spiced lamb hand pies
While I would love to pretend that I made these hand pies simply to display this gorgeous platter (our first actual wedding present!!!), that would be a lie. I would also like to pretend that I made them to pair with a fabulous Rioja that we opened up during a wine class with Elizabeth Schneider of Wine for Normal People--more lies. I really did it because the dough has two sticks of butter in it and butter is my favorite food.
I am what you might call "borderline inept" at dealing with dough. Sometimes I knock it out of the park and convince myself that I've finally woken up, Spiderman-style, with spider-given baking powers, and sometimes I throw everything in the trash and anger-drink wine about it. Happily, it's pretty easy to improve after just a few tries and I tell you this so that you will hopefully forget about how adept (or not) you are with handling dough, and make these anyway. I promise you they will work AND that you will not even care about what they look like.
That said, the dough is the first great thing about this recipe but hardly the last. I found it in an issue of Bon Appetit last year (I think it was the one with that caramelized garlic tart on the cover *heart emoji eyes*) and basically entered a fugue state in which I immediately drove to the store to pick up all ingredients, made them, and woke up a few hours later, eating these pies for dinner. That issue was bomb for several reasons, but what caught my eye about this was the bizarre-sounding flavor combination. Lamb, currants, ginger, cumin, and...turmeric...? I felt both frantically excited and violently afraid of a potential Icarus-style outcome in which I did not make it out alive, but my faith in the BA gods was strong, and my boldness was rewarded.
This will pair beautifully with any number of wines--Gamay is always a favorite of mine with lamb, and we also opened a lovely 2013 Juan Gil Jumilla during our class last night that was perfectly nice. However, I would strongly recommend a modern style Rioja with this, especially if you're like me and find Rioja only pleasant when paired with food (as opposed to drinking it on its own). I chose a 2011 Vina Real Crianza last night and had a real "yas kween" moment, so I feel comfortable saying that you need to run, not walk, to your nearest wine shop.
spiced lamb hand pies
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit; makes 4 large rectangles or 6 smaller
- 2 Tbsp white wine or apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- 3 Tbsp dried currants (or sub golden raisins, roughly chopped)
- 2 Tbsp EVOO
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen fire roasted)
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- AP flour, for dusting
- 1 egg, beaten
Boil the vinegar in a small saucepan, then remove from heat, add currants or golden raisins and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and hinting at translucence. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, cumin, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric. Stir and cook for a minute or two until incorporated (mash the tomato paste around with the back of a wooden spoon) and really fragrant. Add the lamb and cook, breaking it up with the back of your spoon, until it's cooked through and you can no longer see pink, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season again with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer (it's ok if you don't have enough liquid for a true simmer--you should see some tiny bubbles on the bottom of your pan and hear the sizzling). Stir in the peas and cook for about five minutes, until bright green, then add the currents and stir. Remove from heat and let cool. You can even make this a day or two ahead and refrigerate overnight.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350'. Line two half sheet pans with parchment or silicone baking mats and set aside. Working with one disc of dough at a time (see recipe below), roll out the dough on a floured surface to 12" squares. Cut each 12" square into four squares and transfer to the baking sheet (refrigerate it while you work with the next round of dough). Do the same with the second disc of dough (these will be what you use to top the pies). You can also make these smaller if you'd like (as I did above) and it will make more--just make sure you have an even number of equivalently sized dough pieces. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat it with a fork until combined; set aside.
Spoon the filling onto half of the dough cut outs, leaving 1/2" border all around. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush the borders with the egg wash and top with the remaining halves. Press the edges together and crimp with a fork. If your dough is getting soft and sticking to the fork, you can dip it in the egg wash and then crimp. Cut a vent in the top, and brush the tops with the remaining egg.
Bake until golden and your mouth is watering, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
all-butter pie dough
also from Bon Appetit
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (measure this!)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Pulse in all of the butter until it resembles a coarse meal, with pea-sized butter chunks still visible (about 15-20 pulses, NO MORE).
Combine the vinegar and 1/2 cup ice water in a measuring cup. Drizzle it in as you pulse the food processor a few times, just until the dough starts to come together. It should still be crumbly, so only hit that button--I'm serious--no more than 10 times.
Turn out the dough and pack it all together very gently, so that the little crumbs are all adhering. Do not knead or otherwise handle the dough if you can help it. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the wrap over once and use it to press the dough into a disk shape (neaten up the edges if you can, but don't touch the dough too much), then wrap it completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.