Sweet & Savory Hand Pies
Y3, Week Two: One does not simply walk into Mordor with full-sized pie
If it hasn’t already become painfully apparent, I’m a nerd. Proudly so. I own the entire Lord of the Rings EXTENDED edition trilogy box set and last weekend I watched all 12 hours of it in a single day. Some of my wonderful nerd friends joined me, some brought props, some even brought the next generation of nerds — some in costume no less (Helpful tip: Swords, while terribly dashing, are a tad inconvenient at parties). I love my people.
In honor of Frodo and Sam’s epic journey I made some lovely portable pies, perfect for a serious hike and made with ingredients you can easily find in your Shire. Have them for second breakfast, Elevensies, dinner, supper, or whenever the mood strikes you.
SWEET or SAVORY HAND PIES
(can be prepared vegan)
Basic Pie Pastry
Makes enough for one batch of either the sweet or savory pies. Make twice if you want to do both kinds.
2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2/3 cup butter or Earth Balance Baking Sticks
1/3 cup very cold water, approx (can substitute 1/2 of the water with cold vodka)
Mix flour, sugar, and salt with a pastry cutter or in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 10 to 15 seconds. Sprinkle water slowly over the top of the flour mixture while pulsing mixer. Use only enough water to make the dough stick together when a small amount is squeezed in your hand; be careful not to over mix. Dough will be slightly crumbly. Separate dough in half. Gently shape dough into discs (without kneading) and wrap tightly in plastic, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Mixed Berry Filling
2 rounded tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups of mixed berries (frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
2 tsp lemon juice
In a medium saucepan on medium heat stir together corn starch, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in berries and lemon juice, stirring occasionaly until mixture is bubbling, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Butternut Squash Filling
from Spabettie “Sage Butternut Pies”
1/2 small butternut squash, cubed
7-8 sage leaves
1 cup pinto beans
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
salt and white pepper to taste
Brush squash and sage leaves with olive oil, roast at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then mash the squash and sage with the beans, herbes, and salt and pepper. Set aside for assembly.
Everything you’ve prepared so far
1 round cookie cutter (I used a 2 1/2″ diameter cutter, I wouldn’t recommend any smaller, but you can go larger.)
2 cookie or jelly roll sheets
Remove dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling out (less time if your kitchen is very warm).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of dough into a 12-14” circle. Carefully cut out as many circles of dough as you can with the cutter. Place dough circles on cookie sheets. Gather leftover scraps into a ball and repeat process one or two more times.
Roll out second portion of dough and cut out circles. Gently spoon 1-2 teaspoons of filling (sweet or savory) into the middle of a circle on the cookie sheet. Wet edges of circle with a fingertip or small brush. Lay one of the dough circles from the second portion of dough over the top and press down sides firmly to seal. Use a fork to gently seal the edges further. Repeat until all dough circles have been filled and covered. For Savory Pies: Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. For Sweet Pies: Sprinkle tops with sugar. Prick tops once with a fork to vent and bake for 20-23 minutes until tops are very light golden brown. Cool slightly and serve.