Blackberry-Goat Cheese Hand Pies and a Giveaway

handpie4I have a confession to make.  I love Pop Tarts.  Cherry Pop Tarts to be exact.  Or Brown Sugar Pop Tarts (but only with frosting.)  Never mind that the nutrition label lists a number of truly terrifying-sounding ingredients (Dare I stop to contemplate: What is sodium acid pyropospate exactly?  Or sodium stearyol lactylate? And why do you need so many different types of food dye in such a small pastry?)  I’ll overlook all that… they are a guilty pleasure – and I can’t watch a Gilmore Girls episode without being reminded of just how much I crave them.  And I watch a lot of Gilmore Girls episodes.

handpie2So what does this have to do with hand pies? (You might be asking at this point.)  I don’t eat very many Pop Tarts these days… I understand they’re not a particularly healthy breakfast option.  But pastries filled with real fruit intrigue me.  Hand pies strike me as a sort of high-end version of Pop Tarts, which makes me very happy.  And I found blackberries on sale at the market yesterday… which made me even happier.  A vision of blackberry hand pies started dancing in my head… (last night when I couldn’t sleep because I drank too much highly caffeinated Mexican Iced Coffee in service to my blog, that is.)


Originally, I thought I would whip up a pie crust to encase my blackberry and brown sugar filling.  But then I came across a  Cherry Hand Pie recipe in the most recent issue of Food and Wine.  Hmm, puff pastry… much easier… and quite dreamy looking.  I decided a bit of goat cheese might add a bit of tang to the creation… and I was right.  Hot out of the oven, these hand pies were quite magnificent, I must say.  I’ll admit to you I ate three of them in quick succession (in the name of blogging research, of course).  Shh, don’t tell anyone.

A few hours later, I had lunch with a friend and her teenage daughter our favorite local diner, where I presented them with a box filled the remaining pastries.  They were inhaling them right out of the box while waiting for lunch to be served (thankfully this is the sort of place where no one frowns upon bringing your own baked goods to lunch.)  High praise indeed.

So enjoy these lovely hand pies… I’ll be bringing them to Fiesta Friday this week.  I do think I will need to try my hand homemade Cherry Pop Tarts sometime this summer, however, don’t you agree?

Have I mentioned how thrilled I am summer is here?  I thought I would celebrate with my dear blog readers by offering my first ever Giveaway.  As you know, I am addicted to cookbooks, and one that just shouts “Summer!” to me is Home Made Summer by Yvette Van Boven.  I love this line from the New York Times Book Review: “Think of van Boven as the activities director of your own culinary summer camp . . . Home Made Summer is a happy book, fun to look at, fun to read. It’s downright frivolous, in fact. And that’s what summer is all about.”   (Amen to that!)


So here is the deal.  Leave a comment below to be eligible for a copy of the book.  (and if you would take a moment to follow my blog as well, I would appreciate it!)   Be sure to tell your friends too! The Giveaway ends at midnight Tuesday, June 3rd.   Unfortunately, the Giveaway is for US residents only.

I look forward to continuing the fun at Bourbon and Brown Sugar all summer long!


Blackberry Goat Cheese Hand Pies

Adapted from a 2006 Gourmet magazine recipe, and the above Food and Wine recipe…


  • 2 cups blackberries (3/4 pound)
  • 1 large Golden Delicious apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 package puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


Cook blackberries, apple, cornstarch, lemon, brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until mixture just boils and is thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl to cool.

Take each piece of puff pastry, and slice it into 9 squares, roughly 3 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  Mound about a tablespoon of filling onto each square.  Sprinkle a bit of goat cheese on top.

Fold, seal, and crimp the edges of the pastry.  Brush with beaten egg, cut a slit in the tops and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375 for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Makes 18 hand pies.