Christine Ferris of Christine Ferris Catering shares back to school lunch ideas inspired Holland Farmer's Market foods.
Flaky crust for pies (good for savory and sweet pies)
Adapted from LA Times
Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time
Servings: Enough dough for 6 handpies or 1 (9- to 10-inch) single-crust pie
Note: The recipe can easily be doubled to make 12 hand pies. If using a food processor, process one batch at a time, as most processors are not big enough to handle a double batch at once. The dough, with sugar, can be used for sweet or savory pies, as the sugar is not enough to noticeably sweeten the crust; however, it can be omitted if desired. The cider vinegar is used to help "shorten" the crust, improving the flaky texture. Though you might smell the vinegar as you roll the crust, you should not be able to taste or smell it in the finished pies.
2 1/4 cups (9.6 ounces) flour, unbleached all purpose
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup cold shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 1/4 teaspoons cider vinegar
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water, more if needed
To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and 4 tablespoons water over the mixture, and pulse a few times to form the dough, then a few more times just until the dough begins to clump together to form a cohesive dough. If the dough is too crumbly and dry, pulse in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough and mold it into a disk roughly 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Cover the disk tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Alternatively, to make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will look like moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and 4 tablespoons water over the mixture, and stir together until the ingredients are combined to form a dough. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until it comes together in a single mass. If the dough is too crumbly and dry, gently work in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mold the dough into a disk roughly 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Cover the disk tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Each of 6 servings: 385 calories; 5 grams protein; 37 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 24 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 41 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 390 mg sodium.
Peach Ginger Hand Pies
Makes 6-8 handpies
1 pound of perfectly ripe peaches
3 tablespoons sugar
½ tea fresh grated ginger and or 2 TB candied ginger, minced
2 tablespoons flour
Extra sugar for sprinkling
Make the pie dough according to your recipe, dividing it into two disks and refrigerating for an hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Peel the peaches (see note below) and dice small. Combine the peaches, lemon juice, sugar, ginger, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Let macerate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the pie crusts.
Bring out one disk of pie dough and let it sit on a flour-dusted counter for a few minutes until it's no longer rock solid. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick - slightly thicker than a normal pie crust. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter or wide-mouth drinking glass to cut as many circles as possible. Gather the scraps, re-roll, and cut additional circles. If your kitchen is very warm and the dough beginning to soften, chill the circles for 10 minutes before proceeding.
Roll each circle of dough out to 1/8" thick and about 5" wide. Dust lightly with flour and transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. It's ok if the circles overlap. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
While the dough circles are chilling, strain the peaches. Set a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the peaches into it, allowing the excess juice to drain away. Save the leftover juice for mixing with sparkling water or cocktails. Return the peaches to their original bowl and add the flour, sugar and ginger, tossing to coat.
Remove the tray of dough circles from the refrigerator. Working one circle at a time, place 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of peaches on the front edge of the circle, leaving about a 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges with a little milk and fold the top half of the dough over the peaches. Use the tines of a fork to gently seal the edges. Repeat with remaining dough circles.
Arrange the pies at least an inch apart on the baking sheet. Cut a few small slits in the top of each pie with a knife, brush the tops with milk, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Don't worry if some of the filling leaks out.
While the first batch of pies are baking, roll, chill, and shape the second batch using the second disk of pie dough.
Allow the pies to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Hand pies are best the day they are made, but will keep in a sealed container for up to a week.
• Peeling Peaches - Firm peaches can be peeled with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Softer peaches are best peeled by dunking them in boiling water for 45-60 seconds. The peels will slip off easily with a paring knife.
• Short-Cut Hand Pies - Sheets of frozen puff pastry are a great pastry alternative when you're not in the mood for making your own pie dough from scratch.
• Freezing Pies for Later - Freeze the hand pies in a single layer on a baking sheet right after shaping them and cutting the steam vents. Once frozen solid, they can be gathered together and stored in a freezer container. To bake, arrange the frozen pies an inch apart on a baking sheet, brush them with milk and sprinkle them with sugar. Bake as directed. These pies my need a few extra minutes in the oven, but not much. They are done when the tops and edges are golden-brown.
Savory Summery Hand pies
1 cup finely chopped roasted chicken
3/4 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese, or cream cheese
1/2 cup corn, cut off the cob
1 carrot, diced
¼ cup red pepper, diced
¼ cup onion, diced (white or green)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
6 pie pastry circles about 4"
1 large egg, beaten
Poppy seeds (optional)
1.) In a large sauté pan, melt a little butter with some oil olive. Add the corn, red pepper,carrot and onion and cook over medium high heat until softened.
2.) Season lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.
3.) Add this mixture to the mashed potatoes and cheese then stir until combined.
4.) Proceed to fill as in peach pie directions above.
5.) Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until light golden.
6.) Can be served with a side of chicken gravy, but this are quite tasty at room temperature too!
Note: Try using roast turkey, cooked ground turkey, cooked hamburger and substitute your child's favorite vegetables in place of the ones listed. Use mashed sweet potatoes for a fall variation.
Christine Ferris Catering
280 w. 12th Street
Holland, Mi 49423
Christine is a local chef living and working in Holland who owns a catering company ( Christine Ferris catering) which focuses on fresh local produce. We do everything from a farm to table dinner for 10 to 6 course weddings for 200 to buffets for 500, all using local in season ingredients.
My new project is a farm to table deli, which will be opening in Douglas in two weeks. It is located at 100 Blue Star Highway and we will focus on all Michigan meats, cheeses and produce.