Blackberry Hand Pies

There's no better symbol of the American Summer than fresh picked blackberries mixed with organic cane sugar, zesty lemon, and a pinch of nutmeg - and folded into a flaky, buttery homemade crust. And better for us when we don't have to share.

I love single-serving presentations. Not only are they easier for picking up in buffet lines, but they're just more fun at any meal of the day. Sea scallops served in clam shells, fried chicken served on miniature waffles, and best of all - for dessert - your very own pie.

Have a try at making your own pie. It's not as daunting as it may seem. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter by Kate Lebo. A short read will give you all the information you need about making perfect crusts - double crust, cheese crust, galette, and more. You can turn a double pie crust recipe into 6 - 6" hand pies, fun for gatherings or on-the-go.

Here's my own recipe for an easy blackberry & goat cheese pie:

Step One: Purchase blackberries from a local farm or farmer's market. You'll also need a lemon, salt, nutmeg, and organic flour and butter.

Step Two:  Follow instructions in Pie School for a double crust. This is basically a double batch of pie crust and can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Step Three: Mix 5 cups of blackberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, with a pinch of each, salt and nutmeg.

Step Four: Roll out your dough. Use a 6" plate or round pastry cutter to cut out 6 rounds. In each round, spread 1 tablespoon of softened goat cheese in the center of your pastry. Add enough pie filling to leave the edges exposed. Fold the pie over, and press with a fork around the adjoining edges.

Step Five: Place your hand pies on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 on the middle rack until the top is golden brown.