The Renaissance of Hand Pies!

IMG_2007Mom wanted to serve the perfect little vegan pasties for Dad’s 70th birthday last December. The right recipe and a willing chef did not come together at that point so…

… we went with larger pot pies that cooled off too quickly and were a tad dry, thank goodness the other details were perfect!

Several days ago, I stumble upon Thom’s  glorious Lentil, Kidney, and Spinach En Croute, or could we call this a little hand pie, otherwise known as a pasty?! I can!

Recipe – Lentil, Kidney Bean & Spinach En Croute.

IMG_1944This is the pasty my Mom was looking for last December!…well, her garden club committee :) is coming around for a casual soiree. With this stormy, early April weather, a hand pie might be just the right warm, satisfying little portable offering… along with balsalmic glazed asparagus spears, and dark chocolate dipped fresh strawberries… possibly a snifter of cognac, darling…just a suggestion Mom (and take photos!).

I have sweet potato, apple, collards and swiss chard from my local grown produce that I wanted to use in a couple different ways, inspired by Thom’s lovely looking hand pie. Thanks Thom.

In the mean time, River and I have been immersed in Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVD collection, that lays out an eating strategy to feed a family of four for less than $120.00 per week! on the most nutritious foods that take less than ten minutes to prepare!! The first DVD is The Basics and talks about this template he came up with for an efficient and super economical approach to meal preparation. He’s a trained culinary chef and dietician and has synthesized his knowledge of nutrition and food science into an approach anybody can follow with no prior cooking experience, fancy cooking gear, or time to spare.

IMG_2012His second DVD is Burgers and Fries. I took the curry burger template variation to create part of the ‘meat’ filling for one hand pie. The basic ingredients of kidney beans, oats, brown rice, and a tomato product such as sauce or diced, plus garbanzo beans, sweet potato, and a curry spice blend are mashed together and formed into patties and cooked for several minutes on each side. These patties are delicious and every time I make them they’re gone within hours!IMG_2015

I had cooked up a bunch of Yukon gold potatoes a couple days prior, so I took these and rough mashed before loosely incorporating with the baked (or grilled) burger patties. This is where you can add some thin sliced, steamed greens or frozen, thawed veggies like peas to the filling.

IMG_2018They take less than ten minutes to make but you need to have pre-cooked rice and sweet potatoes…you can put these in your steamer together by placing the rice below in water and potatoes in the basket on top and cook together.

For the second dessert variation

 I sauteed (in 3 Tb water) three peeled, chopped apples with a handful of raisins,

2 TB brown sugar,

and 1 TB Pumpkin Pie Spice for about five minutes or until IMG_2010apples become soft and release their juices.

Then I added two small peeled sweet potatoes and stirred together for a thick, sweet filling.

But what to do about the crust? I do love making a crust, just not all the time…and the Filo dough product, particularly the whole grain type I can find at Whole Foods, is super easy to work with and makes the perfect gift wrapping for a warm filling. I did not follow the instructions and spray oil on each sheet, seemed excessive. I took three sheets, put filling in the center and folded in half once,IMG_2020

folded up one side,

tucked the other side under,

IMG_2021then added a cummerbund around the middle to tidy things up a bit. 

Pop into a 350 oven for 20 minutes.

The dessert pies needed nothing extra and I wish I had made more!

The savory pies stay warm beautifully and pair well with mango chutney or jalapeno ketchup for an added kick. I liked the crust even better today when it softened a bit and lost the delicate paper texture. Hand pies are great for travel and feel special when compared to a traditional sandwich.