While the valley is facing one of its biggest ice storms in decades with many residents still without power, here on the Oregon coast we are extremely fortunate to have been experiencing some relatively mild weather. With temperatures in the upper ’40s to low ’50s, hints of springtime are fast approaching. Buds are starting to pop up on trees and bushes. In Seal Rock, at my mom’s house, the daffodils are in full bloom. Here at my house in Waldport, the salal berries are beginning to grow on the vines. And although they’re not ready to start harvesting, I planned ahead last spring and summer and froze a bunch of those nutritious berries so we had some to enjoy throughout these winter months.
If you, too, happen to have a freezer full of salal berries, I have a recipe this week that’s definitely a must try! If you didn’t save any salal, this recipe would be great with just about any berry or pie filling.
Salal Berry Hand Pies
4 cups frozen salal berries
1 cup sugar
In a saucepan over medium heat, add berries and sugar and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Once berries have reduced by approximately half and have thickened to a jam-like consistency, remove from heat.
Allow to cool to room temperature before filling pies, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Butter Pie Crust
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon salt
8-10 tablespoons ice water
In a food processor, add flour, salt and cold butter and pulse a couple of times to combine. Turn food processor on low speed and begin to slowly add ice water, one tablespoon, at a time until fully combined and dough ball forms.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before use.
Icing for pies
2 cups powdered sugar
Mix thoroughly until smooth.
All of the above ingredients, plus one egg white for sealing pie crusts together.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 4-inch diameter circular cookie cutter cut out 2 circular shapes (one for the top and one for the bottom).
Spoon in 1-2 tablespoons of salal pie filling into the very center of the circle.
Brush egg whiles around the perimeter of pie dough.
For the top crust, gently stretch out the center of dough a little with your fingers to allow room for filling. Place over bottom crust, then using a fork, press down to seal crusts together. With a sharp knife, cut small slit in top crust.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Immediately out of the oven, spoon icing over pies. Allow to cool, then enjoy.
Makes 12, 4-inch pies