Monday, March 31, 2014

Hand Pies

Going further with the pie thing, I looked in to other versions. The so called Cornish Pastie seemed easy enough. So I figured I'd give it a go.

First to make the pie crust:

1 and 3/4 cup of all purpose flour. One table spoon of salt. Half a stick of cold butter and an equal amount of lard cubed up in small chunks.
Work it all together with a fork till it looks all crumbly like this
Then start adding very cold water a table spoon at a time and work it in with a butter knife till it starts to clump up. I think it was around 8 table spoons total.
Keep working with the butter knife till it clumps up good and looks like this.
Dust your hands with flour and make a ball like this. Resist the temptation to knead it.
Cover with cling wrap and pop it in the fridge for a half hour to set.
Cube up half an onion, one potato and 3/4 of a lb of beef. Make them small about  half inch across. I used chuck eye steak I had on hand.
After a half hour in the fridge, take out your dough, dust your bench with flour and cut the ball in half.
Roll them out with your rolling pin
Place a likely sized plate or bowl over them and trace out a nice circle. Set the selvage aside as you will get another pie out of it.
Stack your filing on it. I put the onions followed and potatoes on the bottom and then the meat. In retrospect I think it wold be better to mix the onions and meat and put those on top of the cubed potatoes. Brush some egg on the edge of one half of the crust and dust your filling with salt, pepper, garlic and tarragon or any other spices of your choice.
Fold over, crimp the edge in a braided rope pattern, brush with egg wash and in to a 400 degree F oven for about 45 minutes. i did poke a hole or two in them to let off the steam.
After 45 minutes
Serve with kosher dill pickles
and enjoy...

I can see just about any filling would work. Any kind of meat or left over stew, even ham and cheese would be tasty as well.


  1. These are rather common here and each region has its own type... and sustains it is the better type in the world. Local name is 'Empanadas' and filligs range from -as you say- ham and cheese, meat (salty or sweet, including hard bioled eggs, olives, currants, raisins, dry plums), 'humita' (a maize and sugar mixture), tuna fish, other local fish...etc.
    BTW, your recipies don't help me, I'm trying to loose wright and then you come tempting me...

    1. Yes we have the same idea in Venezuela and we also called them empanadas, but instead of a flour based dough it was cornmeal based. The cornmeal similar to Polenta. They were filled with queso fresco or a stew of some kind and then fried... they were always savory, no sweet filling though.

  2. Real Cornish Pasties were food for Cornish tin miners. As the ore was poisonous and their hands were dirty, they used to hold them by the pinched edge and eat the rest before throwing the edge away. Also, the pasties had meat etc in one side, and something sweet, such as apples in the other. Nowadays it is just one or the other.

    As you say, you can fill a pastry with anything. The other day I made a chicken and broccoli pie using your pastry recipe. I can't get lard here so I used margarine. I stuck the mixing bowl in the freezer for an hour before using it. It was great!

    1. You can use vegetable shortening "Crisco" instead of lard. You are looking for that purified small molecule fat content. Butter gives it some flavor that's why I went half and half on this one. The Lard or "manteca" (manteiga? in portugese) works best as it makes the pastry nice and crisp and airy. I am surprised it is not available there in Angola. But perhaps not so good for someone with clogged arteries. You done good chilling your bowl, mine is near freezing when I pull it from the cupboard. The key is keep the lard or butter nice and cold. In a tropical clime such as Angola I might even pop it in the freezer for a bit before mixing in to the flour. As for the crusty edges those are the best, I'd never toss those.