Pie season is upon us and several months of sweets encased in flaky butter dough lie ahead. But for me, a general hater of pies (except pumpkin, banana cream and The Chopping Block's famous Apple Pie, of course ), I approach pie season with dread. The cloying sweetness and icky stickiness just leave me craving salt and spice and peppery delights. That is why I love a savory pie. Sadly, savory pies are not quite the institution here in the States that they are in the UK. From pork pies, to steak and stilton to stargazy, the Brits and their mates really have us beat when it comes to the savory pie game.
So, after far too many episodes of the Great British Baking Show coupled with a serious snack attack, I attempted to beat the Brits at their own game with my decidedly American Savory Buffalo Chicken Hand Pies. Now, this may seem like a lot of work for a glorified “Hot Pocket” but trust me, the crust is so buttery, flaky and delicious that I promise you will never willingly eat a store-bought Hot Pocket again!
Savory Hand Pies
This is a classic pie dough given a little extra folding to develop some flaky layers and a stronger structure. I like to make it the night before so I can hop up in the morning and stuff some pies for breakfast. This can be made in a food processor, but is easy to make by hand.
Yields 10-12 Hand Pies
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Bread Flour
3 sticks very cold butter
2 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
½ cup ice cold water
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water)
Sift both flours into a bowl and add salt. Grate butter into bowl and toss with your hand to coat in flour.
Use finger to “smoosh” butter into flat and shaggy pieces about the size of a quarter.
Once thoroughly smooshed, add egg and start adding water a little at a time to bring dough together.
Continue adding water to the dry bits, squeezing them together until you are able to bring everything together into a big ball. You may not use all of your water and you may have a few crumbs floating around but that’s okay.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap out on the counter, turn dough out onto it and wrap, using the plastic to bring any extra bits into the dough. Wrap again and refrigerate for half an hour.
Remove dough from plastic wrap and roll out into a large rectangle. Fold dough in thirds and then in half again. Roll out into another large rectangle and repeat folding. Roll out one more time and fold. Re-wrap dough and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
For the filling, choose your favorite savory meat or vegetable and just stuff it in there. Make sure everything is cooked, chilled and not too loose. I opted for my favorite dip—buffalo chicken and a more classic chicken and herbed mushroom, but anything will work. Try pulled pork with pickled red onion, bacon and eggs, leftover tika masala or veggie curry, leftover Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, or lobster and béchamel. The world is your oyster, and those would be good too!
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Divide dough in half, storing the extra in the fridge until ready to roll out. You should be able to see flecks of butter and lovely layers throughout.
Cut dough into circles, squares or rectangles. I used a large square biscuit cutter. Pop pieces in the refrigerator as you cut them to keep them cool. Cut all of your dough. You should get 10-12 pieces from each half depending on size. Working with two pieces at a time, roll them out to the thickness of a quarter. Place a scoop of stuffing on one and top with another piece of dough.
Press with a fork on all sides to seal and return to the refrigerator while you work through the rest of the dough. Use a small paring knife to cut a few holes in the top of each pie. Brush with egg wash.
Pop into an oven pre-heated oven at 425 degrees. Immediately turn the oven down to 350 (with convection) or 375 without and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. These also freeze beautifully. Just wash with egg, spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for an hour. Pop them into a freezer bag and enjoy straight from the freezer to a 350 oven.
Our Pie and Tart Boot Camp is a great way to learn how to make some savory pies. It’s already sold out for November, but sign up now for Pie and Tart Boot Camp on January 26 at Lincoln Square or February 24 at the Merchandise Mart.
Can’t wait that long for pie? Order your holiday pies right now. Pumpkin and Apple pies are both available for pre-order and pick up at our Merchandise Mart and Lincoln Square locations the week of Thanksgiving!