Strawberry Basil Hand Pies with a Hazelnut Crust

These Strawberry Basil Hand Pies are little delightful pieces of heaven with just the right amount of sweetness!  There is just a hint of basil giving the strawberries a nice boost of flavor and the crust is very flaky with the addition of ground hazelnuts!  They are especially yummy topped with my Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce for extra goodness.

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-and-Hazelnut-Crust

Robby and I had such a great time with our friends Maggie and Lydell who were visiting from Maui for the 4th of July.  Maggie is a lifelong friend of both of ours, and was my partner in crime when we were teenagers, so needless to say I was over the moon to have them stay with us!  We had a nice falafel dinner when they arrived and took a walk on the beach and to our surprise we got to see a great firework show.  It was said there weren’t to be any this year due to the drought and they would fine anyone who did, oh well that didn’t happen : ) After our walk we chatted on our deck and finished watching the fireworks from there.

We took them to Henry Cowell state park to see the biggest redwoods ever! We had a great lunch at Casa Nostra a great Italian restaurant in Ben Lomond, and then off to downtown Santa Cruz to the museum of arts for a local vendor craft fair, wine tasting, and then a nice walk to the west cliffs to see Steamers Lane and the surf museum. After all that we went to dinner at another great restaurant called West End Tap $ Kitchen.  We had a fun filled packed couple of days!

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-with-a-Hazelnut-Crust

I love these with a nice jasmine tea or coffee but also with a Cava, Prosecco or Ang’s Strawberry Thyme Mimosa.

Strawberry-Basil-Hand-Pies-with-Hazelnut-Crust

Recipe: 12 – 3 inch hand pies

Filling
  • 2 Cup Diced Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Beet Sugar or Sucanat
  • 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot powder
Crust
  • 1 1/2 Cup Ground Toasted Hazelnuts – recipe below
  • 2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or White)
  • 2 Tablespoon Beet Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Hazelnut Extract
  • 2/3 Cup Ice Water or until it sticks together (don’t over do it)

instructions:

Filling

Dice the strawberries into small pieces, mince the basil, measure the sugar and arrowroot then mix together well and set aside.

Hazelnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 – 14 minutes.  In about 5 – 7 minutes stir the nuts so they toast evenly while also checking on the progress.

When hazelnuts are cool put in the center of a towel and pull corners of the towel together and roll hazelnuts around with some force till skins come loose.  A small amount of skin will remain on the nuts and that is fine.

Sometimes I separate the ones that the skins didn’t come off and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

 In a food processor, grind hazelnuts into a fine crumble and set aside.

Crust

 Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor into small crumb size.

In a mixer or food processor combine the flour, hazelnuts, sugar & salt.

And 1/4 inch piece of butter and mix/pulse a few times to evenly break up the butter then add ice water slowly as you pulse a few times, add the extract and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal with tiny pieces of butter.

 It should be slightly crumbly and hold together when squeezed with your fingers.

 Do not over process you want the little pieces of butter, that’s what makes it flaky,

Form dough into 2 3/4-inch-thick disks and wrap in plastic then refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Assemble

On a piece of parchment paper roll out one of the disks of dough about 1/4 inch thick and add a bit of flour on top so it won’t stick and pinch together any cracks then with a 3 inch circle cookie cutter cut out the circles and place 12 onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

The other 12 flatten ever so slightly with the rolling pin so it will fit over the filling better (you don’t have to do this part but if it cracks just pinch the cracks together) If any cracks do happen pinch together the best you can.  It’s ok for the filling to ooz out a little.

With a pastry brush or your fingers spread a little water on the edge of one and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the filling then cover and press together with a fork to make the design.

Cut decorative holes on top with a knife to let steam escape then sprinkle with sugar if you wish.

Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden.

Serve with a Chunky Strawberry Basil Sauce

Health benefits:

Strawberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Just one cup gives you 100 percent.” of the daily value of Vitamin C which is a great immune booster, helps improve the eyes and it produces collagen in the skin, that helps keep wrinkles at bay. The antioxidants and phytochemicals also help to reduce joints inflammation. They are high potassium and fiber making them great for your heart.

Fresh Basil has anti-aginganti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an antioxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

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