On every large and small farm there is always much work to do before the first snowflakes fall. This time of year I’m spending a lot of time outside putting the gardens to bed, winterizing the chicken coop, stocking the root cellar and finishing up an outdoor tree office.
Since the days are getting shorter, my conscience isn’t a fan of me taking long breaks. To help power through the outdoor chores in this now flannel weather, I’ve been consuming a lot of pie, specifically meat pies. I’ve really been enjoying the convenience of hand pies, and I’m hoping I can convince you to make a few yourself. You can make a ton up ahead of time, slide them into your flannel coat pocket and let your body heat from the labor re-warm it up ;)
I’ve also been falling in love with this new chef's knife by Artisan Revere. I’m not one to hock other peoples wears unless I really believe in them, I’m amazed at how well this knife keeps an edge and almost weighs nothing. I highly recommend them, check it out.
MUSTARD + APPLE BRAISED PORK HANDPIE
yield: 4 handpies
1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick, 112 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold
1 egg lightly beating with 1 tablespoon of water
2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ pound ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 honey crisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
8 oz of beer, preferably ale
8 oz good quality stock
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
TO PREPARE CRUST
Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor until combined.
Add half the butter and pulse until the butter resembles peas. Add remaining butter repeat.
Add the water a tablespoon at a time and pulse until the dough just becomes tacky (take your time here and don't add too much water. You should be able to pick a mound of dough up, squeeze it in your hand and form a ball.
Empty your dough (yes it will be crumbly at this stage on to a non floured work surface and lightly knead it into a ball. Gently compress into a disk, wrap in cling film of place into a ziplock (with as much air pressed out as you can so you dough doesn't oxidize and turn color) and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.
TO PREPARE THE FILLING
In a large skillet, heat oil. Add the pork, onion, garlic, and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add apple and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute more. Carefully pout in beer and reduce by half. Next, add the stock and allow to reduce by half, it really should be just a glaze. Remove pan from heat and stir in chopped sage. Let mixture cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
When ready, roll out dough to 1/8" thick square on a floured work surface, as large as you can. You may need to work the dough to bring it together. Separate your filling into quarters and start spooning the filling into 4 mounds, leaving a one inch space in between - only portion out the filling on half of the sheet of dough, we will be folding the other half over like a blanket. In a small bowl, beat your egg with the water. using a pastry brush, paint the egg mixture all around the filling - this is out glue. Next, carefully fold the dough over the the filling, joining both edges (if your dough is sticking, don't panic. Use a spatular to carefully lift). Gently press down on your mounds to flatted and spread out evenly. Next, work out any air pockets around the "seams", we want to them to be air tight to hold in the liquid as it cooks. Use a pastry cutter, or a knife, to cut your handles into rectangles. Again, make sure your seams are sealed. Cut a few vents in to top of the pastry and brush will the remaining egg wash.
Transfer pies to a cookie sheet and bake until crust is browned and filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Let rest until room temperature.
Photography: Emily Carlotta