Happy (belated) Easter!
Bill was sick yesterday so we mainly just stayed home, but I couldn’t resist making some Easter brunch-like treats to celebrate the occasion.
(What I really wanted to do was dye eggs a la naturale, but I didn’t have the ingredients, and really, dying eggs should be more than a one-person activity.)
I had seen this post on spoonforkbacon.com a couple days ago, and I was pretty psyched to get going on some awesome hand pies. As Karla has mentioned, I’m way into baking pies, so I was excited to try my hand at some little hand pies. Now, Spoon Fork Bacon calls these “Quiche Pockets” which sounds great, but I thought I would expand this title, because you could fill these with ANYTHING. I added some kale to their cheese, eggs, and ham, but you could also skip the ham and make them vegetarian, or just skip the egg entirely and make them more like spinach or meat empanadas.
I used my handy-dandy food processor to make this process a whole lot better. I always use it for making flaky pie crust and similar kinds of dough. Karla and I once tried to make pie dough just using two knives (the old fashioned way…) which was a SUPER pain. If you don’t have one of these, I seriously recommend pushing it to the top of your kitchen wish list. I literally use mine at least once a week for something or other. Even though I have a semi-broken, incredibly heavy and hard to move, aged version, it’s still one of my favorite kitchen “toys,” along with the cast iron skillet and dutch oven, and my mandoline (thanks K!)
Speaking of kitchen toys, I just wanted to reiterate that I really really need some round cookie cutters.
These guys were a cinch to put together. I was worried about how crimping the edges would work, but it was very intuitive and came out looking beautiful! You might notice I used a mix of white and wheat flours. I almost always do this when I’m working with doughs. I use about 1/3 wheat flour at most. This way it doesn’t affect the dough rising too much, and it’s not too overpowering a flavor, if I don’t want it. Of course, if I’m making something totally foreign to me, I use the recommended dough, just to make sure I get it right the first time.
So Happy Easter, Happy Spring, and enjoy these hand pies!
Quiche Pockets by Spoon Fork Bacon
Makes 14 to 16
flaky pie crust (dough):
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup smoked ham, diced
1 yellow onion, lightly caramelized
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whole milk
2 ounces gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
black pepper-mornay sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
4 to 5 ounces gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. For pie dough: Place flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add butter and cut into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry knife until a fine mealy texture forms. Add water, one
tablespoon at a time, mixing, until the dough just comes together. Form dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
2. For filling: Place ham and onions into a small mixing bowl and toss together. Add eggs and milk and mix together. Fold in cheeses until fully incorporated. (you should have more of a loose paste texture, instead of a runny filling).
Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use.
3. To assemble: Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll chilled dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Roll until slightly thinner than 1/8 inch thick . Cut out 4 inch circles, using a circle cutter, and fill the center of each circle with
1-2 tablespoons of filling. Continue until all of the dough and filling have been used. (For egg wash: In a small mixing bowl beat together 1 egg and 2 tablespoon water.) Brush egg wash around the edge of each circle and fold together. Egg wash the sealed seam and starting from one edge push the seam over and squeeze the dough slightly. Use the dough you have squeezed and fold it over the seam again. Continue squeezing and folding until you have crimped the entire seam of the quiche pocket. Place pockets onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment, and pierce the top of each to allow steam to escape, while baking. Place pockets in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Brush the tops with remaining egg wash and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and the filling has set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
4. For mornay sauce*: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over surface and whisk together for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk and whisk together until no lumps remain and the mixture is thick enough to coast the back of a spoon. Toss cheeses in lemon juice and whisk into the béchamel sauce. Continue to whisk until no lumps remain. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Serve as a dipping sauce for quiche pockets.
*A note on the Mornay: I didn’t think I was going to make this sauce, because it seemed oh-so-decadent, but I decided to try it after biting into one of the pies and deciding it could use some more cheese. It was totally worth it. Plus, you can refrigerate it for a few days, which is great if you realize that you made way too many (cough… like me) and decide you need to freeze them and eat them slowly over the next week. Yum!