Tag Archives: unsalted butter

Steak Hand Pies

4 inch left, 3 inch right 4 inch pies left and 3 inch pies right

This is a second recipe from Baked In Vermont (Gesine Bullock-Prado) from the Food Network channel. I think these are an excellent idea and work well, but I would recommend a few changes.

Steak Hand Pies

Courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado
Food Network’s Baked in Vermont series


  • 4 ounces beef tenderloin, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium potato, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 batch “Part Butter / Part Shortening Easy Pie Dough” chilled, see below
  • 1 large egg whisked with 2 Tablespoons water, for the egg wash


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, flour and paprika. Stir to combine. Add the thyme, garlic, potato, onion and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Divide one portion of the chilled pie dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round about 3 inches in diameter. You may use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut each round and even the edges if you desire. Repeat with the second piece of chilled dough.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Brush each round of dough with the egg wash. Divide the filling among the rounds, piling it in the middle of each round. Bring the sides of the dough up to meet in the middle and gently crimp the edges down in the center. Cut 3 small slits into each hand pie to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the pies with egg wash.
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Part Butter/Part Shortening Easy Pie Dough Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, cold, plus more for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces and chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • 4 Tablespoons shortening, chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Part Butter/Part Shortening Easy Pie Dough Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening until the mixture resembles cornmeal but there are still pea-sized chunks of fat.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the ice water and lemon juice. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture pulsing until the dough just comes together. Squeeze a small piece of dough between you thumb and index finger to make sure it holds its shape
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it ni half. Gently turn over each piece of dough a few times so that any dry bits are incorporated. Form each piece into a loose disk, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

I felt the making of the pie dough in the food processor was not as good as I would like. Some of the dough stuck to the bottom under the blade and other parts of the dough seemed to stay dry. So I looked for a better recipe, and found a pie dough recipe by Alton Brown. Surprise! It too uses the food processor! However, it is much more detailed and doesn’t just dump the ice water into the processor. I imagine that Gesine used that as a basic recipe but tried to make it simpler. I have yet to try Alton’s recipe myself. Alton’s recipe needs to be doubled in order to provide as much dough as Gesine’s recipe.
I also decided that I liked 4-inch circles for the pies better than the 3-inch circles; I couldn’t get enough filling in the 3-inch circles and still get them to close. If you recheck the recipe, Gesine never says you need to cut a true circle; that is one of the reasons she divides the dough into 8 parts and rolls each out separately. I would just as soon require a circle cookie cutter and roll the whole disk of dough out as a single flat piece to then cut with the cookie cutters.

In the making of the filling, I felt there was a problem getting everything chopped/minced to the same size. I think that next time I might use a food grinder for the meat, potato and onion. A long time ago, Mom made hash about once every couple weeks and I would turn the handle on the manual food grinder for her. Now, my food grinder is connected to the stand mixer.
Another concern about the filling is that the recipe uses medium size potato and onion. Since I always end up with more filling that I can use in the amount of dough in the recipe, I have to assume that the potatoes and onions we get are bigger than those in Vermont. I tried weighing the amount of each of those before mincing / grating, and it appeared to be about 2 ounces each. I could get about a Tablespoon of filling in my 4 inch pies, and with luck, I got a total of 10 4-inch pies from the recipe of dough. I used guides and rolled the dough to 1/4 inch thick before cutting the circles.

Overall, the recipe is a good starting point for hand pies. I now have told you some of the ways I would change it to make it mine. I hope you enjoy the hand pies as much as I and my test group did.

Cheese Puffs

The Food Network channel had a new chef for a while with a show called ‘Baked in Vermont’. There were some interesting recipes, and I saved a couple to try, and I found places where the recipes made assumptions. I decided that I should publish the recipe with the thoughts I had about the assumptions. The first recipe was for Cheese Puffs.

This recipe is one of many variations on Pate a Choux. That is the pastry that is used for all sorts of things like cream puffs. To make the Cheese Puffs, you add hard cheeses to the dough before baking.

Once I established in my mind that this is a basic pate a choux recipe, I decided to look around at variations to see how important it is to follow this particular version. I don’t think it is important; if you have a recipe, there is one check to make and then you can probably use your recipe. That check is the measure of flour. I found that most of the recipes used 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour. The variations are in the amount of butter, and sugar which I think is a wash.

So, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, then plan on adding 1.5 cups of grated hard cheese after you add the eggs and get them into the dough. This recipe calls for 1 cup of sharp Cheddar and 1/2 cup of Gruyere.

If you have never made a pate a choux before, this recipe is fairly good and you could stop before adding the cheeses to use the recipe for another purpose.

heese Puffs

Recipe courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado and Food Network


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan containing 1/2 cup of water, add the milk, butter, sugar and salt. Stir over low heat until the sugar, butter and salt have all melted. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a healthy simmer.
  3. Take from the heat and immediately add all the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, is smooth and no flour lumps remain. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring, careful not to scrape up the film, for a minute or two more.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer. Mix for a minute to dissipate some of the heat. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer running. Pay attention to the consistency of the paste. It should be smooth and shiny, so you may only need 3 of the eggs.
  5. Fold in the cheeses
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop generous mounds onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them an inch apart. Place in the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese puffs are golden brown.

Okay, here are some of the thoughts I had on the recipe. The original recipe put the cooked flour into a food processor for adding the eggs. When I did that, the second egg caused the knife blade to rise and come off the spindle. I decided to try using the stand mixer for adding the eggs and it worked well- so I changed that part of the recipe.

I used my silicon mats the second time I made the recipe and they work as well as the parchment paper. I have used both my #50 scoop and my very small scoop (#128?) and both work well. I cooked the smaller size puffs for a full 25 minutes and the larger size could probably used a minute of two more. I tried to cook that pan at the same time as the last pan of small puffs, and there seemed to be a problem in not rotating the pans halfway through. The top pan shielded the bottom pan and so they were not as well done as I would have liked.

Several of the recipes I found overheat the oven before cooking the pate a choux as does this recipe. I found that the overheating in a modern oven seems unnecessary. I tried using a preheat temperature of 375 degrees F, and there was no problem. The puffs did puff up and cook as I wanted them to cook. The shell of the puff hardens with cooking and they keep the puffed shape nicely.