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Strawberry Basil Hand Pies

By Julie Anne Hession

Strawberry Basil Hand Pies


The combination of strawberries and fresh basil in a pie might strike you as odd, but basil is a member of the mint family, which often pairs beautifully with fresh fruit in desserts. In these pies basil plays two roles: the chopped herb is tossed with juicy strawberries for the filling, while fresh whole leaves are steeped in sweet melted chocolate for a mildly seasoned sweet glaze, says author of 175 Best Mini-Pie Recipes, Julie Anne Hession.



            5-inch (12.5 cm) round cutter

            2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper

            Fine-mesh sieve


White Chocolate Basil Glaze

3⁄4 cup            heavy or whipping (35%) cream            175 mL

10            fresh basil leaves            10

1 cup            chopped white chocolate            250 mL

Strawberry Basil Filling

21⁄2 cups            diced strawberries            625 mL

2 tbsp            chopped fresh basil            30 mL

1⁄4 cup            granulated sugar            60 mL

2 tbsp            cornstarch   (ensure label says GF)         30 mL

2 tsp            freshly squeezed lemon juice            10 mL

1            recipe Hand Pie Dough (see below)            1

1            large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp (15 mL) water            1


1.            White Chocolate Basil Glaze: In small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add whole basil leaves, pressing with a spoon to release their flavor. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to steep for 15 minutes.

2.            Strawberry Basil Filling: In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with chopped basil, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.

3.            On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to slightly thicker than 1⁄16 inch (2 mm). Using cutter, cut into rounds and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing apart. Reroll scraps as necessary.

4.            Brush edges of rounds with egg wash. Place about 2 to 21⁄2 tbsp (30 to 37 mL) filling in center of each circle. Fold circles in half, enclosing filling. Pinch together edges to seal and crimp with the tines of a fork. Brush tops with egg wash.

5.            Place pies on baking sheets in freezer for 30 minutes. Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).


Tips: For maximum freshness, fresh basil is best used within a few days of purchase.

For step-by-step photographs of making hand pies, see page 35.


Makes 16 pies


Hand Pie Dough

Makes about 13⁄4 lbs (875 g) dough

Enough for 12 to 16 hand pies

            Food processor


3 cups            gluten-free flour            750 mL

1 tbsp            granulated sugar            15 mL

1 tsp            baking powder            5 mL

1⁄2 tsp            salt            2 mL

7 oz             cold unsalted butter, cubed            210 g

2⁄3 cup            cold buttermilk, divided (see Tip)            150 mL


1.            In food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.

2.            Scatter butter overtop and pulse several times, until pieces are the size of peas.

3.            Drizzle half the buttermilk over flour mixture and pulse 4 to 5 times to combine. Add more buttermilk 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, pulsing after each addition, just until dough begins to hold together in moist clumps (you might not need all the buttermilk).

4.            Transfer to a large piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute 2⁄3 cup (150 mL) cold milk mixed with 1 tsp (5 mL) white or cider vinegar. Set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes before using in recipe.