Chocolates are great, but freshly baked strawberries and cream hand pies are my clear Valentine’s Day dessert winner.
I love getting homemade gifts on special occasions, so this year I wanted to bake a healthier dessert to share with all of my favorite people. Usually, flashy decoration and bright colors aren’t my jam, but I’ve made a slight exception for this holiday. These easy strawberries and cream hand pies are the perfect treat to wrap and gift to the people you love, because we all know that food is the way to just about anyone’s heart.
Before you start baking, you’ll want to pop the can of coconut cream and the mixing bowl that you’ll be using to make your coconut whipped cream in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this step! I had a few watery batches of cream before realizing how important temperature is for this one.
For the pie dough, I tested a variety of healthier alternatives to all-purpose flour, including whole wheat, oat, brown rice, and coconut, to find the perfect fit. With the help of my boyfriend/sous chef/recipe tester (who is an angel and deserves an award for helping make his own Valentine’s Day gift), I found that whole wheat flour yielded the most pie-like consistency and taste.
With the whole wheat flour, I used coconut oil to form a crisp, flaky crust. I prefer using this oil for most of my baking, because it gives pastries a subtly sweet, roasted coconut smell while maintaining a rich, buttery texture.
Getting the perfect strawberry to cream ratio was the trickiest part of this recipe. I used strawberries, a little maple syrup, and lemon juice for a naturally sweetened compote with a deep berry taste. For the coconut whipped cream, I experimented with a few different brands that didn’t form a cream when whipped. After a few goes, I found that this one worked the best for me. You can opt to add confectioner’s sugar for sweetness, but I love the fresh taste of the pure whipped coconut cream.
Make sure you don’t overfill your pies when you’re prepping them! You will end up with a runny mess, and we don’t want that. A small dollop of the strawberries and cream mixture in the middle of each pie will do the trick.
After your pies come out of the oven, let them cool and brush on a thin layer of the coconut milk glaze. I topped my mini pies with dried flower petals and heart sprinkles, but you can use whatever decorations you’d like!
Heart Shaped Strawberries & Cream Hand Pies
Takes , Serves 7.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sifted flour, salt, and coconut sugar.
- Evenly distribute dollops of coconut oil over the flour mixture and press into dough with a pastry cutter.* When the mixture is ready, it should have the texture of wet sand.
- Add in ice water 1 TBSP at a time until dough sticks together to form a dough.
- With your hands, form dough into a ball and transfer onto a well-floured surface.
- Roll out dough to about ⅛ inch thick. Using 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut 14 hearts from the rolled crust and place on baking sheets. Set in the fridge to chill.
- Chop strawberries into ¼-inch squares and place in a medium size saucepan.
- Drizzle maple syrup and lemon juice over strawberries and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes until strawberries start to fall apart.
- With a wooden spoon, mash the berries until they form a jam-like consistency and remove from heat. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer,** beat coconut cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Optional: Add in confectioner’s sugar. Continue beating until combined.
- Transfer coconut cream into a large bowl and add strawberry compote, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Evenly distribute small dollops of strawberry cream mixture on half of the heart cutouts.
- Place other half of heart cutouts on top and crimp halves together with a fork to close.
- Bake pies for 8-10 min. or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Vanilla Bean Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens into a glaze consistency. Brush glaze onto cooled pies and decorate with garnish of your choice.
* If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two forks as an alternative.
** A hand mixer will also work.