Hand Pies–the ultimate portable food! It seems almost every culture has a version of this on-the-go lunch or dinner. From Cornwall, it’s the pasty which has made its way to many parts of the world–most notably the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In Latin America and Spain it’s the empanada, also great as a tapa. In Italy it’s the calzone which is pretty much pizza fillings stuffed into an enclosed pizza crust. You can use any pie crust recipe you like, but I like using a combination of vegetable shortening (or lard, if you have it) and butter for a nice combination of flavor and flakiness. An egg in the dough adds a certain richness. The idea for this filling came from a visit to The Mmoon Empanadas in Los Gatos. These pies freeze well. Just place the uncooked pies on a sheet pan and freeze them completely, then put them in zip-top bags. They can be cooked straight out of the freezer, just add about 5 extra minutes to the cooking time.
BLACK BEAN & CORN HAND PIES
(makes 6 large pies)
1 Tblspn Olive Oil
½ cup Poblano Pepper—small dice
½ cup Yellow Onion—small dice
¼ cup Red Pepper—small dice
1 clove Garlic—minced
½ tspn Salt
½ tspn Ground Cumin
¼ tspn Ground Chipotle Chili (or other chili powder)
¼ tspn Black Pepper
½ cup Corn
½ cup Black Beans–cooked
½ cup Queso Fresco (or shredded Jack or Cheddar)
2 ¼ cups Flour
1 tspn Salt
2 tspns Sugar
½ tspn Ground Cumin
¼ cup Shortening
½ cup Butter (one stick)
1 Tblspn Cider Vinegar
6 Tblspns Ice Water
1 large Egg
1 Tblspn Water
- Char the skin of the poblano pepper by either roasting under a broiler or placing directly on the burner of a gas stove turned to medium heat. Turn pepper a quarter turn as the exposed side of the pepper becomes evenly blackened. When pepper is completely blackened, place the pepper in a bowl and cover tightly with a plate or some plastic wrap—this helps create steam to loosen the skin.
- When cool enough to handle, slip off the blackened skin and remove the stem and seeds. It’s best not to rinse the pepper under water so as to preserve all of the roasted flavor.
- In a sauté pan over medium-high, heat oil until it just begins to shimmer. Add onion and red pepper and sauté until softened, but not browned—about 5 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant—about a minute.
- Add corn (fresh or frozen), black beans (rinsed and drained) and poblano. Cook and combine until heated through. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Place in a medium bowl to cool. Add crumbled cheese and stir to combine.
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add shortening and cut into the flour mixture with two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mix resemble a course meal. Cut butter into ½” pieces and toss to coat with the flour. Pinch the butter pieces flat with your fingers. Working quickly, pinch and mix the butter pieces in until you have a mix with mostly pea-sized pieces.
- Add cider and ice water and mix together with a fork until a rough ball forms.
- Pull dough out onto a lightly floured pastry board or clean counter and turn and push mixture together a few times to form a cohesive ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Whisk together egg and water in a small bowl
- Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 6 equal pieces.
- On a lightly floured board, roll each piece out into a circle about ⅛” thick and about 7” in diameter.
- Place about ¼ cup of the filling in the center of each dough circle. Brush the edges of the dough with egg mixture. Fold edges together and pinch with thumb and index finger. Crimp edges with a fork. If fork sticks to dough, dip it in a little flour.
- Place pies on a parchment lined sheet pan, brush with egg wash, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned.