Cranberry Hand Pies
These cranberry puff pastry hand pies are simple to make and turn a beautiful golden brown as they bake. Sweet and tart cranberries enveloped in buttery puff pastry with an orange glaze. When you’re looking for a quick fix, these hit the spot every time. Made with easy store-bought puff pastry and a delicious orange cranberry filling, these are baked quickly and produce a flaky buttery pie with a juicy fruity filling. Serve them warm and gooey with a scoop of ice cream on top or at room temperature. They are similar to a puff pastry strudel so they can easily be enjoyed for breakfast brunch or for dessert. They are also a fabulous way to use up any of your leftover cranberry sauce.
Tips for baking with frozen puff pastry
We’re using frozen puff pastry today. Store-bought puff pastry is a lifesaver in the kitchen. Buttery, crisp, flaky, and convenient all in one. Puff pastry makes these handheld cranberry pies so easy to prepare. Here are some tips for baking with puff pastry:
- Start with puff pastry that has been fully defrosted! The best way to defrost puff pastry is by placing it in the fridge overnight!
- Puff pastry is easiest to work with when it’s still cold, but pliable which is why refrigerating it overnight is the best!
- Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the puff pastry into rectangles. You don’t want to smash the edges as that will cause the pastry not to puff up as much.
- Always baking using parchment paper or a silicone mat, so that the puff pastry doesn’t stick to the pan.
Cranberry puff pastry hand pie ingredients:
- Puff pastry - I used store bought all butter frozen puff pastry. One package of puff pastry comes with 2 sheets. You’re going to cut each sheet into 4 squarish - rectangles. You could also use store bought pie crust or use your favorite pie crust recipe in its place - you will need 2 pies crusts. My homemade double pie crust recipe would be perfect here.
- Cranberries - fresh or frozen will work for this recipe and you can even use prepared cranberry sauce or leftover homemade cranberry sauce too
- Sugar - brown or granulated is fine for the filling, coarse sugar for sprinkling and powdered sugar for the glaze if you are making it.
- Orange juice and zest - fresh is best for the filling and the glaze. And you could easily use lemon in its place.
- Spices - Optional pinch of cinnamon, ginger and cloves or other spice – you do you
- Egg and cream or milk - for the egg wash and for that beautiful golden baked sheen
- Other add ins - I love to add in some Orange liqueur to the sauce/filling as well - just a splash for extra flavour and I always add a splash of vanilla too for extra flavour. You can do one or the other or both.
- You could also add some Brie to the filling or shredded cheddar or even leftover Turkey if you want to make these sort of sweet and savoury.
How to make these cranberry puff pastry hand pies
- Make the filling - simply place all the filling ingredients into a small saucepan and Cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool. Just skip this step if you are using leftover cranberry sauce.
- Slice each sheet of puff pastry into 4 equal squares or rectangles and brush the edges with the eggs wash (for a total of 8 pieces)
- Spoon filling into the one side of each square
- Fold over the other side to form a triangle and press the edges to seal. Use a fork to press along the edges to seal. Slice tiny vents into each pie.
- Freeze for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven
- Once ready to bake - brush pies with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar
- Bake and then serve warm with the glaze or at room temperature.
Can I make these puff Pastry pies ahead of time?
Not only do they make for the perfect quick & easy dessert, but they are also an amazing make ahead / dessert prep option. The cranberries sauce of course can be made a head but the pies can be prepared and assembled ahead too. Simply prepare your hand pies, and instead of baking them off right away, pop them in the freezer and store them until you are ready to bake them off fresh whenever you are in desperate need of pies. I usually freeze them on the Sheetpan I prepared them on until they are frozen solid - 1-2 hours then I pack them in a freezer bag in the freezer. Assembled and unbaked hand pies can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen, no need to thaw before baking; simply add an extra couple minutes of bake time.
How do you keep hand pies from becoming soggy?
Brushing the dough with egg wash, making sure the pie dough stays as cold as possible, making sure that the filling is completely cooled before spooning it over the crust, and baking on a high temperature are all critical to ensuring a crisp hand pie that doesn’t become soggy. However, the filling is still liquid and after 24-48 hours it will begin to soften the crust, even if you followed all of the steps perfectly.
Here are more fun pie ideas:
For the Pastry
- 1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator (you can also use frozen pie dough)
- All-purpose flour, for dusting if needed
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of cream
- coarse sugar or turbinado sugar for sprinkling
For the Filling
- 1-1½ cups of homemade cranberry sauce
- One 8-ounce bag whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice and zest of 1 orange
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Large pinch ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
For the Orange Glaze
- ⅔ Cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
- ½ Tsp. orange zest
- If you are making the FILLING: Combine the cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla and zest, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Some cranberries will have burst. Let cool completely. DO AHEAD Cranberry filling can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg, cream and a pinch of sugar to make your egg wash. Set aside until ready to use.
- Lightly flour a cool work surface, and slice each sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry into 4 equal squares.
- Use a pastry brush to lightly brush around the side and bottom edge of each of the puff pastry squares with the egg wash you prepared earlier (this will help to bind the edges together when you assembling)
- Spoon about 2 tbsp of your preferred fruit filling onto half of each of the puff pastry squares. Leaving approx ½ inch border around each piece of puff pastry.
- Working one at a time, fold the empty half of each puff pastry square over top of the filling. Gently press the edges together with your fingers, and then seal them further using a fork to ensure they are closed nice and tight. Use a sharp knife to cut a couple of small vents or slits into the top of the pies.
- Once all of your hand pies are assembled, place them on your prepared baking sheet and set in the freezer for 15 minutes or so just so the dough can rest a bit before they hit the oven. (This is not necessary but recommended - it just ensures a nice flakey puff pastry, and your hand pies will hold their shape a bit better too.)
- Once your hand pies are chilled, remove them from the freezer and brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place in the center rack of your oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown in colour.
- Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool while you make your glaze.
- Prepare Simple orange Glaze: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together icing sugar, cream and vanilla until smooth. If your glaze is a bit too thick, add a few more drops of water, or if it is too thin, add a couple more tbsp of icing sugar.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over your warm hand pies and enjoy!
- I made triangle hand pies so I used my hands to arrange the berry filling into a triangular shape. You could also just make them into rectangles.