Oh lawdy, this is a good one, you guys!
And as such, there are like 732574658 photos. Okay, more like 15…but you get the idea—this is picture-heavy post.
So these hand pies are kind of the best thing I’ve had in a while, and you need to make them tomorrow for St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t worry, they’re actually really simple to make, and you can make them a bunch of different ways (I’ll show you a few I did). Plus, the filling requires only a few ingredients!
(Yes, that is a gigantic box of various Girl Scout cookies you see in the background, so be prepared to see some recipes featuring those coming up!)
One of the most intriguing ingredients in these pies is the brined green peppercorn. It’s just green peppercorns that have been canned in water and salt (and sometimes vinegar). They’re milder than other peppercorns, and soft. You can find them at specialty stores, or just order them from Amazon. In a pinch, you could substitute freshly-ground black pepper and capers, but know that the end flavor will be altered.
These are the kind I use:
(Plus, you can make awesome Steak au Poivre with the leftover peppercorns!)
My favorite way to make these little pies is using store-bought pie crust (the kind you can roll out…NOT the kind already in the pie tin), and baking them into muffin pans. I mean you could make your own pie crust, but I’ve been there and done that, and this is so much simpler!
You just use a circular cookie cutter to cut a large circle of pie dough out, lay it in the muffin cup, spoon in filling, then top with a smaller circle of dough. Then I crimped the edges with a fork and slathered on a little egg wash. They’re like adorable, miniature pies!
You could also make them into little fold-over pies by cutting out rectangles of pie dough, spooning a little filling in the middle of on side, and folding over the top and crimping with a little egg wash.
You can also do the exact same thing with store-bought puff pastry, producing something like these mushroom hand pies I made.
The last way you can make these, is to just scoop the filling into oven-safe bowl or crocks, and then lay a piece of puff pastry dough over the top. This is probably the easiest method of all, and would be great for dinner parties!
Though, Mikey and I both have a sneaking suspicion that this would make a great shepherd’s pie kind of thing if you put the filling into a baking dish and topped it with mashed potatoes!
Hell, it’d be great on, with, in, or under just about anything. It’s just really freaking tasty stuff, and I am definitely guilty of eating the filling by the spoonful.
By the way, did you notice all the water droplets in these photos? I took these on my balcony porch, in the rain. Sometimes my options for photos are limited, and I can’t let a little water stop me. Seattle isn’t always the best climate for a food blogger, haha!
Yield: more than a dozen mini pies (or less if you go the crock route)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
1 large red onion, chopped
3 small carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp green peppercorn in brine, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup Guinness Irish stout
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- a few sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 packages store-bought pie crusts (these are 14.1 ounces) or puff pastry (these are about 1 lb)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef and a pinch of salt, and brown for a couple minutes. Transfer to a bowl (don't worry if some parts are still raw, it's all going back in shortly).
- Add the onion, carrot, and another pinch of salt to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft. Add in the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and peppercorns and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef back in, along with any juices that have accumulated, along with the broth Guinness, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover and put in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water and add to the beef mixture. Stir together. Season, to taste, with salt. Allow to cool before filling pies. (The colder the filling the easier assembling the pies will be. You could even refrigerate the filling overnight.)
to make the muffin pan pies (you can get about 7 mini pies out of 1 sheet of pie dough) :
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll out your pie crust on a lightly-floured surface to about 1/4"-thick. Cut out two different-sized circles using circular cookie cutters (one larger than the base of the muffin tin, and one about the size of the top of each mold). Place the larger circle into the muffin tin and press up the sides. Spoon in the filling, leaving a little room at the top. Place the smaller circle of dough on top, and press to seal (a form will help here). Cut a small "x" in the top of each pie.
- Mix the egg and water together in a small bowl, and brush over the tops of each pie.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is fully cooked through, golden brown, and flakey.
for the fold-over pies (you can get 4 hand pies out of each sheet of puff pastry or pie dough):
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees for pie crust pies, or 425 degrees for puff-pastry pies.
- Mix together egg and water in a small bowl.
- Roll out either pie crust, or puff pastry on a lightly-floured surface to about 1/4"-thick. Cut each sheet of puff pastry or pie dough into 4 rectangles. Place a spoonful of filling into a bit offset of the middle of each pastry piece. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Fold one half of the dough over and seal. Press the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut a small "x" into the top of each, and brush the tops with the egg wash. Place the hand pies on a prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until fully cooked, golden brown, and flakey.
for the crock pies (you can get about 4-6 of these):
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees,
- Scoop the filling into oven-safe bowl or crocks.
- Mix together egg and water in a small bowl.
- Roll out your puff pastry on a lightly-floured surface to about 1/4"-thick. Cut into 4 squares. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash, and place (brushed side down) over the filled crocks, pressing on the edges to fully adhere them. Cut a small "x" into the top, and brush the top with the egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes until fully cooked, golden brown, and flakey.
recipe adapted from here