Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Drawer Full of Snacks - Cranberry Orange Hand Pies

Everyone has been freaking out about "The Great Twinkie Shortage of 2012" but honestly, Twinkies weren't my favorite Hostess treat back when I use to eat full powered (ie regular sugary) sweets. My favorites were the fruit or pudding pies. You know the ones I'm talking about. They're the ones with the "fruit" in the bright mystery gel encrusted in a white sugar flaked crust? My favorite were the lemon ones. Those didn't even have fruit...just the dayglo yellow gel!
Hm, now that I think about, that doesn't sound as appetizing as it did when I was ten. Yet, the idea of having a homemade hand pie does sound appealing. Those Hostess pies are also known as hand pies...pies that fit conveniently in your hand with no utensils required. Especially with it being Thanksgiving week, what better drawer snack to share with you than a cranberry orange hand pie.
Cranberry Orange Hand Pies

1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup stevia sugar blend
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in halves
1 package of ready pie crust (usually comes with 2-9in rounds)
egg wash (1 egg, 1 tablespoon water)
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In a medium saucepan, heat orange juice, sugar, orange zest, and cornstarch over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and coat with sugar glaze. Heat until the cranberries soften but remain whole, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Unroll the pie crust rounds. With a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut shapes front crust and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon cranberry orange filling onto half of the crust cutouts, leaving enough edge to seal. Top the pie filling with another crust cutout. Seal along the edges with a fork.
Lightly brush the top of the crust with the egg wash. Poke small holes or cut a tiny slit in the middle of the pie to vent.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool before serving.

Have fun with the cookie cutters. I used a maple leaf cutter for the season but they were rather large and only made 4 pies. I ended up with lots of crust scraps so I took one of my mini cutters and made bite size pies so not to waste all the flaky goodness. The very next day, I placed two of them in a plastic baggie and took them to work. They sat in my desk drawer until snack time and I have to confess how my weird mind works sometimes: The image of a whole pie...or even a slice of pie...sitting in my desk drawer just made me smirk. Anyways, I tore myself away from my work computer, took a break to eat my pies. The tart cranberries and sweet orange flavor went nicely with a cup of hot tea in my Little Miss Sunshine mug. They were delicious and perfect for a Fall afternoon. So if you aren't completely tired of pie or cranberries after Thanksgiving, take the time to make these super easy hand pies which I'm positive are more appealing (and healthier) then the neon gel pies.

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