Showing posts with label Greek yogurt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek yogurt. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blueberry Hand Pies with a Yummy Yogurt Pastry Crust from Culinary Mystery Author Cleo Coyle

Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb, 
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum 
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!

~ Robert Frost

With blueberry season on its way, I thought this recipe might come in handy. Yes, handy as in hand pies. Hey, no groaning. Puns are my business, along with murder (the fictional kind). And it IS tax-filing week here in the USA when murderous moods are not uncommon. 

So why not channel some of that tax-filing frustration and find a better use for your rolling pin than committing a felony...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books 
by clicking here and here.

Hand Pies with
Yogurt Pastry Crust

When I have a hankering for hand pies, my yogurt crust is the one I choose. It's tasty and tender and also strong enough to hold together for a pan-free pie. 

The yogurt accomplishes a few things in the recipe. It slightly reduces the amount of butter and shortening thus reducing the calorie count a bit. It makes the dough easier to work with. It also boosts the crust’s flavor. The slight tanginess of the yogurt offsets the heaviness of the butter and shortening and creates a crust with a brighter flavor, one that especially complements the taste of a fruit pie. 

To download this recipe in a 
PDF format that you can print,
save, or share, click here.

Click for free Recipe PDF

Cleo's Yogurt Pastry Crust

Makes 6 or 7 hand pies, depending on size and crust thickness


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

1/4 cup (4 T) solid vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisco), cold

2 large eggs

1 Tablespoon water

1/4 cup plain regular yogurt - full-fat yogurt is best
     (low-fat is okay to use, but do not use nonfat yogurt)

Step 1 - Sift flour, salt, and sugar into a bowl. Cut butter into small slices, add solid shortening and use fingertips or pastry blender to work the fats into the flour. (Or pulse mixture in a food processor.) When the mixture resembles coarse meal, place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep cold

 Step 2 – Measure out the yogurt and place in a small bowl. Into a separate small bowl, crack two large eggs, add the 1 T. of water, and whisk vigorously until well blended. Measure out ¼ cup of this egg-water mixture and combine it with the yogurt. Using a fork, vigorously whisk the yogurt and egg-water mixture until blended and smooth. (Reserve the remaining egg-water mixture for brushing crust before baking.) 

Step 3 - Remove the bowl with the flour mixture from the refrigerator. Add the yogurt-egg mixture and stir with a spoon, rubber spatula, or your hand until a smooth dough forms. This dough will be sticky. That’s okay! Shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. The dough will be less sticky, easier to work with, and because it’s well hydrated, you can use flour as you roll it out and the dough will stay tender. When ready, lightly flour a flat surface and your rolling pin and roll out and bake according to pie or tart recipe. 

2 TIPs: Always keep pastry dough COLD. Roll hand pie crusts one at a time and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge. Place all formed pies back in the fridge for ten minutes before baking. If you bake the pies cold, they will have even flakier crusts.

To Make Hand Pies

Mix the filling: Gently mix 2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw) with 1 tablespoon flour (or cornstarch) and 2 tablespoons sugar (more sugar if berries are tart). Toss with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.

Make the pies: To make the pies, break the chilled pie dough into 6 or 7 even pieces. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll each piece into a rough circle. Dough can be rolled thin, down to about 1/8-inch, but no thinner or the pie may break while baking. 

Mound a small amount of the blueberry mixture into the lower half of the circle. Wet your finger with water and run it along the outside edge of the circle. Fold the circle over the filling and seal the pie by pressing down the edges with a fork. Trim ends with a pizza cutter or knife. 

Place finished pies on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Do this for 2 reasons. The pies may leak blueberry juice and the paper will catch this mess. The parchment paper also provides a bit of a shield from the direct heat of the pan so the pies will bake more evenly and are less likely to over-brown or burn in places.

Brush with the egg wash you reserved from making the Yogurt Pastry Crust. Sprinkle with sugar if you like. Cut a small venting slice in the top of each pie. CHILL the pies before baking and your crusts will turn out even flakier (simply slide the pan into the fridge while you preheat your oven).  


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. for at least 30 minutes. The combination of a very hot oven and cold pastry dough is what helps produce a flakier crust. 

Bake time for the pies is 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of the crust. Eat warm or allow to cool completely before topping with a drizzle of sweet glaze (recipe below).

Sweet White Drizzling Glaze

1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 Tbsp. half-and-half or light cream

Note: Milk and water will also work, but will not taste as rich and may need a bit more sugar to thicken.

Directions: Measure out the powdered sugar. Stir in half-and-half (or light cream) until all the sugar is dissolved. With a wire whisk or fork, whisk the mixture until it appears smooth and without a single clump. Test on a plate. The glaze should drizzle easily but should not be thin or watery, and it should set in about ten minutes. If the glaze is too thin and watery, add a little more sugar. If too thick, add a bit more liquid. When you’re happy with the consistency, dip a fork into the glaze and pass the tines back and forth over the top of each completely cooled hand pie to create a drizzling effect.

Eat with springtime joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Our newest mystery is now

a bestselling hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

A Mystery Guild Selection
A Baker & Taylor Fall "Trends" Pick
Three "Best of Year" Reviewer Lists

Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes!

See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Make Wet Walnuts: Easy Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal, + More by Cleo Coyle

I'm making homemade
Wet Walnuts today!

My favorite breakfast lately has been a parfait of oatmeal, Greek yogurt, sliced banana, walnuts, and maple syrup. This combo is not only delicious, it's highly nutritious and recommended as a "probiotic-prebiotic" elixir. 

And what is a P&P elixir? Well... 

If you've seen a yogurt commercial lately, than you know that probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. They're also found in fermented foods like good quality yogurts with live and active cultures.

Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates, and they can be found in bananas, oatmeal, maple syrup, honey, and high-fiber foods. 

When these two "P" foods (pro- and prebiotics) are paired in a single meal, they contribute to healthy digestion and immune function. They also have a "synergistic relationship, because prebiotics feed the probiotics," as registered dietitian Nancy Clark puts it. You can read more on this subject at the Mayo Clinic website, by clicking here.

Whether or not you join me in my P&P parfait, I hope you'll enjoy today's recipe. In my kitchen, this amazing topping is a marriage of convenience between the walnuts and the maple syrup that I use in my P&P parfait. I keep my Wet Walnuts in small jars in the fridge, where I can quickly dip in a spoon and drizzle them with joy. 

(Truth) my husband (and partner in crime-writing) has no interest in my P&P parfaits, but he does absolutely love these Wet Walnuts spooned over vanilla Häagen-Dazs. So no matter how you serve them, I sincerely hope you will...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle’s 
Homemade Wet Walnuts 

(Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping
for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal, and More...) 

 To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here

Cleo Coyle, who is nuts
about nuts, is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
Natural maple syrup is transformed during the cooking process of this recipe, and the resulting sauce tastes like caramel--but a caramel that's made without butter, cream, or refined white sugar. To learn more about maple syrup's nutritional and health benefits compared to white sugar, read my recent blog post on maple syrup (and tips on understanding its various grades) by clicking here.

TIP: Use the freshest walnuts you can find and you'll be happy with the result. I buy whole nuts, freshly shelled, from a local green grocer, and chop them myself. Sometimes I toast the nuts, sometimes not--so make that decision based on your own taste. According to, roasting nuts does not significantly damage their nutritional value. Read more here.

Adapted from the Vermont Maple Festival Cookbook (After experimenting with the original recipe, I altered the ingredients and amount of ingredients, and wrote up my own directions and variations, but the cookbook did inspire me!) 

Makes about 1-1/2 cups 


1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (*see my note below on toasting)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon hot tap water

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt)

1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup (**see my tips below on choosing)   

1 teaspoon vanilla (***or see my other flavor options) 


Step 1 - Prep Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, hot tap water, and salt. Use a fork or small whisk and work the mixture until you see no lumps. Set aside. If you’d like to use toasted nuts in this recipe, then prepare the nuts now. (My directions on toasting nuts are at the end of this recipe). 

Step 2 - Cook the sauce: During this step, the syrup will bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a large, heavy saucepan that allows enough room for the bubbling (see my photo below). Pour the syrup into the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the syrup bubbles up, turn the heat down, and simmer for one full minute while stirring continually. After a minute, stir in the cornstarch mixture that you prepared in the first step. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil and stir for a full minute. Turn off the heat and take the pan off the hot burner.

Step 3 - Remove from heat and finish: For best results, make sure the sauce is well off the boil before you stir in the vanilla or rum or liqueurs. (You don’t want to boil off the flavoring.) Finally, stir in the chopped nuts. The syrup will thicken as it cools but should remain pourable right from the refrigerator. If chilled sauce becomes hard, simply re-heat in a pan or microwave and stir in a few teaspoons of water before returning to the storage container and the fridge.

Drizzle over ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pound cake, puddings, pancakes, waffles, even fruit pies (especially apple pie). The sauce can be stored in an air tight container or glass jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


*TOASTING NUTS: Spread the chopped walnuts on a single layer of a baking sheet and heat for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F. Stir once about halfway through to prevent burning. Proceed with the recipe as written.

*PURE MAPLE SYRUP has one ingredient on the bottle--maple syrup. Do not use not "pancake syrup" or "maple-flavored table syrup" for this recipe; those products are artificial imitations of real maple syrup, which is made by boiling down maple tree sap. Look for Grade A, Medium or Dark Amber for this recipe. To learn more about maple grades, read my recent blog post on this subject by clicking here.

***FLAVOR OPTIONS: You can replace the vanilla with other options, including 1 tablespoon of dark rum; or 1 tablespoon of the following: Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur); Amaretto; or (if you can find it) Nocino (green walnut liqueur).

F o o d i e

P h o t o s

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 
To learn more, click here. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here