The combination of strawberries and fresh basil in a pie might strike you as odd, but basil is a member of the mint family, which often pairs beautifully with fresh fruit in desserts.
In these fun-sized turnovers, basil plays two roles: the chopped herb is tossed with juicy strawberries for the filling, while fresh whole leaves are steeped in sweet melted chocolate for a mildly seasoned sweet glaze.
In small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add whole basil leaves, pressing with a spoon to release their flavor. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to steep for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with chopped basil, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to slightly thicker than 1⁄16 inch. Using cutter, cut into rounds and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing apart. Reroll scraps as necessary.
Brush edges of rounds with egg wash. Place about 2 to 2 1⁄2 tablespoons filling in center of each circle. Fold circles in half, enclosing filling. Pinch together edges to seal and crimp with the tines of a fork. Brush tops with egg wash.
Place pies on baking sheets in freezer for 30 minutes. Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, strain basil and cream mixture through sieve. Return cream to saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add white chocolate, remove from heat, and stir until smooth.
Using a knife, cut 2 or 3 slits in top of each pie. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until pies are golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool for 15 minutes on baking sheets set on wire racks, then drizzle with warm white chocolate mixture. Cool completely to set glaze, then serve.
Tip: For maximum freshness, fresh basil is best used within a few days of purchase.
In food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.
Scatter butter over top and pulse several times, until pieces are the size of peas.
Drizzle half the buttermilk over flour mixture and pulse 4 to 5 times to combine. Add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, just until dough begins to hold together in moist clumps (you might not need all the buttermilk).
Tip: If you don't have buttermilk, substitute 2⁄3 cup cold milk mixed with 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar. Set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes before using in recipe.
Julie Anne Hession has combined her love of food with her love of words to become a successful chef, food writer, competitive cook and food blogger. Her sweet creations have been featured in People, O, The Oprah Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Food Network Magazine.
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.
Penned: April 30, 2013
What's Inside: 175 simply delicious recipes for baking miniature pies from scratch. You'll find ideas for adorable, fun-size desserts like Chocolate Mocha Pecan Tarts as well as savory snacks (think Mini Chicken Pot Pies) that come in handy when you're on the go, hosting an elegant party or looking for after-school treats. Whether you're a newbee or experienced baker, the easy-to-follow instructions will help you create perfect homemade pie fillings, crusts and toppings in flavors and sizes sure to appeal to kids of all ages.
Time Out: 248 pages
Available: $24.95 at Amazon and other retailers
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