I know that across the country this time may arrive in different times, but today I’m preparing myself for the upcoming months of hanging out with the kids. This past year brought a lot of changes, including a kindergartner and a preschooler, whereas in years past those two were home with me while the older kids were at school. Since everyone will be home, I’m looking forward to some fun memories being made.
Speaking of fun, we’ve been practicing for summer these last few weeks by grilling outside every chance we get and inviting friends over for some fun. Which makes sense, because May is National Barbecue Month! I feel like May is a month for everything, I mean it’s my birthday month as well as Mr. Harris’, plus it’s the month Mother’s Day is celebrated and Memorial Day is honored. In addition it’s National Strawberry Month and National Barbecue Month??!! Talk about a perfect month for entertaining! It’s sort of the time of year where we begin to enjoy the sunshine a bit more before the super hot summer weather sets in, but (usually) we say goodbye to the rain of Spring during May as well.
Basically, it’s the best month of the year, right?
I think of May as the beginning of grilling season. It’s that month where we gravitate to the backyard, the pool parties and the local parks. There’s just so much fun to be had, and such nice weather to enjoy with good food and good friends, am I right?
My husband loves to grill, and I usually take care of the sides. We typically like to enjoy a potato salad, pasta salad, or even a colorful taco salad. I’ll have snacks handy too, but I often get stumped on desserts. What type of sweets does one bring to a barbecue? Sometimes this can get tricky, because usually food is served outside and can be sitting out for a few hours during this time, so something like cake, ice cream or pudding might not be the best option. Even something as simple as cookies might need a second thought if they contain chocolate chips that might melt. This was my dilemma during Memorial Day weekend when we had family and friends over throughout the weekend and did most of our eating and entertaining outdoors. But I came up with a delicious solution!
I received this beautiful bottle of bourbon from Four Roses Bourbon and thought it would pair so well with some Driscoll’s strawberries in a jam. So why not make adorable little mini hand pies with some premade pie crust for a super easy dessert that’s perfect for outdoor entertaining?
The pies are delicious, and can be served cold or warm. The bourbon has a sweet and rich flavor that matched so well with the sweet strawberries and the tart lemon I added. With a bit of vanilla added to the mixture, this jam smells so heavenly and tastes amazing. I may have found a new hobby making my own jam, and will be looking into some canning jars, because seriously.. this stuff is amazing.
I folded the jam into premade pie crusts cut super tiny with a round cookie cutter, then folded them in half and sealed them. Just a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a quick bake and these babies were ready to be served. Such a light, delicious and sweet treat that’s perfect to welcome summer!
Strawberry Bourbon Jam Ingredients:
- 16 ounce package of Driscoll’s Strawberries, washed and hulled, then cut into quarters
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons Four Roses Bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- juice of one small lemon
- zest from one small lemon
Mini Hand Pie Ingredients:
- one package refrigerated pie crust (using both pie rounds)
- strawberry bourbon jam
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
Begin by adding all of the ingredients for the jam into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir the ingredients together until they’re well incorporated, then let it all come to a boil while stirring occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down just a bit and leave it at a low boil. Continue to stir occasionally until the amount of liquid reduces and the strawberries begin to liquify. Once the mixture has thickened substantially and has a jelly or jam feel to it, remove from heat. This entire process will take about 30 minutes or so. Let cool and either store in an airtight container until ready to use, or let it cool completely before you begin to assemble the mini hand pies.
Spoon about 1/2 a teaspoon in each little round, maybe more if your cookie cutter was a bit larger than mine. (I ended up scooping just a bit of this back after I took this photo because it was too much!)
Once filled with the jam, take one half of the circle and pinch it together with the other half. Seal with a tiny bit of water and pinch together with a fork on the ends on each side. Lightly brush both sides with melted butter, then sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar. Place on a lined baking sheet, and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until golden.
The jam is so amazingly good, we had a little leftover and made some biscuits that we slathered it onto! If you’re not feeling like pie, at least try the jam! It’s sweet, tart with such a delicious smell. The Four Roses Bourbon was such a compliment to the strawberry flavor and the vanilla really brought out the sweet notes in the whiskey. The addition of lemon juice and lemon zest complimented the ripe berries so well!