BALSAMIC, FIG AND ROSEMARY HAND PIES
Makes 8 (4-inch) pies.
Note: You can make these personal pies in half-moons (by folding the crust over the filling) or in full moon-shape (with a separate top and bottom). Or make them any shape you prefer. You could also add a dollop of goat cheese to the filling. From localmilk.blogspot.com, by Elizabeth Kirby of Chattanooga, Tenn., who writes an inspired food blog that she began this year, that includes stunning photography.
• 1 unbaked double-crust pie dough
• 2 c. fresh figs, cut into 1/2 -in. pieces
• 2 tbsp. sugar, plus more for dusting
• 1/8 c. good-quality balsamic vinegar
• 1/8 c. honey
• 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
• Pinch of kosher salt
• 2 tbsp. cornstarch
• 1 egg
Divide pie crust dough in 2 pieces and shape each into a flat disc; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. (It will chill even faster in the freezer.)
Meanwhile, mix figs, sugar, vinegar, honey, rosemary and salt in a medium bowl and let macerate at least 15 minutes and up to overnight while your crust chills.
Carefully pour off about 2 tablespoons liquid from the figs and mix with the 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir this back into the figs to thicken.
Roll out half your dough to about 1/8 -inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Using the cutter of your choice, cut the dough out in about 4-inch circles (smaller circles work fine, too). Lay the cut-out dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for another 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Fill a small bowl with cold water and set to the side. Whisk your egg in the bowl to use as a wash.
Remove dough from refrigerator and fill each circle with a heaping tablespoon of filling. (If you want to make half-moon-shaped pies, use less filling.)
To seal the pies, dip your finger in the cool water and run your finger around rim of pie. Top with second crust and press carefully but firmly to seal all around, then seal with the tines of a fork.
Once pies are filled, place them back into the refrigerator to chill for 10 more minutes. Remove and cut vent holes in the tops of the pies. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Chill once more before baking.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place pies on parchment-lined baking sheet on the middle rack and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, rotate pan and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Place pies on racks to cool.