I have a make-ahead recipe for St. Patrick’s Day, Beef Hand Pies with Cheddar-Stout Crust! The key ingredients for the crust and a little taste of Ireland are Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese and Guinness Stout, but you could use any stout or cheese of your choice.
You can make all or parts of these hand pies ahead. Make the filling up to three days ahead and the dough 24 hours in advance and/or assemble these hand pies completely, freeze, and then pull out to bake on a busy week night or enjoy for St. Patrick’s Day!
(One recipe will yield (5) 6″ circles dough or 5 hand pies. I made two batches.)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
6 to 7 tablespoons stout beer
1 large egg, lightly beaten with water for egg wash
Beef Hand Pie Filling Ingredients
This amount of filling will give you 15 -20 hand pies depending on the size. You can bake any left over filling in a ramekin or bowl and top with dough for a quick pot pie if you prefer. Adjust the filling ingredients to your taste, adding cabbage, leeks, or mashed potatoes instead of diced.
1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin/beef
4 -6 small potatoes, cooked and diced (I used baby Yukon golds, not need to peel)
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
½ cup beef stock
½ cup stout beer (substitute beef stock if you prefer)
2 TBSP flour
12 ounce bag frozen peas and carrots, partially thawed
2 – 3 TBSP tomato paste
1 TBSP fresh thyme
2 TBSP Worcestershire
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions for filling:
Sauté the onion in oil until soft. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add tomato paste and stir into beef. Add stock to meat mixture, flour, and Worcestershire. Cook 5 minutes on low, add potatoes, peas and carrots. Bring back to a simmer, add thyme. Mix well and add additional seasoning if needed. Spread out to cool quickly if making pies the same day, otherwise put in container and cool. Cover and store until ready to use. May be frozen at this point for later use or stored for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Pulse the flour and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and cheese and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with some pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 6 tablespoons beer and pulse to combine. Squeeze the dough between your fingers; if it does not hold its shape, pulse in up to 1 more tablespoon beer. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
To make these savory hand pies, I used my Nordic Ware pocket pie press I’ve had for several years that I used to make Peach Hand Pies and Scary Hand Pies. You can still find one online from Amazon, here,or usea bowl as a template to trace around and cut a circle of dough for your pies, crimping the edges of your pies with a fork to seal them. My pie press cuts 6″ circles of dough.
Unwrap refrigerated dough and roll out on a floured surface. Using back of pie press, cut circle out of pastry dough. Lightly dust pie press with flour. Place dough circle onto top of crimped side of pie press, pressing dough circle down slightly in center.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling onto indented portion of pastry circle. Using a pastry brush, brush edges of pastry circle with egg wash. Place pies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Cut small slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.
Make ahead and freeze for an easy week night meal or St. Patrick’s Day. Follow directions as above, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with salt and spread pies out on a baking sheet to freeze, then wrap them well to store in the freezer. Pull them out from the freezer and bake frozen, no need to thaw. Baking from frozen will take a few more minutes. Cover crust with foil to prevent overbrowning if needed.