BY RICHARD MOOREY
WELL 2017 is definitely rolling along and seemingly at a record pace. August is coming to a close and we’re already seeing tinges of colour change in the greenery outside. While some of us may lament the seasonal change or the fact that we’re running a little thin on what’s left of summer you can take solace in the fact that it’s one of the most delicious times of the year. . . harvest time!
So many sweet, succulent and savoury things are coming of age and ready to be incorporated into some serious tastitude made right in your kitchen. There are millions of recipe options and so much deliciousness that it can be mind boggling. One of the best ways to maximize taste bud time is to use recipes that allow you to use a basic recipe to create a wide variety of flavour profiles. Enter one of my favourite eats . . . the hand pie.
Some people reference the hand pie as a turnover, an empanada, pirrakka or pirukad, a calzone, a pasty, a pita, as patties and even samosas, but no matter what you call them, hand pies are extremely versatile and an easy way to satiate the crew. They can be sweet made with fresh fruit and berries, they can be savoury made with root vegetables and cheeses, they can be spicy to satisfy those that like to wipe their brows while they indulge and they can host any mix of ingredients that will have carnivores drooling and vegetarians swooning.
Hand pies are simple to make and can be easily mastered and made to suit almost any taste. One of my favourite things about hand pies is how easily cooking techniques, the dough and fillings can be interchanged to create so many different flavour profiles. They can be made to be at eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner and are perfectly portable ideal for work, school, outings or any other time when you need something that’s grab and go.
So here are some ideas and a recipe to give you a little help to get your very own hand pie handbook off the ground so you can enjoy some of what harvest time has to offer in your hand held eats.
As a chef I guarantee you’ll enjoy exploring what the world beyond hot pockets and pizza pops has to offer.
HAND PIE IDEAS
Shepherd’s Hand Pies
All the best parts of a shepherd’s pie stuffed into a hand held pastry these ones are amazing deep fried
Broccoli and Chicken Alfredo with Gorgonzola
Dough Pockets filled with fresh broccoli florets, diced and cooked chicken with a Gorgonzola spiked Alfredo Sauce
Bacon, Egg and Hash Brown Breakfast Hand Pies
Although you can use scrambled egg in this one I like chopping up hardboiled egg and adding just a hint of mayo along with crispy bacon and hash browns along with a healthy dose of aged cheddar
Margherita Hand Pies
The meat won’t be missed in this vegetarian marvel with all the bold and fresh flavours including olive oil, parmesan, garlic, tomato, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella. Baked or fried this one’s a favourite.
Pulled Pork Hand Pies
Imagine a BBQ pulled pork sandwich in a flaky and buttery crust. Need I say more?
Curried Lamb with Potato and Peas Hand Pie
Savoury and succulent lamb with a little international flavour and garden fresh boiled potato and peas. Definitely decadent.
CHEF HOUSE'S NORTHERN FRUIT HARVEST HAND PIES
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread or pastry flour
1 tbsp. sugar
8 oz cold butter cubed
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 pound rhubarb, peeled and diced
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg beaten with a splash of water (for the egg wash)
In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, bread flour, and sugar, pulsing to combine. Add the butter cubes to the food processor and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed. Add 1/2 cup of water; pulse the dough together until it just begins to clump together. The dough should begin to look shaggy. Add the remaining water one tablespoon at a time stopping when it starts to come together.
Remove the dough from the bowl of the food processor and place it on a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough a few times until it comes together and shape it into a mound. Cut the dough ball into two equal parts and wrap them in plastic wrap; transfer them to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400F
To prepare the filling add the fruit, corn starch, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to a saucepan. Over medium heat cook the mixture for five minutes, until the fruit has softened. Depending on your fruit, there may be a bit of liquid and this is okay.
Remove the dough and liberally flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough to about a 1/8 inch thick. Using a four- inch cookie cutter, cut circles out of all the dough.
Spoon a small amount of the fruit mixture into the center of the dough. Brush egg wash along the edges of each of the dough circles. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges to seal. Using the tines of a fork, sealing the edges. Repeat the process until all of the hand pies are made. Transfer the pies to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with crystal sugar. Bake the pies for 15-17 minutes, until the tops and edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Enjoy warm or room temperature.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to email@example.com, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.