Hand Pies

Whenever I teach a pie making workshop one of the pastries I demonstrate is hand pies, also known as turnovers. I have made thousands of apple turnovers in the last few years and lived to tell about it.

For the pie workshop I prepare a fruit filling, usually berry of some kind, and some chicken pot pie filling also. The students and I use the fillings to make sweet and savory varieties of hand pies.

Hand pies come in many forms in other world cuisines. Cornish pasties are a hand pie, as are empanadas. A hand pie simply needs a crust to enclose a filling for a portable meal. I first learned about Cornish pasties when I moved to Michigan as a child and saw little restaurants that specialized in these traditional meals that were carried into the copper mines by immigrants from Cornwall. I have since learned that I had an ancestor, a great uncle on my maternal grandfather's side, that had a killer pastie recipe that he wouldn't share with anyone. He took it to his grave!

Don't ever do that.

Share your recipes! They won't do you any good when you're gone but sharing them will give you something special to be remembered by. It would be so wonderful to have my ancestor's recipe today.

The best part of making little savory hand pies like these is that they freeze really well. After the last workshop I taught there was a lot of chicken pot pie filling left so I made up a lot of little chicken turnovers and stored them in my freezer. Now when I want a good meal but don't have the energy to start from scratch I can pull out a dozen for dinner. Tonight we had these for supper with a salad and some corn chowder (that also whips up easily from frozen garden fresh corn. Remind me to share a recipe.)

Another variation of the savory hand pie is to add some pesto to the pie dough. I just make my regular pie dough but while pulsing the butter into the flour I throw in a couple tablespoons of prepared pesto.

This would make a great crust for a quiche too.

The filling I used for this batch had Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese and just enough pasta sauce to stick it all together.

Pizza pockets! (Only better.)

After forming the hand pies I lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them. When frozen solid, I transfer them to an airtight container. They do not stick together if they have been frozen on a tray. To bake, I lay them out on a parchment lined baking tray and allow them to thaw.

I brush them with an egg wash and bake in a hot oven (425 degrees) for about twenty minutes until golden.

Homemade fast food!

Delicious, nutritious and so easy!