Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cookie #89 - Mini Jam Pie Cookies

In pastry, there are four classic doughs that are used:

Pate Brisee, traditional pie dough.

Pate Sablee, a crumbly dough commonly used in tarts.

Pate a choux, which is a light airy dough used for cream puffs, eclairs, etc. 

Pate sucree, a sweet pastry dough. 

These cookies use pate sucree.  If you've never made a pie dough, or are intimidated by it, this is a fantastic way to start.  I find a pate sucree much easier to work than a traditional pie crust.  Maybe it's the addition of the sugar and the egg yolks.  Maybe it's the fact that when I make a pate sucree I tend to be a little less stressed than when I make a pie crust.  Coming from a long line of pie-making women, I've got a lot to live up to.  That puts a lot of stress on a girl. 

The inspiration for these cookies came after I spent a weekend testing some apple pie recipes for an upcoming contest at my local farmer's market.  I had a little pie crust left over and decided to bake off some little mini turnover like bits.  I filled them with some strawberry preserves I had on hand. 

I was disappointed.

I knew there had to be a better way.  After realizing that the dough itself wasn't sweet enough for this application, I chose to use the pate sucree.  Have I mentioned how much I love this dough?  Now I had to decide the filling.  As I reached for my jar of store-brand raspberry preserves, I remembered I had a jar of the most awesome berry preserves in my pantry. 

Dutch Hill Preserves is a vendor at my local farmers' market.  95% of the fruit they use is local (75% they grow themselves).  The other 5% is citrus and we all know you can't grow good citrus in Pennsylvania.  I've hand quite a few of their jams & jellies, but their Triple Berry Jam is by far my favorite. There is no denying this is a real berry jam.  As you spoon out the jam you will find whole strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. 


I've never had jam so good.  It is better than anything you can ever buy off the shelf at your grocery store.   You can taste the freshness of the berries - they taste like the breezy Pocono mountains and the warm summer sun.  Perfect to compliment my sweet pastry. 

After baking off a batch, I couldn't wait to dig in.  I had to execute some serious willpower - but hot jam burns and I wanted to really be able to enjoy these.  The pastry was sweet and tender and the jam oozed just a little on first bite.  The sweet and tart berries tingled my tongue.  The raw sugar sprinkled on top added a little bit of a crunchy texture - I love that. 

Don't they just look delicious? (ignore the one in the center on the bottom....I got a little over zealous with the jam).

I am so excited with the way these cookies came out. I have a few set aside and I can't wait to share them this weekend with the folks at Dutch Hill Preserves. I hope they agree that my pastry showcases their delicious jam just perfectly.

Now, onto the recipe:

Mini Jam Pie Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup ice water
1 cup preserves of your choosing
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp cold water
a few tablespoons turbinado sugar (aka, Sugar in the Raw)

In the bowl of a food processor, add flour and sugar.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add cold butter and pulse until crumbly and the texture of sand.  Add egg yolks and pulse to combine.  With the processor running, drizzle in the water until the mixture forms a ball.  Wrap the ball in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
On a well floured work surface, roll out portions of the dough until very thin - less than 1/4".  Cut the dough using a 3" round cookie cutter.  In the center of each circle, place about 1/2 - 1 tsp of jam.  Don't over fill or this will happen:

Wet the edges of the circle with water and fold over.  Press closed with your fingers and the crimp the edges using a fork.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1" apart (they don't spread or puff too much so you can place them pretty close together). 
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden colored. 

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