Ham, Cheddar, Butternut Squash, and Green Chilies Wrapped in Flaky Sour Cream Pastry.
Applewood smoked ham, sharp cheddar cheese, butternut squash, and spicy green chilies wrapped in pastry that’s nearly as buttery and flaky as a croissant.
This is the type of appetizer/ party food that you can also make a meal out of. Hand pies, naturally, are easily eaten with your hands, requiring nothing more than a cocktail napkin. They are also an excellent addition to a buffet table spread with a variety other small plate style dishes. They make an impressive appetizer for dinner party guests and a welcome addition to Sunday morning brunch. Or, pile two or three on a plate with a salad or sautéed veggies, and you have an entire meal.
What I’m saying is this: After making these for one thing, you might want to make them for everything.
Let’s Talk Pastry.
A while back, I read that adding sour cream to pastry dough creates a super flaky baked crust, a claim I was skeptical about, but curious enough to give it a go, and happy to discover that it’s completely true. This recipe creates pastry so flaky it’s croissant like. I’m a fan, and have already started using it in other recipes – like Apple Butter and Pastry Cream Hand Pies.
When you’re making it, you’ll think the dough is too wet and be tempted to add more flour. Restrain yourself. Just wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that it’s very cold. When rolling it out, make sure to use plenty of flour so that it doesn’t stick to everything. It’s also important to refrigerate the assembled pies for at least an hour before baking them so that the dough is cold when you put it in the oven.
Let’s Talk Ham and Cheese.
Ham and cheese is always a good idea as long as it’s good ham and good cheese. I used an applewood smoked variety, but use whatever you like as long as it’s good quality and flavorful.
I really like sharp cheddar cheese in these hand pies. The other filling ingredients are richly flavorful and mild cheddar will just get lost in there. As with the ham, use a cheese that’s tasty enough you won’t be able to help yourself from snaking on a piece or two.
Butternut Squash and Green Chilies
These savory little pies would be perfectly delicious made with only ham and cheese. The butternut squash and green chilies are a kind of gilding the lily, but in the best possible way. Leave them out, and no one will know what they’re missing. Add them in, and everyone will think you are a hand pie genius. They are the kind of ingredients that add layers of flavor you didn’t know you needed until you taste them.
Add some veggies, and you have a meal
Pie for dinner? Yes, please. Add a salad or some sautéed veggies and make a meal of these little ham and cheese hand pies. Sautéed vegetables are a quick and easy way to add vegetables to a meal. The trick is to slice them uniformly and then cook them quickly in a very hot pan with a minimal amount of oil. Quickly sautéed broccoli with a dash or two of crushed red pepper is a favorite at our house, but use whatever veggies strike your fancy.
Used in this recipe:
- 4 & 1/2-inch round pastry cutter from this Double Sided Round Cutter Set
Meal Plans that Include Ham and Cheese Hand Pies with Butternut Squash and Green Chilies:Print
For the Pastry:
- ½ cup sour cream (full fat)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup ice water
- 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
For the Hand Pie Filling:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 8–10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- One small butternut squash (1-2 lbs)
- 5 oz. ham, diced (about 1 generous cup)
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
- 4 oz (about 3/4 cup) diced green chilies (if canned, drain the chilies)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
Make the pastry:
- Add the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and ice water to a measuring cup and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea sized pieces of butter scattered throughout.
- Pour the sour cream mixture into the bowl, and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and gently squeeze together with your hands just until it forms a cohesive dough; do not not overwork the dough.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Make the Filling, Assemble, and Bake the Hand Pies:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Put the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook the butter until it is golden brown; watch carefully – you want the butter to brown but not burn. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh sage leaves.
- Slice the peel from the butternut squash and remove the seeds from the center. Cut the squash into small cubes – about 1/2-inch thick. Add the cubes to a bowl, pour the sage butter over the top and toss to coat the squash in the butter.
- Spread the squash out onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Roast in the preheated oven until the squash is very tender, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes. Let the squash cool before using in the hand pies.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator.
- Roll the dough out to an 1/4-inch thickness on a floured work surface. This is a sticky dough; flour the surface of the dough and the work surface as necessary to keep it from sticking. Using a large 4 & ½-inch round pastry cutter, cut out as 12 circles, re-rolling the scraps as necessary. (Can also use a wide rimmed drinking glass.)
- Lay the circles on the parchment lined baking sheet and distribute the cheese, ham, green chilies, and butternut squash amongst the pastry circles, layering the ingredients on one side of the circles. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half moon shape, press the edges together gently with your fingers, then press the edges together with the tongs of a fork to seal.
- Cover the pies loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and teaspoon of milk. Remove the pies from the refrigerator and brush the tops of the pies with the egg mixture, using a pastry brush.
- Bake the pies for 35-40 minutes, turning the sheet around in the oven about halfway through baking, until the crust is golden.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Frick’s Meats and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. While I was not compensated for my time, I did receive free product samples. As always, all opinions are my own.0