For as long as I can remember, my family, just like many of yours would look for reasons to get together and have meals. This goes all the back to my childhood to when we would gather at my grandparents’ home for Sunday dinner, up till today, when we will find any kind of excuse to get together and eat, be it birthday parties, holidays, or any other type of excuse. Also, for as long as I can remember, we would be joined at different dinners by friends of family members occasionally.

Through the years, I have seen many different people join us for family cookouts and dinners, who were friends of someone in the family. Since most of our gatherings usually involve everybody kicking in and bringing something to the table, it was always nice to see what type of dish the newcomer might bring, as it was usually a recipe of something different than the regular attendees are known for.

A friend of the family, whom I and my daughters in-laws attended school with, will make an appearance occasionally at one of our dinner gatherings, and has brought in new ideas and dishes for us to try several times. In fact, I usually ask her for the recipe of what she brings. Her name is Martha Jordan, and she was raised and graduated high school in Miami. She has been gone from here for many years, but moved back about a year ago to work on one of the books she has written. She is an author, and a darn good one at that. I ran into her about a year ago at our county fair, where she had a booth set up, promoting one of her current books. We got to visiting and I learned she was also learning to play the mandolin. As we visited, I mentioned that I might be able to help her with her music, as I play the fiddle and guitar, and mentioned to her that the mandolin notes the same as the fiddle. I said if nothing else, I could teach her a few tunes to pick on her instrument. Well, we eventually got together and I started teaching her what little I knew, before long we had others join us, and now, we will all get together and share music ideas with each other, and have jam sessions regularly.

It was through these music gatherings that Martha also became acquainted with some of our other family members, and has become a frequent guest at many of our dinner parties. It was at one of these gatherings that she brought the recipe I’m posting today. In the future, I will probably be posting some of her other creations, as she is a great cook. She made a salad dressing recently, which was out of this world, that I also need to get her recipe for. But the evening she brought these blueberry pastries, we were having just a simple hotdog cookout with chips, which we do occasionally, and her pastries took the cookout to the next level. I immediately demanded she get me her recipe and a picture of the pastries she made that evening, so I could share it with my readers. With summer coming on, and family gatherings starting back up, this pastry recipe is one you will need to keep handy and serve guests at the cookouts you are hosting, or just attending and bringing a side to. One thing for sure, if you bring these, it could possibly take that cookout to the next level as well.

Rustic Amish Blueberry Hand Pies

Yield: 16 pies

Ingredients:

Filling:

3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pastry:

You can use your own favorite pie pastry recipe. Or…

For beginners or for time saving:

Two packages (two crusts each package) good quality store bought frozen or refrigerated pie crusts.

Large beaten egg with 2 tablespoons water

Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the filing:

Combine the blueberries and sugars in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook, stirring, until the sugars are melted and berries have started to burst, a few minutes. Stir together the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small bowl until combined, then add to the blueberry mixture. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and continue to cook until glossy and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pastry:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

To make the pies: Spread out the first pie crust, and using a 3” biscuit cutter, make 8 disks. Set aside. Continue to do the same with remaining sheets of pastry. You will have 32 disks.

Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of cooled blueberry mixture onto 16 of the disks of pastry.

With a pastry brush, brush egg wash around the edges of the 16 berry-filled disks.

Place the 16 other disks on top of each berry-filled disk. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges shut. Brush the tops of each pie with the egg wash. With a sharp paring knife, cut two small slits in each pie.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.

For the glaze: Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1/3 cup cold water in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the hot pies. Let set until dry.