A hand pie, I will have you know, is when you put fillings in little circles of pie crust, fold it over, and then bake it like a turnover. In Michigan, we call these pasties (that’s pronounced PAHS-ties, as opposed to PAYS-ties, and you are all filthy if you thought the other thing).
Oh wait. First I want to address the fact that neither Sue nor I have written a blog post since July. Well, we have the following to say for ourselves: we were busy, and apologize for the long delay. I CAN say that we cooked many interesting things while we’ve been away, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with potato chips on it, a Christmas yule log, crab jambalaya WITH CRABS THAT I MYSELF CAUGHT FROM THE OCEAN, KILLED* AND CLEANED, a turducken and a devil’s food cake, but we didn’t blog about any of it. (Hint on the PB&J: you put the chips right on the sandwich!!!)
*I didn’t kill them, my boyfriend did. Crabs are a lot harder to kill than you’d think, and also if, say, you try to kill one and just piss it off instead, it gets verrrrry fighty.
So, hand pies/pasties, which are basically the same thing. Pasties originated in Cornwall, and arrived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with Cornish immigrants who came for the UP copper mining. They can be filled with savory or sweet things, though traditionally it would be beef and root vegetables. The crust is a traditional shortcrust pastry, a basic pie crust with a 1:2 fat to flour ratio. We filled ours with some leftover jerk chicken, and made some with steak, blue cheese and caramelized onion. That’s the recipe I’ll post, because it’s going to make you cry, it’s so good. This recipe makes about 7 hand pies.
2 cups flour
1 cup cold butter, diced
3/4 cup very cold vodka
1 tsp salt
Egg wash (whisk together one egg with 2 tsp of cold water and set aside)
1 lb or so of sirloin steak, salted and peppered on both sides
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup wine, any kind will do
salt and pepper
Method: In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and butter until the mixture is grainy like sand. Drop in the cold vodka about a teaspoon at a time until the mixture JUST holds together. DO NOT OVERMIX. Remove the dough from the food processor, shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This resting process is extremely important and I think has something to do with gluten but I forget, so just do it, or else watch this video. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
While the dough is resting in the fridge and the oven is pre-heating, make the filling. In a cast iron pan on medium-high heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter and sear the steak for 2-3 minutes per side, then remove to a plate and let rest. In the same pan but heat reduced to medium, melt the remaining tbsp of butter and cook the onions until browned and even lightly charred, scraping up all the delicious beef bits.
After maybe 6 or 7 minutes, deglaze the pan with whatever wine you have and cook until the liquid is absorbed, then turn off the heat. Dice the steak into cute little bite sized pieces.After resting and preparing the filling, unwrap the dough, separate it into as many balls as you want to have hand pies (we made 7 with this amount of dough), and on a lightly floured work surface, roll each dough ball out into a little circle. Pile a little steak, a little onions and some blue cheese bits onto the circles, fold them over into a half moon shape, pinch the ends together with your fingers (or use the tines of a fork to crimp them) and lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with egg wash and bake them for 20-25 minutes or until browned. You can reheat these in the oven as long as they last, which will be zero days. I took these to work for lunch and I didn’t heat them up, I just kept it on my desk so when I ate it it was room temperature and the crust was crisp and fantastic and I wish I still had some of these but I don’t because we ate them all. Also, MAY I SUGGEST eating the steak ones with a little dollop of raspberry jam. Good GOD they’re delicious.