Blackberry Lavender Love Pie

I've been meaning to recipe test some new hand pies for fun! I've been so busy lately with a recent apprenticeship I've taken on at the bakery down the street from me that I've lost time for recipe writing and testing! But not today!!

Today my bake shift was from 4am to 1pm so I came home and went straight for my ingredients! I know, I'll very likely crash any minute now and have to be in bed by 8:30PM in order to wake up and do it all over again. Ha! 

I had some blackberries in the freezer cause they were ripening too fast so wanted to use them up. I figured I would try some new combos since I also was drying some fresh organic lavender that I found at the farmer's market last week. It's so fun just picking up ingredients in my pantry and seeing where they can lead me! For this recipe, I felt like a small hit of vanilla extract really helps round out the tart blackberries and floral dried lavender buds. 

I definitely love how these little guys came out! Make some for a loved one or just cause you love yourself! ;) Here are some more pics for the assembling process since it can get a little confusing. Enjoy! 

Roll out your dough discs to be a little bigger than what you cut them at. So they're about 1/8 inch thick. 

Apply a thick outside coating of milk on the edges of one piece. Add your filling. 

Cover and lightly seal filling into the dough discs. 

Cut into the shape of a heart then crimp the edges with a fork. 

Brush with egg wash and add sanding sugar. Voila! Into the oven they go!! :D 

Out of the oven they come with this GOLDEN boootiful glow!! 

Blackberry Lavender Love Pies
Makes 12 x heart hand pies (using a 3" cutter for the dough) 

Dough Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups (357g) of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of butter (225g) very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup of water of ice water (watch as you add it) 

Filling Ingredients:  

  • 4 cups frozen blackberries 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon dried lavender buds 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • pinch of kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch, dissolved in blackberry juices 


  • Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream) 
  • 3 tablespoons Sanding Sugar 

Make the dough: 

1. Fill a measuring 1 cup with water and drop ice cubs into it and set aside. Put cubed butter into freezer while you measure out the rest of your dries. 

2. Place 2 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt into food processor and pulse to incorporate. Remove butter from freezer, cut into cubes and add into processor.

3. Pulse to cut the butter until mostly are sizes of peas. Start drizzling ice-cold water into the mixture slowly and pulse the processor as you add the water. You will use about 3/4 of a cup or a little under. Just be careful as you get to the end. Stop pulsing once all the water is added. Use a rubber spatula to gather the dough together.

4. Once you have large clumps and the dough can be pushed together with your hands, gather and knead the dough together into one large disc. Divide dough in half, shape them both into a disc then wrap with plastic wrap. Place into the freezer to chill quickly. 

Make the filling: 

5. In a medium saucepan, add all your ingredients EXCEPT for the cornstarch. Put on a medium high heat and cook for about 4 minutes until it's boiling. Stir occasionally. Don't want to over cook the berries or they'll all breakdown so keep an eye on them!

6. Once there is some extra liquid from the berries in the pan, take about 2 tablespoons of it out in a small bowl and add your cornstarch. Stir so that it is a thick liquid. Doing this will help avoid clumps of cornstarch in your filling. Add back into the pot and stir. Cook for about 30 seconds then remove from heat. 

7. Place filling into a separate bowl and into the fridge to cool down. Go back and stir once in a while to cool the filling down faster. If you're not in a rush, place on the counter and let it come to room temp before you put it into your fridge. 

Roll out your dough: 

8. While your filling is cooling, roll out your dough into a 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3inch biscuit cutter or glass, cut rounds out of your dough. Collect scraps and carefully re-roll them out to create more dough to cut out. I ended up with 24-26 total dough rounds. Place on a half-sheet and into the freezer to firm up before further working with them. 

Assemble your hand pies! 

9. Grab TWO dough discs and roll them out to about 1/8 of an inch thick. With a little dish of whole milk, brush the edges of one piece of dough leaving the center clean. 

10. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of filling into the center of the first disc. Taking the other dough disc, place directly on top of the dough with the filling and gently press down the edges where the milk is so it seals the filling into the dough. 

11. Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut a heart shaped out of the little hand pie. Using a fork, crimp the edges down to further seal in the filling. Place on another parchment lined baking sheet and back into the freezer to freeze for at least 1HR to whenever you're ready to bake the pies off. 

12. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and space out 6 hand pies per sheet. 

13. When oven is heated, take your egg wash and apply a light brush of it on each hand pie. Top each brushed pie with sanding sugar. Using a pairing knife, cut two little holes for ventilation. 

14. Place into heated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Filling may ooze out which isn't a bad thing. :) 

15. Remove from oven and let it sit on the sheet for 3 minutes to cool. Place on a cooling rack to finish cooling. After 15 minutes you can eat and enjoy!! 


My First Pop-Up!

This past weekend was one of the most rewarding and soul-fulfilling weekends I've ever had!! For those who don't know, I partnered with local Santa Monica coffee roasters, Cafe Demitasse, to take over their pastry case for the weekend selling my bakes exclusively. This was a few months of talks, menu planning, recipe testing, produce shopping and then pumping out schedules, marketing materials and more! 

I knew it would be something that would take a tremendous amount of work. What I didn't know was that we would sell out within hours of the event starting!! I'm still feeling the high and exhilaration of seeing all the smiling faces and empty plates coming back. I won't forget the near distant "mMMmms" and people telling me "SO GOOD" "DELISH" and "AMAZING!" as they walked out to carry out their weekend plans.

Here are photos from the weekend along with my beloved menu. I made 380+ pieces all on my own which was the largest amount I've ever had to make! Luckily I had my hubby as my Sous Chef on baking mornings where we woke up at 2:30am to bake off everything off. My other very best friend and cousin helped me prep more pieces on Saturday night for Sunday. I seriously couldn't have pulled this off without them. 

Both days we sold out and within a few hours. For the next one I'll DEF need to make more items. Crowd favorites were all different surprisingly!  Saturday the Matcha Maple Pavs were the last to go but on Sunday they were the first! The Breakfast Pie was a hit on both days and so were the Whisky Cherry Pies. 

I have to admit... I often (still) struggle with my path and baking talents (even after the show and everything!) and whether or not my bakes are good enough to "cut" it.  After this event, I realized that the overwhelming positive feedback from friends, families, strangers and industry foodies, that my happy place is making good food and people happy through my food! I plan to ride out this  overwhelming joy in my heart for as long as possible as I plan my next steps. :)

For those who showed up and we were sold out of goodies, please message me and we can arrange a pie or pavlova commission! 

Thanks again everyone and can't wait to let you know about future events/plans!! xoxox. 

Kelvin and I were up at 2:30am baking off all the pies! #bakerylife

Black Sesame Pavlova (Photo Taken by Jennifer Jou) 


Dim Sum Beef Curry Puffs

When we were asked to make 2 different hand pies for The Great American Baking show, I knew instantly that I wanted to showcase the two sides of my culture growing up Chinese-American. The first hand pie was an American Breakfast Pie with eggs, sausage, peppers, onions all in a cheddar cheese pastry crust. You can find that recipe here. The other hand pie was something I ate at Dim Sum throughout my childhood. It's one of my favorites and a serious crowd pleaser! 

The key to this is to make sure the crust stays extra extra cold so you may make a few trips to the freezer during the process of making these. Also, make sure you dock little holes on the top of the puffs after you've shaped, chilled and before you add the egg wash. The same way you take a fork to your pie crust before blind baking it. This will ensure the puffs not getting soggy in the middle since they have little steam escape holes. 

This is a great recipe to make for day-of treats or make them in advance and keep them in the freezer until ready to bake. If you're baking from frozen, make sure to give them a little extra time in the oven.  

Dim Sum Beef Curry Puffs
Signature Savory Hand Pies Challenge on The Great American Baking Show
Makes about 13-14 hand pies  

Pastry Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup ice water (watch as you add it) 

Filling Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely cut
  • 1/2 lb of lean ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  •  4 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce (to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules

Other Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons of milk (to seal the dough)
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted white sesame seeds
  • Egg Wash (1 egg, 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon of milk)
  • Extra flour for dusting/rolling

Make the dough: 

1. Fill a measuring cup with water and drop ice cubs into it and set aside. Cut butter sticks into cubes and place into the freezer for 5 minutes. 

2. Place flour, sugar and salt into food processor. Pulse to incorporate. Remove butter from freezer and add into processor. Pulse to cut the butter until most of them are the size of peas. Adding 1/2 cup of ice-cold water into the mixture a little at a time while pulsing the processor to incorporate. Watch as you add the last 1/4 cup of water to ensure you aren't adding too much of it. Only need enough for the dough to come together.  May need more water for the dough to stick together but only add it 1 tablespoon at a time. 

4. Once you have large clumps and the dough can be pushed together with your hands, turn dough out on a lightly floured surface.  Gather and knead the dough together into one large disc. Divide dough in half, shape them both into a flat disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Place into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hr to overnight.

Make the filling: 

5. In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil and sauté the onions with 1 tablespoon of curry powder until the onions become translucent.

6. Add the beef, soy sauce and remaining curry powder. Cook until the beef is brown and then add salt to taste. Add MORE salt or soy sauce to ensure mixture is salty enough since some of the flavor will get absorbed into the crust after baked. 

Assemble & then bake the puffs: 

7.  Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. Place chilled dough on a lightly floured workspace and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Just like you would any normal pie crust. Using a 3-inch circle cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Regather scraps then repeat rolling and cutting. Place cut circles on baking sheet and into the freezer to re-chill for 4-5 minutes. 

8. Take cut pastry out of the freezer and make sure you're ready to work quickly! Lightly flour your surface, and using a smaller rolling pin roll out each circle to 1/8 inch thick. Brush the edges lightly with milk then place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the pastry circle. Fold over onto itself so it creates a half circle. Do your best to push the filling into the center so it doesn't get caught as you seal the edges. Use are fork to seal the edge of the puff. 

9. Place filled puff on baking sheet and repeat until you're all out of filling or pastry circles. Before you stick them into the freezer to chill, take a fork and lightly dock the tops of them.  Let the filled puffs chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes. 

10. When ready to bake, brush the tops with egg wash then sprinkle with roasted white sesame seeds.

11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry turns golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let it cool a few minutes then chow down!!