Jam and Cream Hand Pies

A sweet way to celebrate Pi Day

In preparation for Pi Day, this coming Monday, 3.14, I made these lovely jam and cream hand pies. These pies are inspired by Miami's Cuban pastelitos de guayaba - flaky, sweet pastries filled with guava paste and cream cheese.

Jam and Cream Hand Pies

What is a hand pie?

A hand pie is a miniature pie that contains a yummy sweet or savory filling. They are known by many different names - empanadas, pasties, and even Pop-Tarts.

Hand pies differ in the types of doughs and fillings used. They can be baked or fried. They can be shaped in half moons, squares, triangles. But the one commonality is they are portable and can easily fit in your hand.

Jam and Cream Hand Pies

Making jam and cream hand pies

These pies are more similar to empanadas than pastelitos because they are made with a pie dough rather than a flaky (puff) pastry. I readily admit to using a shortcut with store-bought pie crust. I admire those, especially in the heat and humidity of Hawaii, who make beautiful pie crust dough. I am not one of those people so I take advantage of ready-made crust at the grocery store.

Because store-bought pie dough comes in rounds and these hand pies are rectangular, I cut off pieces of the pie dough to make rough squares before filling and sealing. This is optional, you could shape them as rough triangles instead - it's up to you. You just want to be sure to have a shape that can be sealed to hold the filling.

Filled, unsealed pies
Filled and unsealed hand pies with venting slits.

I also cut the venting slits for the pie before I fill them. It's easier than cutting the crust once the pie is formed.

Unbaked hand pie
Unbaked hand pie

Rather than using guava paste, I used my Papaya Ginger Jam. The jam keeps with the tropical theme and is a perfect match for the lightly-sweetened, lemon-scented cream cheese. Any jam you have on hand would work too (think fruity cheesecake flavors like blueberry or strawberry). You may need to experiment with the amounts of jam to cream cheese filling. You may need less jam if it's assertive like my papaya ginger jam. 

The pies are glazed with an egg wash to give them a nice golden brown color. And to add a little sweetness and crunch, the hand pies are sprinkled with some turbinado sugar before going into the oven to bake.

To serve

Serve the hand pies warm or at room temperature. To gild the lily, as it were, drizzle a little coconut caramel sauce over the pies before serving.