Let’s take a trip down memory lane, or as Jesse calls them, fond memories…
Last summer, while driving through middle-of-no-where Montana, Jesse and I stumbled across a log cabin dubbed Fat Bottom Ranch with a sign out front that read Fresh Huckleberry Pie & Ice Cream. You know we stopped.
We were welcomed by a pack of dogs, bouncing off the porch and into the front yard area. After wading through the sea of furry bodies, we were welcome by their owners inside. An older couple, the owners, were behind the bar and a local sat eating what looked like heaven – a fat slice of warm huckleberry pie topped with melting homemade vanilla ice cream. While we waited for our servings (Jesse opted for the local’s choice, I got a cone of the huckleberry ice cream and the pups split a bowl of vanilla), the local man told us a story about how one night, a big ol’ grizzly bear broke down the door to get into this sacred haven of huckleberry pie. He broke down the side door, clambered over the bar and ate every single huckleberry Fat Bottom Ranch had to offer. There were claw marks on the floor to prove it. The local told it with such gusto, that I got the feeling it was his job to sit at this bar, eat pie and tell this story. Was a it a local tall tale to amuse tourists? Possibly, airing towards probably. But after tasting that huckleberry pie, I would have torn down a door to get to it too.
For months after our trip up to Montana, I dreamed of huckleberry everything. But alas, you really can’t find the good, real deal stuff anywhere but waaaay up North, basically Canada. But then, last week, Jesse was my hero. He was up in Northern Wyoming and found a store selling some real deal huckleberry spread. I knew what I had to do. Huckleberry hand pies.
Huckleberry Hand Pies with Coconut Oil Pie Crust
1/4 cup huckleberry fruit spread (or your choice of fruit spread)
4-6 small strawberries (cut into small pieces, roughly 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Coconut Oil Pie Crust
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, chilled
6 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or cane)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Preheat oven 375°
For the crust:
In a medium size bowl, combine both flours, sugar and salt. Cut in chilled coconut oil into flour mixture. Continue to cut in and start adding the cold water one tablespoon at a time. You may need give or take 1 tablespoon of water, but the end result should be a smooth lump of dough that does not feel too stiff or falls apart. Roll out until 1/8 inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (or just use a glass if you don’t have one!) to cut out your hand pies. You’ll want an even amount – one for the top and one for the bottom. This dough yields roughly 12 2.5 rounds with a little junk leftover (you can make cinnamon roll up cookies with that!)
For the filling:
Sauté cut strawberries in huckleberry spread. If you don’t have huckleberry spread, you can use whatever jam/fruit spread you prefer or have on hand. I recommend a berry flavored jam that has chunks of fruit in it. Note, the runnier the spread is, the more you’ll have to reduce it. You also may need an additional pinch or two of corn starch. Once the filling mixture is warmed through, add the cardamom and corn starch. Stir until complete mixed in. Continue to stir on a low simmer for 2 minutes. Liquid should reduce and thicken so you have more of a compote consistency. Remove from heat.
While the filling is cooling, take 6 of the round pie crusts and use a knife to slice a few breathing slots. 4 or 5 should do the trick. Then, scoop 1 tablespoon of filling in the the center of 6 dough rounds. Don’t get greedy with the filling – if you add too much, it’ll be a mess when you put the top on. Take the round with the slots cut into them and bend them slightly so the middle puffs up. Gently place on top of rounds with filling. Use a fork to close the edges, I recommend dipping the fork in melted coconut oil to help seal the edges.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool. Store in air tight container up to 4 days.