Homemade side-dish heaven with an assist from the best-ever pie dough recipe.
If you have picky eaters who don’t like their vegetables, I promise they’ll become spinach lovers after one bite of these! Prep a batch of these any time and bake off only what you plan to serve. Freeze the rest and grab one whenever you crave another . . . which will probably be as soon as you finish the first one!
Equipment: food processor or large mixing bowl; cutting board; chef's knife; mesh strainer or colander; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large mixing bowl; rubber spatula; spoon; parchment paper or silicone baking sheets; sheet pans; rolling pin; pastry brush; offset spatula; cooling rack
Dough Ingredients: 2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cup (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter 1/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons heavy cream (for brushing)
Filling Ingredients: 2, 10 oz. boxes of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ground white (or black) pepper
1. First, prepare the dough:
By hand: Combine the flour, kosher salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks, then cut each tablespoon into quarters. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and squeeze the butter with the tips of your fingers, working it into the flour, until the fat is the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the mixture and continue working the dough with your fingers until all that fat and flour is incorporated and the dough comes together in a large ball. Gather the dough, form it into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Refrigerate for at least one hour up to overnight.
In the food processor: Combine the flour, kosher salt, and sugar in a food processor set with the the dough blade for 10 seconds. Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks and scatter over the flour mixture (while the machine is off). Very carefully pulse in 3-second intervals until the fat is the size of peas. With the machine turned off, drizzle the water over the mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form into small balls. If the dough will come together when pressed with your fingers, gather the dough, form it into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. If not, drizzle a bit more ice water over the dough and pulse again. Refrigerate for at least one hour up to overnight.
2. Now make the filling. Strain the defrosted chopped spinach in a mesh strainer colander, to release any excess liquid; squeeze until dry. In a mixing bowl, combine the strained spinach, cheeses, beaten egg, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Set aside.
3. Once the dough has chilled sufficiently so that you can handle it, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.
Chill Your Counter When Working with Dough and a Rolling Pin
"ILOC tip: Dough can warm so quickly on the counter, especially when being handled. One of the easiest ways to keep your dough cool for easy rolling/cutting/shaping is to chill first the counter, especially if your counter is made of stone. Place some ice cubes in a mixing bowl or on a rimmed sheet pan (preferably metallic for speedy cooling) and set on your work surface. After a few minutes the area will be chilled and ready for some action! It’s all about technique, not torture."
4. Place the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll to a large rectangle of ¼-inch thickness. Using a chef's knife, cut the dough into 8 equal portions.
5. Drop equal 1/8 portions of filling on the bottom half of each piece of dough, leaving an ample rim to seal the sides. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the seam around the edge of the hand pie, using a fork, to seal the "top crust" to the "bottom crust." Repeat until all the pies are sealed.
6. Brush the tops of the hand pies lightly with heavy cream. Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 hand pies.