Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicken and Yam Hand Pies

Hand Pies (meat pies or pasties)
Hand pies are a triangular shaped pastry with either a sweet or savory filling, formed by placing a dollop of filling onto a square piece of pastry then folded over and crimped shut to be either baked or deep-fried. Hand pies date back to the 19th-century England, where they were portable lunches for tin miners in Cornwall, located south-west of England . The pastry casing is known to be a convenient way to keep the filling warm and free of dirt where miners would hold the edges, eat the inside and discard the pastry when they were done.

The thought of throwing away the pastry seems nonsensical because it's part of the delicious experience! Perhaps the dough was made much tougher back then. Not in this recipe. I fell in love with it because it uses precooked filling ingredients (or left overs) and store-bought puff pastry for a q
uick and stress-free meal. The hand pies are so yummy, you can't have just one! Enjoy.

- 2 cups of leftover roasted yam or sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or 2% milk
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley
- coarse salt & ground pepper to taste
- all purpose flour for rolling
- 1 box of Tenderflake frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 cups of leftover roasted chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Did you know: Hand pies are a traditional meal in commonwealth countries and each country tends to have different crusts for their hand pies. In England the crust tends to be much lighter and flakier, like a puff pastry whereas Australia and New Zealand uses margarine rather than butter, giving the pies a different flavor.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl mash sweet potatoes with a fork and add cream, coriander, cumin and Italian parsley. Stir to combine and add salt & pepper to taste.

2. On a floured work surface, roll out puff pastry into two 12 inch squares, cut and divide into 8 squares. Divide sweet potato mixture among bottom halves of squares, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Top each with 1/4 cup chicken and few pieces of mozzarella the brush edges of squares with some egg. Fold top halves of squares over filling to make a triangle, then crimp edges with a fork. With a sharp knife, cut ventes in pastry and brush with remaining egg.

3. Transfer pies to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let pies cool for 10 minutes or serve at room temperature. So tasty!!!
Delicious Tip: Don't overfill hand pies, or they'll burst at the seams. Save any leftover filling for another use -- or another round of hand pies!
Recipe adapted by Martha Stewart's Everyday Food


  1. My great uncle was a miner and he used to eat these all the tim! PS - He agreed, the outer layer is the best part. I'm going to make this for my wife and kids tomorrow, going fishing. PS - Do you have a recipe for Salmon?

  2. Yes, I'll be posting my delicious but simple Asian inspired salmon recipe soon. Stay tuned, Andrew!!

  3. I can't wait for the Salmon recipe! Our family lives in Nanoose Bay and the fishing season is ending. We look forward to your post so we can try your recipe! PS - Can you please add your recipe on our "Recipe Exchange"? Just click on "Add Recipe". Thanks.