Mini Pies with Fresh Orange


mini pies with fresh orange

Let’s celebrate a winter fruit: here’s a dessert that makes fresh oranges the center of attention. Mix them up with mascarpone, some sugar, and some extract boosts…and these mini-hand-pies are the perfect perk-you-up bite for a snack, with afternoon tea, or a morning coffee friend.


I found the best way to get the flesh sans peel and pith is to cut off the peels and pith by sliding a knife all around the edges (careful—do it on a cutting board). Then cut flesh of oranges into slices then cubes.


I added a vanilla glaze to drizzle on top with some crushed walnuts. (Don’t you always find the possibilities are endless?? 🙂

I did a demo on Nashville’s WSMV-TV “Today in Nashville” with Kelly Sutton and Carole Sullivan…here’s the segment on YouTube. (I also show you how to cut the orange.) And find the recipe below. Have fun!

Orange Mini Hand Pies with Mascarpone

3 navel oranges

2 sheets store-bought puff pastry

8 ounces mascarpone, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1 egg (for egg wash)

Vanilla Glaze & Topping

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup walnuts, crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Zest all 3 oranges. Cut off the peel and pith off the oranges. Cut oranges into slices and then into small dice.

Add the mascarpone to a medium mixing bowl. Add sugar and extracts. Stir to combine well. Stir in the orange pieces and orange zest. 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough pieces until just slightly larger and thinner. Using a 3-inch square cutter, cut out squares of dough. Add a tablespoon of mixture in the middle. Fold to make triangles. Press along the edges to seal. Then use the tines of a fork to press closed more securely. Place triangles on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Re-roll dough scraps to make more — you should have about 30 mini hand pies.

Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush egg wash on each triangle. Poke a small hole in the center of each one. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden.

Make the Vanilla Glaze:

In a medium mixing bowl press out the butter with a spoon to make it smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until the butter is blended into small pieces. Add the vanilla and mix well. Run the kitchen faucet until very hot. Add 1-2 tablespoons of hot water to the mixture and stir rapidly to combine. If frosting seems too thick, add more hot water until it becomes the right consistency for drizzling.

Wait until mini pies are completely cool. Drizzle glaze on top in a zig-zag design. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.


A Quick Recipe for Fresh Figs (They’re in season!)

Ripening fig in the backyard

Ripening fig in the backyard

I LOVE fresh figs. Night and day between fresh figs and dried figs. Different animals entirely. (Different taste, too.) Dried figs are tough, leathery, brown. Fresh figs, are soft, pink, luscious, Quite sensual, actually. We’ve got a fig tree in our backyard–not huge–but this is the first year more than three figs have ripened. I’m getting 5-6 spectacular figs a week.

But I remember a giant fig tree in Italy. As large as a 2-story building. It grew in the tiniest of hilltowns in Emilia Romagna. I was visiting a friend of the family, Marco, who lived in one room on the second floor of a small stone building. A single bed, nightstand, a few shelves of books, a hot plate with an espresso pot, and a heavy wooden dining table in the middle of the room were all the furniture and amenities he had. Downstairs in an adjacent building was a bathroom he shared with his parents who lived in the building across the way.

Dinner was brought up the steps on platters by his mother (remind me to tell you the mammoni story one day: about middle-aged Italian men who still live with their parents!). She brought a pile of locally made pasta in a deep delicious tomato sauce. And for dessert: a 5-inch high cake of fresh ricotta with local honey. And, of course, crusty bread.

As we sat at the table for a few hours, eating, drinking, and espresso then brewing, I was entranced by the open window. It framed the tall, full, laden-with-fruit fig tree. Next to it a bright street lamp lit the tree attracting moths. Bats zigzagged through the light, catching moths, while the fig tree stood witness to the splendid night (as did I).

Fresh Fig Recipe 1-2-3

5-6 fresh figs, cut in half or quarters if very large

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup minced mint

1/4 cup honey

1/4 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto

salt to taste

Smear a little mascarpone on top of each cut fig piece. Sprinkle with a little salt. Sprinkle with some minced mint. Add a small dollop of honey. Wrap fig in a piece of prosciutto cut to fit the size of the fig piece. Serve.

Fig Tree

Fig Tree