A slice of pie, be it savoury or sweet, is one of the first things you’ll think of when you want comfort and food together. Thinking about buttery crust melded with warm filling just makes my mouth water. A whole pie fresh out of the oven is undeniably enticing. Its mini version, like this tuna hand pie, is equally delectable.
A hand pie is also known as empanada in other regions, derived from the Spanish word empanar, which means wrapped in bread. Round pieces of dough are filled with ground meat, cheese, or mushrooms then baked or fried. The best part is you can be creative with these hand pies and seal them with different crimped edges so you’ll know what’s inside each tasty parcel.
This tuna hand pie recipe yields about 24 pieces and is perfect for making a stash of make-ahead snacks you can store in the freezer. We’re sharing some simple crimping ideas but feel free to experiment. Serve these creamy tuna hand pies to entertain guests, pack them for school or work, or place them in a box and hand them out as gifts.
- Digital kitchen scale
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment
- Mixing bowls
- Egg separator
- Dough scraper
- Plastic wrap
- Chopping board
- Chef’s knife
- Saute pan
- Wooden spoon or silicone spatula
- Rolling pin
- Pocket maker or round cookie cutter
- Spoon and fork
- Baking sheet
- Pastry brush
- Parchment paper
- Cooling rack
- 375g cake flour plus extra for dusting
- 188g unsalted butter
- 62g granulated sugar
- 4g salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 94g water
- 1 whole egg plus a teaspoon of water (egg wash)
- 15g unsalted butter
- 15g vegetable oil
- 30g white onion, diced into small cubes
- 30g carrot, peeled and diced into small cubes
- 15g celery, diced into small cubes
- 310g tinned or cooked flaked tuna, drained
- 188g thickened cream
- 150g cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To make your pie dough, combine the cake flour, butter, sugar, and salt in the mixer bowl. Mix them together on low to medium speed until mixture turns into a crumble.
- Combine the egg yolks and water together in one bowl then add it into your flour mixture. Stop mixing as soon as there are no more traces of raw flour in the mixture. Do not over-mix.
- Lightly durst your worktop with flour. Transfer your pie dough on the floured surface and form it into a smooth ball. If dough is too wet or sticky, continue dusting your worktop lightly with flour and use a dough scraper to help you gather your dough together.
- Cover your dough ball in plastic wrap. Chill it for 30 minutes to 1 hour so it is easier to roll out and cut later.
- Meanwhile, you can start making your tuna filling.
- In a hot saute pan, saute your diced onions in butter and oil. Stir and cook until onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the carrots and celery. Cook until tender.
- Stir in the tuna. Continue sauteing for a minute.
- Pour in the cream. Mix and cook for another minute.
- Add in the cheese. Cook until cheese is completely melted and mixed in.
- Season your mixture with salt and pepper.
- Set your filling aside to cool. Make sure your filling is completely cooled before wrapping it with your pie dough.
Assembly and Baking
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Take out your chilled pie dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Work on your half dough first while keeping the other stored in the chiller.
- Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and start rolling your your pie dough up to half centimetre thick.
- Using your plain cookie cutter or hand pie shaper, cut your dough into circles. For this recipe, I used a 7.8cm plain round cookie cutter to make 25 pieces of hand pies.
- Fill each pie wrapper with a teaspoon of tuna filling then press the edges to seal.
- Use your creativity how to give each hand pie a beautiful edge. Here are some simple seals you can try.
- Place your shaped hand pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. No need to keep them too far apart each other as long as they do not overlap. Brush each hand pie with egg wash to give it a shiny finish.
- Bake at 180C for 25 to 30 minutes or until brown and golden.
Cool on a cooling rack or enjoy while still warm.
Seal it with a fork
Shape it into a pyramid
- Don’t have the time to prepare fresh pie dough every time? That is just fine because you can actually make it ahead of time then keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the chiller overnight when you are ready to roll it out.
- You can also freeze filled hand pies and even baked ones. Simply line up your pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet then freeze them for about 4 hours. When they are already frozen solid, wrap each individually in foil, then place them in freezer bags. They will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months as well. And when you are ready to enjoy them, you do not have to thaw out your frozen pies. Just bake them as usual and just add a few more baking minutes to make them golden.
- Oh, and if you love your pies sweet, this dough recipe is also perfect with fruits, chocolate, and custard.