Spring picnics with savory hand pies

Sidonie Maroon kitchen to kitchen
Posted 5/29/24

The Joy of Hand Pies


Perfect for picnics, hand pies are a global phenomenon, celebrated for their portability and the element of surprise they offer with each bite. From the Calzone …

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Spring picnics with savory hand pies


The Joy of Hand Pies


Perfect for picnics, hand pies are a global phenomenon, celebrated for their portability and the element of surprise they offer with each bite. From the Calzone of Italy to the Samosa of India, every culture has its unique take.

In England, pasties were a staple for miners, providing a hearty, easy-to-carry meal encased in a sturdy crust. In India, samosas filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and meat are ubiquitous as street food, offering a quick, flavorful snack.


A Rainbow of
Savory Pie Fillings


•Sautéed zucchini with basil, tomato, and mozzarella

•Roasted beets and arugula with chèvre

•Puréed carrots with thyme and tofu

•Roasted cauliflower, onions, and dill with tahini and lemon

•Leeks and endive with mustard and fromage blanc

•Cilantro, cabbage, garlic, onions, peas, carrots, potato, and yogurt with Indian spices

•Parsnip, parsley, brown sugar, onions, and sharp cheddar

•Cherry tomatoes, fingerlings, cipollini onions, and spinach with pesto


Diversity Matters


The shape of a pie can influence its taste and texture, much like pasta shapes affect the dining experience. The triangular shape of Fatayer is not just visually appealing but also ensures an even distribution of filling in every bite.


World Hand Pies


•Aloo pies are a popular Trinidadian street food, featuring a soft, fried dough filled with spiced mashed potatoes, often seasoned with cumin, garlic, and hot peppers.

•Originating from Italy, calzones are folded pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ricotta, and various meats or vegetables. Baked to perfection, they are a portable version of pizza.

•Bedfordshire clangers are traditional English pastries with a unique twist–one end is filled with a savory filling like pork and apple, while the other end is sweet, often filled with fruit preserves.

•Bisteeya, also known as pastilla, this Moroccan pie is a flaky, layered pastry filled with spiced meat (usually pigeon or chicken), almonds, and eggs, all dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

•Bougatsa is a Greek pastry made with phyllo dough, typically filled with semolina custard, minced meat, or cheese. It’s enjoyed as a breakfast item or a snack.

•Originating from Forfar, Scotland, bridies are like Cornish pasties. They’re filled with minced beef, onions, and sometimes rutabaga, all encased in a flaky pastry.

•Bundevara, a Serbian pie, is a delightful treat made with thin layers of dough filled with grated pumpkin, sugar, and spices, offering a sweet and savory flavor profile.

•Burek is a beloved Turkish pastry made with thin layers of dough (yufka) and filled with various ingredients like cheese, minced meat, or spinach, then baked until golden and crispy.

•Curry Puff Malaysian pastries are filled with a flavorful mixture of curried potatoes, chicken, and onions, and are baked or deep-fried to a crispy finish.

•Empanadas are versatile hand pies found throughout South America, with fillings ranging from beef, chicken, and cheese to sweet options like dulce de leche.

•Hornazo is a Spanish meat pie from Salamanca, typically filled with pork loin, chorizo, and hard-boiled eggs, encased in a slightly sweet dough.

•Karelian Finnish pastries feature a thin rye crust filled with rice porridge or mashed potatoes. They are often served with egg butter (munavoi).

•Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian cheese bread, with a boat-shaped dough filled with a mixture of cheese, eggs, and butter, creating a rich and gooey center.

•Known as the “king of pies,” Kurnik is a Russian pie filled with layers of chicken, mushrooms, rice, and hard-boiled eggs, all wrapped in a decorative, flaky pastry.

•Samosas are triangular pastries filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat. They are popular in many regions, including Africa, India, and the Middle East, and are usually deep-fried until crispy.


Main Recipe

Fatayer: Wild Greens Pies


Fatayer, a Lebanese hand pie, is a fabulous culinary creation stuffed with meat or greens and cheese. This savory hand pie is popular in Lebanon. I stumbled upon Fatayer while leafing through my cookbook collection and found inspiration in “Moro,” a cookbook from the renowned English restaurant run by Sam and Sam Clark.

Their Fatayer recipe uses a yeasted wheat dough filled with pumpkin, garlic, feta, and pine nuts. While this combination sounds perfect for fall, it was the amazing photograph of the triangular hand pie that caught my attention. I immediately wanted to make this shape using pizza dough.


1 batch pizza dough of choice

5 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups packed chopped greens (kale, chard, or spinach)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup sheep feta, crumbled

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped

¼ cup raisins, made into a paste

1/3 cup green olives, chopped

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon spice mix (recipe follows)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


Spice Mix:

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon dried ginger

1 teaspoon white peppercorns

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes

3 dried bay leaves, crushed


1. Prepare the Pizza Dough: Divide the dough into 8 evenly sized balls. Roll the balls into 6-inch rounds or press them in a tortilla press lined with parchment paper. Set the rounds aside on parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Prepare the Filling: Sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the greens, cover with a lid, and cook down for 3-5 minutes. Strain any excess liquid and let cool. Mix in feta, eggs, herbs, raisins, spice mix, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, and olives.

3. Assemble and Bake: Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each dough round. Pinch two sides together and bring the third side up to form a triangular shape. Seal the edges well. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.