Cane Syrup Hand Pies
Isaac Toups' Fried Bone-In Pork Chops + Cane Syrup Hand Pies
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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Yield:
makes 24 hand pies

Cane syrup is a Louisiana staple. It's typically thicker than maple syrup, more like molasses, and it's what we always had on pancakes and waffles growing up. My grandmother used to make these sweet hand pies and they were always my favorite dessert.

Technique tip: Make sure the dough is cold when you work with it.

Swap option: You can use molasses instead of cane syrup.

Ingredients

  • Filling

    • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
    • 2 dashes fine sea salt, divided
    • 2 cups cane syrup
    • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • Dough

    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    • 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, frozen and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 3/4 cups ice water
  • To Assemble

    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • Pure cane sugar, to garnish

Preparation

For the filling:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish with butter.

2. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the water and bring to boil, stirring regularly until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and then the cream. Mix well and add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and a dash of sea salt. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool.

3. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, the cane syrup, beaten eggs and dash of sea salt to the bowl. Stir until well blended.

4. Pour the mixture into the buttered casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes, turning the casserole dish halfway through to ensure the filling cooks evenly. Let cool.

5. Pour the cooked mixture into a bowl and remix the filling. Cover and store in the refrigerator for several hours (overnight is better), until the filling is completely cold and set.

For the dough:

1. Combine the flour, kosher salt and granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse until blended. Add one-third of the frozen butter pieces at a time and pulse. Open the processor and fluff with a fork as needed. The mixture should look crumbly, but not creamed.

2. Turn on the food processor and quickly drizzle in the ice water. As soon as the water is incorporated (this will happen very quickly), stop the processor.

3. Empty the mixture out onto a floured silicone baking mat (I use a baking mat that has crust sizes printed on it. This comes in handy when you are rolling out lots of 6-inch pie crusts). Press the dough mixture into a ball, very quickly so the heat from your hands doesn't melt the butter.

4. Once you have a ball of dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a zip-top bag. Put it in the refrigerator for several hours (overnight is better) until the dough it completely cold and set.

To assemble:

1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Remove the dough and filling from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, slice off a chunk of the dough, enough to roll into a 1½-inch ball. Flatten the dough on the floured silicone baking mat and roll into a 6-inch circle with the floured rolling pin.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and heavy cream. With your pastry brush, brush the outer edges of the dough circle with egg wash. Using the cookie dough scoop, put two scoops (about two heaping tablespoons) filling into the center of the dough. Fold the dough over in half and seal by crimping the edges with a fork.

4. Place the pie on a lined baking sheet. Repeat rolling and filling until the baking sheet is filled, being careful not to crowd the hand pies. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the pies from refrigerator and, using a sharp knife, cut 3 slits into the top of each pie. Brush each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle cane sugar on top. 6. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving warm; they're also good at room temp the next day.

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