Need an easy Valentine’s dessert that is sure to wow your sweetheart (and make your kids smile)? These strawberry Nutella heart-shaped hand pies come together quickly and they’re just so cute!
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It’s February, people. We survived the bitter cold of January. The boys and I even got outside for some pruning and soccer playing this afternoon! That’s HUGE for us since it’s been months since we’ve been able to play outside. There is hope for spring! In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of the still-brisk weather by baking. This week: Valentine’s treats!
A couple of weeks ago, I was at the grocery store with my boys for our weekly shopping trip when I stopped by the “manager’s special” clearance section. I usually make it a point to check these spots in my store because I’ve found some great deals in the past. As I peered into the refrigerated case, staring back at me were some pre-made pie crusts…with a price tag of fifty cents! I had no idea what I would use them for, but it seemed too good to pass up, so I picked up a couple of boxes (hello, impulse buy!) and went on my merry way.
Last week, I used one of the boxes to make empanadas for for dinner one night (yum!), but I still had one lonely box staring at me every time I opened the fridge. I’ve been wanting to do more cooking with my boys lately, and I thought they would enjoy making some mini pies with me. Since Valentine’s Day is looming ever closer, we decided to put a Valentine’s twist on them. What a great idea for a Thursday! Special occasion? Bah. Just make good food whenever you feel inspired…that’s my motto.
These mini hand pies took me about a half hour of prep time, plus about 10 minutes of baking. It’s something that the kids can definitely help you do (cookie cutters are so exciting!), so it would be a fun afternoon project to do together and then surprise Daddy with after dinner.
And, OH MY, you will not be disappointed in these beauties. First of all, you can’t go wrong with the combination of strawberry and Nutella. They are two of my most favorite foods in the world. Sweet gooey center…crisp flaky crust….Mmmm.
Start by dicing up your strawberries and mix in some sugar and cornstarch. Let it all sit and stew for a bit while you deal with the crust.
Roll out your crust and cut your hearts. My cookie cutter was about 3 1/2 inches across, and I ended up with nine heart pies. Spread a bit of Nutella in the middle of each heart and add a spoonful of the now-macerated strawberry mixture. As you scoop, try to drain any excess liquid (otherwise it will leak out as it bakes).
Carefully place another pie crust on top of each heart and seal with a fork.
Bake ’em up, and enjoy the decadence of such a tasty treat!
These little hand pies would be a perfect surprise for the kids on Valentine’s, a sweet finish to a fancy romantic meal for two, or even a great little gift for a friend or neighbor who could use a little love. Package it up in a little bag with some ribbon, and you’d be good to go.
However you choose to use them, be sure to save some for yourself!
- 1 package pre-made pie crusts (or you can make your own pie crust…see notes.)
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 1-2 Tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Assemble the strawberry filling. Wash, de-stem, and dice your strawberries. Place in a bowl. Mix in sugar and cornstarch until the strawberries are evenly coated and no dry spots remain. Set aside to macerate for a few minutes while you prepare the dough.
- Unroll the first pie crust (my package had two) on a clean counter or on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Cut out as many hearts as you can and place them on a greased cookie sheet, or one lined with parchment (which is what I do). Make sure to leave some space between pies. Gather the extra dough, re-roll, and cut additional hearts until you run out of dough. (Save the second pie crust for the tops of the pies. You’ll do that part in a minute.)
- Smear the center of each heart with 1-2 teaspoons of Nutella. You may want to microwave the Nutella for 15-20 seconds to soften it a bit so it’s easier to spread.
- Add a spoonful of strawberry filling to each heart. (Feel free to take a break and lick your fingers at this point.)
- Now you’re ready to unroll the other pie crust. Cut the same number of hearts as you did the first time around, and place a heart on top of each pie, lining it up as best you can. Seal the edges of each pie as you go with a fork.
- Poke small holes in the top (I used a bamboo skewer to make a pattern of little sets of three holes) to allow venting during baking.
- Whisk egg and water together until the mixture is light yellow and as uniform as possible. Add a little extra water if needed (it will depend on the size of your egg).
- Use a pastry brush (or two clean fingers…shhh) to lightly coat the top of each pie.
- Bake until deep golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.
You can substitute other fillings in these pies if you want. Think, raspberry, cherry, apple…so many good options! Also, for simplicity sake, I used pre-made pie dough for this recipe, but if you want to make it from scratch, be my guest!
More Easy Valentine’s Desserts to Try!
In case this wonderfulness isn’t enough, here are a few more easy desserts that are sure to make everyone feel loved. I’ve made all of these (most for various Valentine’s Days), and I can vouch for their deliciousness! Enjoy!