Whole Wheat/Cornmeal Savory Pie Crust makes 8 hand pies
(adjusted slightly from the NY Times)
1¾ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, minced (I used a combination of parsley, basil, and chives)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup water + 2 teaspoons lemon juice
egg wash made from 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, and herbs. Make a well in the center, add the olive oil and toss together with a fork until evenly distributed. Drizzle the water/lemon juice over the flour mixture, tossing together with your fingers just until the dough comes together. Don’t over mix. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust your hands with flour and lightly shape the dough into a smooth disc. (If you over work the dough, it will toughen the dough.) Divide the dough into two even discs, about ½” thick. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out. While the dough chills, prepare the filling.
For the filling-
You will need a generous 2 cups of cooked filling, ¼ cup per hand pie. I tend to comb through the fridge for odds and ends of vegetables, (nothing that will add too much liquid) a combination of greens, something sweet like carrots or sweet potatoes, fresh (or frozen) corn, and occasionally a handful of leftover cooked chicken.
Sauté 1 finely chopped small onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add 2 minced cloves of garlic, 3-4 cups of vegetables, cooked chicken (if using) and season with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Cook just until the vegetables are tender. Let the mixture cool completely before filling the hand pies. (If the filling has extra liquid, drain it in a mesh strainer.) Any leftover filling can be covered and refrigerated for an omelette or simply serve alongside the hand pies.
Line two half-sheet baking pans (13” x 18”) with parchment paper. Roll one circle of dough into an 11” square, ⅛” thick. Cut 4 five inch squares from the dough; transfer the squares to one of the parchment lined baking sheets. Repeat with the second circle of dough. Refrigerate one tray while you fill the first tray of pastry squares.
Place ¼ cup of filling in the center of each pastry square. (Do not over fill or the pies will be difficult to fold and seal.) Use a pastry brush to brush the border of each square with egg wash, then fold into triangles and use a fork to crimp the edges, or round them into more of a half-moon and decoratively crimp the edges. Once the pies are sealed, brush them with egg wash, use a fork to poke a few steam vents in each pie, and refrigerate. The filled pies should all fit on one half sheet. It’s a good idea to refrigerate them for 30 minutes before baking; this helps them hold their shape in the oven. Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 375 degrees F for 20-23 minutes, just until golden.
For the Buttermilk Gravy- makes 3 cups
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups buttermilk
salt and black pepper to taste
dash or two of your favorite hot sauce
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or cast-iron skillet, over low heat, sauté the butter and garlic until golden. Whisk in the flour until a smooth paste forms. Cook the ‘roux’ (butter/flour mixture) for a few minutes, stirring often. Gradually add the milk and buttermilk, whisking constantly. Simmer over medium heat until the gravy thickens, season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Serve with the hand pies. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.