Here’s to an incredible Memorial Day Weekend!   I hope you all enjoyed an extra long weekend with family and friends. This year, I wanted to dedicate this Memorial Day posting about Blackberry Basil Hand Pies to my one and only father.

Allow me, for a moment to sing the praises of my dad and why I’m so proud of him. He is my war hero. This man spent his military time serving in Berlin, Germany, during the post-occupation era. He would sit and tell my sisters (+brother) and I stories of how he endured staying in the frigid, cold, snow-filled encampments and life among the occupation movement. We were completely fascinated by his tales of survival and adventure. So, I salute you dad, for your service! When he’s not busy being a grandfather and husband, he’s a big snacker. And he’s super healthy, so much that he makes a hearty berry protein smoothie every single morning to start his day! Inspired by his fondness for berries, I decided I would make Blackberry Basil Hand Pies in his honor for Memorial Day Weekend. Enjoy!


Blackberry Basil Hand Pies

I love this dessert because you can make it ahead of time, ummm, that is, if you have the time! You can essentially make the entire collection of little pies and then keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them. Once you’re ready to feed some hungry mouths, just brush the pies with some egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and in they go! And the best part is that pretty much everyone loves to get their hands on them and chow down on their berry deliciousness.

Blackberry Basil Hand Pies

I love to add a wee bit of herbs for a little flavor fusion fun. For this batch, I paired the traditional berry hand pie with some basil. Don’t worry, it’s not an overwhelming herb-infused flavor but it is a great way to convince my kids that it isn’t just the blackberry taste that they love. It’s also the basil, too!  (And, yes, brainwashing with sweets works wonders!)

Here’s a tip:  Cut the blackberries in half so the filling can work around in a variety of fun sizes for these pint sized pies.  You can totally have fun with shapes such as rounds and rectangles.  Get crafty!

If you’re already getting flustered just thinking about making pie dough, don’t worry! It’s super simple and basic. And, hey, let’s be honest, if you just don’t have time to make the dough from scratch,  just buy it already made.  Trust me, I’ve done it more than once! Most store-bought pie doughs are made from a very basic recipe and are really quite comparable in taste to the homemade version. However, if you’re feeling ambitious and want to make it from scratch, know that it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days so you can start your prepping ahead of time.  Because I am The Sweet Nerd and a total planner, making the dough ahead of time is a huge plus for me.

Rolling, cutting, and forming the little pie is easy enough but it does take some time.  I recommend having all of your ingredients ready to go and then moving through each step like an assembly line.  Brush.  Dollop. Pinch and fork.  I often pop the dough into the freezer again after I finish the preceding steps and let it chill for 10 minutes.

If you’re serving these pies warm, chill the dough for about 30 minutes. This will allow the moisture to find its way back into your dough and makes for that super flaky crust that you love. Once chilled, grab the pies from the fridge and cut a slit to release steam while baking.  Brush the tops with the egg wash and lightly dust with sanding sugar (that’s my favorite part!).


Now it’s time for bake off! Just watch as the lovely blackberry basil mixture oozes out from the tops.  I love how these pies look once they’re baked and slightly messy. And there you go – my sweet mini pie ode to my favorite vet. Love ya Dad.

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

Blackberry Basil Hand Pies, All Ages Love Them

By TheSweetNerd  

May 30, 2016

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins



3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

1/2 cup ice cold water

Blackberry Fruit Mixture

1 cup blackberries, cut in half

1/3 cup apple grated

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 cup sugar

1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

dash of kosher salt

1 large egg for eggwash - whisked with 1 teaspoon water

sanding sugar or raw sugar for finish



1Food Processor: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter pieces and pulse until texture is like coarse meal. Add the water a bit at a time until dough comes together in clumps. (you may not use all the water, but close to it). Form into a square, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm (about 2 hours). Can be made 3 days ahead. Let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before rolling out.

Blackberry Fruit Mixture

1Combine blackberries, apple, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, basil, and salt.


1Roll dough and cut into rectangular shapes or use round cutter. For the rectangular shape, you can roll out dough on a floured surface to a 15x12 rectangle. Cut into 6 rectangles. For the rounds, I used a 2" round scalloped cutter.

2Brush the edges of the cut-outs with the eggwash.

3Next place a dollop of blackberry fruit mixture in the center (don't overdue it!).

4Fold dough over and press edges to seal for rectangular shape. Or place rounds on top of one another and press down lightly in order to 'seal' the small hand-pie.

5Next, use a fork to seal the perimeter of the pie. Apply egg white wash and sprinkle sugar on top.

6Lastly, make a small slit with a paring knife in the center top of the mini-pie shape.

7Use a silpat or line a sheet with parchment paper for baking handpies.

8Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, rotating sheet half-way through until juices are bubbling and pastry is golden brown.

9Serve warm or at room temperature.



  • Mary
    8 years ago

    Omg! This recipe is the bomb. The crust was amazing, flaky with a short bread taste. (My new favorite pie crust recipe) the filling was just as delicious. The basil adds a unique twist to every bite. Thank you thesweetnerd!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      8 years ago

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe. The crust is so versatile. Hope you will try more. Send me something if you want me to test it out.

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