Beef & Cheddar Hand Pies
The inspiration for these pies came from Tamora Pierce's Bekka Cooper Trilogy. My mouth always waters when I am reading her books, and when I reread this series recently I decided to try my hand at recreating a number of the hand pies that could be found at the Night Market.
Whiles these take a while for prep (close to 1.5 hours) and then another ~20 min to bake, they are best prepared in bulk ahead of time, frozen, then reheated when you want to serve them.
BEED & CHEDDAR HAND PIES
Makes ~18 servings
1 kg Ground Beef
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
5 Tablespoons (75ml) Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Spicy Brown Mustard (Substitute: Dijon)
300 grams Cheddar Cheese, Shredded (reserve ~50 grams)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Eggs, beaten
Pre-made puff pastry dough
Pre heat oven to 180 C Fan (200 C / 390 F)
PASTRY: *I promise to experiment with some dough recipes from scratch and report back, but pre-made puff pastry dough is a gift from the goddess. I prefer packages of pre-cut 5"x5" squares for easy assembly.
Heat EVOO in a large heavy bottom skillet over medium heat.
Add diced onions to the hot oil and cook until translucent - do not caramelize.
Once onions are translucent, add in the garlic and cook briefly until they start to give off a scent - do not burn.
Raise the heat to medium high, and add in the ground beef and brown it thoroughly. Make sure to break it up into tiny pieces.
Add in the Worcestershire Sauce and mustard. Stir completely and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to adjust. Be careful about adding too much salt. Both the Worcestershire Sauce and the cheddar will increase the salt levels.
Remove from heat and cool for about 30-40 minutes. Elevate a side of the pan and compress filling to the top of the pan, so that the fat and extra juices can drain while cooling. Once cool, remove the excess liquid.
Once cooled and drained, throughly mix in 250 grams of cheddar cheese.
ASSEMBLY & BAKING:
Line the trays with parchment paper - not aluminum foil. Aluminum foil causes the dough to stick and makes it difficult to remove after baking.
Place the dough squares in one hand and then use the other to spoon in a good helping of meat filling. You want them filled, but not over filled to the point you can't close them.
If you underfill then they deflate in the oven. Overfill them and they leak while baking.
To close the hand pies fold into a triangle and pinch the top edges closed folding the dough in on itself to create a tight seal.
Beat 2 eggs to form an egg wash.
Lay the hand pies on the tray and brush the egg wash on top of the dough.
Sprinkle a small (50g should cover 18 hand pies) amount of the remaining cheddar over the top as garnish.
Cut a small vent hole in the top of each hand pie.
Do not overcrowd the baking sheet. I typically bake 6 at a time.
Bake at 180 C Fan (200 C / 390 F) for 20 minutes or until the pies are golden brown.
Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack and let sit until cool enough to handle.
FREEZING & REHEATING:
Once the hand pies are cool you can wrap each individually in a plastic sandwich bag or wrap and then fill a large freeze ziplock bag with the individually wrapped hand pies.
They can keep in the freezer for about 3-6 months depending on if you have a deep freezer or not.
To reheat, preheat the oven to 180 C Fan (200 C / 390 F) and bake from frozen (do not thaw) for ~20 min or until the middle is warm.