Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Adapted via Smitten Kitchen
Makes 20 to 24 small hand pies

For the Crust:
♦ 3 3/4 cups (470 grams) all-purpose flour
♦ 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest (optional)
♦ 1 1/2 (20 grams) tbsp granulated sugar
♦ 1 1/2 (9 grams) teaspoons table salt
♦ 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
♦ 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk (or, make your own buttermilk substitute)

For the Rhubarb Filling:
♦ 1 lb (455 grams) rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch segments
♦ 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar

For the Cream cheese filling:
♦ 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature (i.e. very soft)
♦ 1/3 cup granulated sugar
♦ 1 tsp lemon zest
♦ 2 tsp lemon juice
♦ 1 large egg yolk

To assemble:
♦ 1 large egg
♦ 1 tbsp water
♦ Coarse sugar

Make the pie dough: Whisk together flour, zest, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl (preferably metal). Chop the butter into small cubes, unless you have a pastry blender. Add the butter to the bowl, and work the butter into the flour until they are pea-sized: if you don’t have a pastry blender, you can do this with a pastry knife, two forks, or even your fingertips. Carefully add the 3/4 cup buttermilk into the mix with a spatula, until the dough is a craggy mass. Using your hands, knead the dough a few times to form a ball. Add the remaining buttermilk if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough, wrapping each ball in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to two days.

Make the rhubarb filling: in a small bowl, stir together the rhubarb and sugar. Add the mix into a small-to-medium saucepan. Cover the pot, and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes (no need to stir). Remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb mixture is thick and without too much liquid. Pour the mixture into a small bowl, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, or until “cool”.

Make the cream cheese filling: Whisk the cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice and yolk together in a small bowl until smooth. Keep cold until needed as well.

Assemble the pies: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two to three baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat your remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water and keep aside with a pastry brush.

Generously flour your counter. Take the first ball of dough out of the fridge, and slowly start rolling by pressing the pin down from the center out. Continue rolling, rotating the dough with each press, until the dough is close to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into rough rectangles, using a pizza wheel or a knife. Divide the rectangles between two pans (or three if necessary), spacing roughly 1-inch apart; one covered with parchment.

Brush the parchment pan’s rectangles very lightly with the egg wash (and half of the third pan if you used 3 instead of 2). Place a small dollop of the cream cheese on each of these squares; after, spoon a dollop of rhubarb mixture on top. Using a small knife, create small vents in the center of the remaining half of the pie rectangles. Place the vented rectangles atop the ones with filling. Using a fork, press the outer edges down to seal. Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden, and even more brown at edges. Transfer to cooling racks and cool to room temperature before serving.