfect hand pies.
I hope you will join our #SummerPieParty and bake up a batch of these babies to celebrate the bounty of berry season with us! This post was made in partnership with New Seasons Market. Follow New Seasons on Instagram and Facebook or check out newseasonsmarket.com to learn more about their commitment to locally sourced, fresh, sensationally seasonal produce.
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