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+ servings

Rhubarb and Rose Hand Pies

yield: 24 hand pies
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Special Equipment

  • a 5-inch round cookie cutter (see baker's notes)


For the Rhubarb and Rose Filling

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • the zest from 1 medium orange
  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch segments
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

For the Pie Dough

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup water, very cold
  • 1/4 cup vodka, very cold
  • 1 egg, gently whisked


For the Rhubarb and Rose Filling

  • First, make the pie filling. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the zest from 1 medium orange. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar — this will help release the oils from the zest and turn your sugar into fragrant orange sugar.
  • Transfer the sugar and orange zest to a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pot and add 1 pound sliced rhubarb, 1 teaspoon orange juice, and one teaspoon rose water. Cover and cook at medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 15 minutes, increase heat to medium and remove lid. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the rhubarb has broken down and thick enough that you can run a spoon across the bottom and a trench forms. Spread mixture on a large plate and chill in the fridge to cool quickly. Keep cold until needed — it is thicker and easier to scoop when making the hand pies.

For the Pie Dough

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well combined. Add 1 cup cold, cubed unsalted butter and use a pastry cutter to incorporate into the flour until the butter has incorporated completely and has been reduced to pieces no larger than a pea. The end mixture should have a texture similar to cornmeal.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup vodka over the mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gradually gather the mixture into a ball; if the mixture seems dry, add another 1 tablespoon or two of vodka. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, do so. Divide the dough into 2 halves, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into 2 small disks, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.


  • Preheat the oven to 400 (F). Prepare two baking trays by lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Prepare the dough by checking to see if it has chilled. At this point, if it has the texture and consistency of saltwater taffy, it's ready to be rolled. Liberally sprinkle a work surface with flour — I used around 1/4 cup's worth. Work with 1 disc at a time. Unwrap the dough and place it on the work surface, sprinkling its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough seems too sticky at first, add flour liberally. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure, from the center out. Roll the the dough to about 10 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.
  • Use a 5-inch round cookie cutter to cut out pie dough circles. If using micro cookie cutters, stamp out the smaller shapes. If not, use a knife to cut a small vent close to the middle of the circles. Working quickly, place 1 teaspoon of rhubarb and rose filling in the center of each circle. Again, don't be tempted to put more than a teaspoon in — it will be hard to seal without leakage. Fold the circles in half, sealing the rhubarb and rose filling in. Press the outer edges of the half circle to seal with your fingertips, before using a fork to crimp the edges tightly. Transfer each half moon to the baking sheet, spacing an inch apart. Brush the top of each hand pie with the whisked egg. Repeat with remaining dough, including the second disc from the fridge.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Once finished baking, transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool before serving.