In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt and sugar together with a fork or a whisk. Using your fingers, two forks or a pastry cutter, begin to work the butter into the dough until you have coarse crumbs. Stir in the water a tablespoon at a time, using a fork to incorporate it into the dough, checking it with your fingers by pinching the dough together. You can also do this with a food processor, if you wish. Do not over-work the dough – you want to be able to see bits of butter within the dough, and it will still be rather shaggy and loose. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to bring it together into a ball, but be careful not to overwork the dough. When the mixture pulls together into a ball, wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a disk, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Prep the filling:
Taste your cranberry sauce -- if it is on the tart side, consider adding a tablespoon of sugar (less or more, to taste). I like to stir in xantham gum to ensure the sauce is thick enough to bake -- you can leave this out if you like.
On a lightly floured surface, prepare to roll out the dough. Lightly sprinkle the dough with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large round about 1/4-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out the dough. Gather the scraps of dough and re-roll to cut more rounds. You should have about 12 rounds, with additional dough to cute out accent dough, if you wish. Place 6 rounds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Note: Creating fancy patterns for the top of the hand pies is totally optional, but if you wish to recreate what I have done, use a 1-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the centers of 6 of the rounds. Use leaf-shaped pie cutters and stamp out extra dough.
Whisk the egg and water together, then lightly brush the edges of the dough on the 6 rounds. Place 1 tablespoon of cranberry filling in the center of each circle. Lay another round on top, pressing the edges with your fingers, and crimping by pressing together with a fork. Continue with the remaining hand pies. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, along with the egg wash.
While the hand pies chill, preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack placed in the center of the oven.
When the hand pies are ready to bake, lightly brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar. If you used a solid round of dough for the tops, be sure to use a fork or skewer to poke small holes on the top of the dough to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool a little before serving!
The separate components can be prepared in advance, from the dough to the filling, making these hand pies an even easier treat to make in advance.
You can also form the hand pies and instead of refrigerating for 20 minutes, freeze in a freezer safe container and bake at a later time.
While this recipe yields 6 hand pies, you can easily double it to make an even dozen. Save some for future baking, or bake them all at once!