Perfect Picnic Pocket Pie, Gluten Free

It’s pie month at the Canteen and don’t forget to join the (international) Pie Party on July 5th – read about that here.  But today we begin our journey with a gluten-free pint-sized version.

I’ve seen little hand pies mentioned in no less than 4325 food magazines and websites as the fabulous summer picnic treat for this year.  After seeing yet another photo spread featuring little hand pies, a tiny little dim-bulb in my head finally switched on.

It is almost like hand pies were invented with gluten-free dough in mind.  It is really easy to get GF pie dough to cooperate when the pie is pocket-sized (think no bigger than an iPhone).

Hand pocket pies could also be the big fat gluten-free summer treat.  And the heck with the picnic.  Eat them for breakfast, too.

I know.  Now you’re thinking that I’ve lost my mind.  I bet you’re thinking that pie dough is not easy small or large.  But guess what?  It is.  Read about it here. I promise that if you follow the ratio and directions, you will always have great pie crust.

Here’s the thing about pie crusts.  They should be tasty, flaky, and have a slight snappy chew.  You don’t want them to be powder-dust or tough.  Think of pie as that extraordinary treat that deserves to be as pie-like as possible.  Think grandma’s pie.  Think best diner pie in the universe.  Leave the whole grains and no-fat fats for another day.  Enjoy a small piece of pie with wild abandon.  Which brings us to the beauty of little pocket pies.

With that long holiday weekend coming upon us, wouldn’t it be great to have a barbecue or picnic dessert that everyone will love and no one will need a plate or silverware to eat?  Just a napkin, or two.

With summer berries flooding the market, there is no better time to make these great little pocket pies.  The effort is small if you start a few days in advance by making the dough and chilling it – you can keep dough in the refrigerator for a few days and it freezes well.  And to make a dozen and a half pocket pies you need just a couple of half pints of ripe berries, a little sugar, some lemon zest and a splash of liqueur and one batch of pie dough.

Inspired in part by Smitten Kitchen Bourbon Peach Hand Pies here and this one here from Bon Appétit.  Make some pocket pies this weekend – everyone will be happy you did!

Perfect Picnic Pocket Pie, Gluten Free
Recipe type: dessert
  • One batch GF pie dough (see link in post)
  • 2 half pints of berries (I used blackberries and blueberries)
  • 2 tablespoons starch (I used arrowroot)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon favorite liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
  • egg wash (1 egg whisked with a pinch of water)
  • coarse sugar for the topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Divide pie dough in half. Roll out and using a 5 inch circle cookie cutter, cut as many as you can - about 5-6 from one half the dough. Repeat with remainder of the dough. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Chill. Before using, let rest on the counter until dough is pliable. If the dough is too chilled it will crack as you bend it.
  3. Mix berries, starch, sugar, salt, zest, liqueur together. Drop one small spoonful of berry filling on each dough circle.
  4. Brush edges of dough with egg wash. Carefully fold over and pinch seams. If the dough begins to crack, pinch it together. Brush tops of each pie with egg wash and coat with coarse sugar. Slice a vent or two in each pie.
  5. Bake about 20 minutes and rotate pans. Bake about 15 minutes more or until the filling is bubbling out and the pies have turned light golden brown. Depending on how thick your pie dough is, it might take slightly longer to finish baking.
  6. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.
You can also make circle hand pies (see photo) by placing filling in the center of the round cut-out and applying another circle on top - brush the edges first with the egg wash to glue it closed. Cut a slit, brush and top with sugar. These will take just a little bit longer to bake.





  1. These look so delightful! Im such a pastry fiend, add pastry to anything and im a happy customer 🙂 combine that with blueberries and in a cute little pocket, perffecctttt! Lovely recipe indeed

  2. I’ve been without a working oven for nearly two years now. This recipe is going to force me to get it fixed or buy a new one. Thanks. Can’t wait to try these.

  3. I bought a mini cupcake electric baker, I use the cutters that come with it for mini pies. Gluten free of course, makes 8 perfect little pies in 12 minutes. Yummy.
    cut circle of GF dough, put a couple T of filling, top with smaller circle, when lid is lowered, it crimps the edges professionally

  4. The words ‘pocket pie’ caught my attention, and intrigued me. What an inventive idea, especially for picnics. I will definitely be trying these out this weekend. Thanks!


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