Summer-fall hand pies: Mozzarella & tomato jam, Pear & smoky caramel

Mozzarella-tomato jam hand pies

Pie is problematic.

For one thing, it can be so many different things. It can be sweet, of course. But it can be savory, too.

If it’s sweet, is it filled with berries, apples, pears, plums, or rhubarb? Or maybe chocolate custard? Or peanut butter cream? Pecan, pumpkin? Ice cream?!

Pear-caramel hand pies

And on the savory side, we have everything from spinach pies to turkey pot pies to Scottish beef pies to fish pies to bean pies to shepherd pies to you-name-it pies. Where does it end?

Construction-wise, the options are daunting, too: top crust only, bottom crust only, both top and bottom? Flat top, lattice top, tiled top? Pie dough, cookie crumb, mashed potato, noodle? Round pie, square pie, rectangular pie, hand pie?

Hand pies - Cheese

I get a bit overwhelmed with options. I don’t thrive in a world of too many choices.

But here’s where pie is a comfort: it doesn’t matter what choice you make.

It doesn’t matter because pie is good no matter what.

Hand pies - Pears

Pie will be there for you. Pie will be made of whatever you have on hand, whatever you just picked at the farm stand, whatever’s left over in the refrigerator after a long week. If it’s a sweltering, muggy day and you want to cool off, pie can be cool with fresh fruit and mint and an ice cream sidecar. If it’s a cold and rainy and dismal day (as today happens to be), pie can be warm, steaming, and comforting.

This week has been a bit crazy. I really didn’t have time to think about pie. I looked around the kitchen and thought: what can be pie? The ball of fresh mozzarella volunteered first, followed by the jar of tomato jam.

Mozzarella-tomato jam hand pies

The pears hanging out in the apple bowl wanted to play, too. As did the smokey caramel sauce that’s been in the fridge for a few months.

Pear-caramel hand pies

Okay. Let’s make pie! Two types. Two shapes. One summery and savory, a play on caprese salad; the other sweet and smokey like an autumn evening in front of a bonfire.

Problem solved.

Now, look around your kitchen, your pantry, your fridge? What wants to be pie?

~~~~~~~~~~~
This month’s Let’s Lunch theme is (you guessed it) PIE! Take a look at the wonderful variety of pies the rest of the group has made.

Annabelle‘s Chocolate Pie at Glass of Fancy
Anne Marie‘s Apple Pie Sandwiches at Sandwich Surprise
Betty Ann‘s Calamansi Pie at Asian In America
Cheryl’s Mexican Cottage Pie at Tiger in a Kitchen
Grace‘s Easy Apple Pie with Lard Crust at HapaMama
Jill‘s Guava and Cream Cheese Empanadas at Eating My Words
Lisa‘s Sweet Ricotta Noodle Pie at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Linda‘s Biscoff Banana & Pear Galette at Spicebox Travels
Lucy‘s Sweet Potato Custard Pie at A Cook and Her Books 
Margaret‘s Cushaw (Squash) Pie at Tea and Scones, Too
Nancie‘s Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie at Nancie McDermott
Naomi‘s Huckleberry Pie Ice-Cream at The Gastro Gnome
Rebecca‘s Summer-Fall Hand Pies at GrongarBlog
Sara‘s Herb Pie from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s “Jerusalem” at Three Clever Sisters

Mozzarella-tomato jam hand pies

Yield: four to eight hand pies (depending on the size you choose to make)

  • 1/2 batch of pie dough (or 1/2 package of pre-made pie dough). For these pies, I used the “Flaky Butter Crust” recipe in one of my favorite baking books: Handheld Pies. (Note: Some people are afraid of making pie dough. If this is you, don’t worry. You can do this. Or, if you just don’t want to, feel free to use a pre-made dough from the grocery store. There are a lot of good ones out there. There’s no shame in using one. Most especially, because you will have pie and all sins are forgiven when you offer pie. It’s a scientific fact.)
  • 6 ounces (170 g) mozzarella cheese
  • 8-12 teaspoons of tomato jam (depending on how much you want to use) (Note: If you don’t have tomato jam, use whatever you like: hot sauce? pesto? sliced cherry tomatoes? You choose!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Slice and then chop the mozzarella into 1/4-inch cubes.
  4. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick.
  5. Use a knife or pizza wheel to cut squares. (I cut 6-inch squares. Cut the size you like.) Then cut each square in half diagonally to form two triangles.
  6. On each triangle, spread one teaspoon of tomato jam on one half of the triangle. Try to keep a clean border around the edge so that you can seal the pie.
  7. Add .5 ounces (15 g) of cheese to the jammy half.
  8. Fold the triangle in half, then seal and crimp the crust. Poke or slash the top crust to let steam escape.
  9. Put the pie on the prepared cookie sheet.
  10. Repeat for the remaining triangles.
  11. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Expect some cheese to leak out, unless you’re a master crimper (I’m not).
  13. Remove the pies from the sheet and let cool on a cooling rack, but only for as long as you like. It’s okay to eat these as hot as you can stand.

Pear-caramel hand pies

Yield: four to eight hand pies (depending on the size you choose to make)

  • 1/2 batch of pie dough (or 1/2 package of pre-made pie dough; see the note for tomato pies, above).
  • 2 large, firm pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey (adjust amount to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon (or any other pie spices you like: allspice, ginger, clove, etc.)
  • 4-8 teaspoons caramel sauce (use whatever caramel sauce you like, or, hey, how about chocolate sauce?)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado or other coarse sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Combine the chopped pears, sugar (or honey), vanilla, salt, and spices in a bowl and let sit until the pears are juicy, about 15 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick.
  5. Use a cookie cutter, bowl, or drinking glass to cut circles. (I cut 4.5-inch circles. Cut the size you like.) Each pie requires two circles, so make sure to cut an even number of circles.
  6. Put one teaspoon of caramel sauce in the center of a circle.
  7. Add about 2 tablespoons of the pear mixture (adjust as needed, depending on the size of your circle and your preference).
  8. Top the pie with another circle, then seal and crimp the crust. Poke or slash the top crust to let steam escape.
  9. Put the pie on the prepared cookie sheet.
  10. Repeat for the remaining circles.
  11. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
  12. Brush each pie with milk, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly golden.
  14. Remove the pies from the sheet and let cool on a cooling rack.

19 thoughts on “Summer-fall hand pies: Mozzarella & tomato jam, Pear & smoky caramel

  1. Pingback: {Let’s Lunch} Don’t forget PIE…… | Tea and Scones, Too

  2. Pingback: September = Apple Pie Sandwich Time | sandwich surprise!

  3. How adorable. The problem with a big pie is you feel like you need to have a crowd to share it with. These look perfect for snacking!

  4. Oh my, I am sooo glad this post is for two pies. I read mozzarella, tomato jam, pears, and caramel sauce and got very nervous about that pie! lol They both sound delicious – you are so clever!

  5. Pingback: Biscoff Banana and Pear Galette | spicebox travels

  6. Okay, those little hand pies are really cute. I, however, live with guys…and I would need to make a hundred of those to go around on a game day for just a few guys, because everyone knows that everything tastes good as a pie! Nice job on those.

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