Last summer, I shared that I’m not much of a pie lover. A year later, I’ve finally solved my pie dilemma: I’ve never tasted a crust that I truly enjoyed eating until I tried a buttermilk (with a touch of cornmeal) crust for these blueberry hand pies. When the pastry rolled out flawlessly without sticking or tearing, I was tempted to do a happy dance around the kitchen – surely I’m not the only one that’s been frustrated by pie crust? Well, no longer; I’m officially embracing the humble pie.

Blueberry Hand Pies | Tutti Dolci

Here are some of my secrets to a flaky, buttery crust: Chill all the ingredients in the freezer for 15 minutes at the start (including the bowl of dry ingredients); use a pastry blender to make the crust by hand (you’re far less likely to overwork the dough); and add a splash of vodka (vodka gives the dough added moisture yet vaporizes during baking, leaving behind a tender crust and no taste of alcohol).

Blueberry Hand Pies | Tutti Dolci

If pies or pastry have intimidated you in the past, I hope you’ll give these blueberry hand pies a try; they are absolute buttery perfection!

Blueberry Hand Pies | Tutti Dolci

Blueberry Hand Pies
Buttermilk Pie Crust
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, divided
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1-2 Tbsp vodka

1 cup blueberries
2 to 3 Tbsp honey, to taste
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water

1 large egg
1 Tbsp water
Turbinado sugar

Grate 1/4 cup butter into a small bowl; cut remaining 1/4 cup butter into small cubes and place in a second bowl; chill bowls in freezer for 15 minutes. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; place bowl in freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Chill buttermilk and vodka in freezer for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle cubed butter over chilled flour mixture and toss with a spatula to coat. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until the biggest pieces are the size of peas; fold in grated butter. Drizzle buttermilk over flour mixture; use a spatula to gather dough together until it forms large clumps. If needed, add vodka 1 tablespoon at a time, then gently knead just to form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and flatten slightly to form a disc. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days, or place in a freezer bag and freeze 1 to 2 months).

Meanwhile, make filling. Combine blueberries, honey, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl; add to blueberry mixture and continue cooking until thickened, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl. Place dough on a floured board and dust dough with flour. Roll out dough (roll dough in one direction, then lift up dough and rotate a quarter turn and roll, then repeat) until dough is just less than 1/4-inch thick. If dough starts to stick, use a bench scraper to lift dough from board.

Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut out circles (gently gather scraps into a ball and chill while assembling pies). Roll over circles twice, until dough is 1/8-inch thick. Brush half the circles lightly with egg wash; use a sharp knife to cut vents in remaining circles (these will be the tops). Place a small spoonful of blueberry filling in the center of each egg washed circle (approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons). Top with a vented circle; seal edges with a fork. Transfer pies to baking sheets; brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Repeat with chilled scraps (re-roll one time only).

Bake for 14 minutes, until pies are puffed and golden. Cool for two minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store leftovers up to one day at room temperature.

(P.S. Some helpful pie tutorials from Smitten Kitchen if you are visual like me available here, here and here.)

Yield – 16 hand pies
Calories – 112 (per hand pie)
Carbs – 12


  1. Your pies look perfect with a flakey tender looking crust. I used to be frustrated by pie dough until I finally started using my food processor to make them. I think I could do it by hand too now but I just didn’t know in the beginning how the dough was supposed to look.

  2. Beautiful little Blueberry Hand Pies, Laura! Great tips to share with peeps for buttery-flaky pie crust. Learned about freezing ingredients and implements from Cook’s Illustrated, read about vodka trick (from Rose, maybe?) and I like to work with my pastry blender over food processor, too! Thanks for sharing! xo

  3. I never thought of freezing the dry ingredients too – excellent tip!These hand pies are Perfect – love the outdoor photos! Welcome to the pie-lovers club! 😀

  4. Yeah, I stink at pie crusts…but this sounds like a winner! Your handpies look amazing…Bill has been requesting a blueberry pie…maybe I’ll make him these minis 🙂

  5. making pie crust makes me cry, no lie. so my beloved does the duties.

    anything mini slash bite sized is just asking to be shoved in my mouth in very quick succession , these look absolutely gorgeous.

  6. I add vinegar to my pie crust dough. A tip from a King Arthur Flour demo I attended. But have yet to incorporate vodka and must give it try! The Blueberry hand Pies are as adorable as they are scrumptious!

  7. I’ve never really been much of a pie lover either but there is no way I could pass up one of these. They look amazing, Laura! Love the photos.

  8. Pretty and irresistible! Berries are some of my all-time favorite fruits. Unfortunately, here they are really expensive, so I don’t get to eat them on a regular basis….



  9. A little piece of heaven! Like you, I’ve never been a huge fan of pies only because I thought that there was too much filling! I love a good crust and it’s definitely hard to find a good one! Cornmeal in anything happens to be one of my faves. I know I’ll just love this! 🙂

  10. I loved your three tricks! Baking is really interesting especially when I learn those special tricks that I had no idea from cooking savory food. I’m always amazed to know who figure out those tricks (more scientific reason?). I have your pie mold that I’ve been waiting to use (remember cute heart shape one? thanks again!). Blueberries inside would be my first choice…but love all fruits in pies though. 🙂

  11. Oh, they remind me of the English dish “Eccles Cakes”, but with blueberries – how lovely! I love the little stream of blueberry juice oozing out from the top, and the crust sounds really interesting!

  12. Not a pie lover?! Hold on, I need to hyperventilate into a paper bag real quick.

    Okay I’m back. Glad you finally found a crust you can count on! This buttermilk crust sounds phenom, btw. However I’m so sad that you’ll never get to eat one of these handpies since I am going to inhale them ALL. Insert evil laughter.

  13. Pie crust continues to thwart me, no matter what I do. I’m going to try your tips and hopefully (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to make pie crust as gorgeous as yours. Dang, these pies are perfect little bites!

  14. Hi Laura, I just discovered your blog. Great recipes and fantastic photos. Blueberry season is here and fruit with pie crust is always a winner with me. Thanks for sharing a creative variation on blueberry pie!


  15. Wow! I used white whole wheat flour (all I had in the house) and they turned out fantastic! I am always looking for recipes that can be adapted for my son who has to stay low-sugar — for his, I just put in straight blueberries, and he though it was wonderful. Thanks!

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