By Danielle French

Grandma French’s Hand-Pies

When I was little, I spent many summers visiting my grandparents on their farm in Michigan about a third of the way up the western side of the state right on the coast of Lake Michigan. I loved going to their farm. They had moved to their farm in mid life and grew much of their own food. The farm land yielded fruits and vegetables and they prepared honest farm fresh food every day. My grandmother made delicious pies for my brother and me from the fruits they grew on the farm. She often told stories about her life as a young girl growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She recalled the men going into the copper mines with hand pies in their lunch boxes. This story has always stuck with me. I think of her own mother making the hand pies out of leftover meat and potatoes rolling the dough out, cutting it into circles and placing the leftovers inside and crimping the edges shut. My grandmother told me that her mother would get up early and bake the hand pies for the men so they had a good hearty lunch. Her pies were filled with cubes of beef or pork, leftover potatoes and carrots and maybe a turnip or two. They were dry enough so that they could be eaten out of their hands and not drip out and make a mess. I loved both her pies and the memory of this story.

This recipe is my own version and also uses leftovers- our delicious smoked brisket shredded and heaped on top of caramelized onions or onion jam which I make here on the farm – and topped with a bit of barbecue sauce – we also make our own here on the farm called Silo Stout BBQ sauce – and a piece of cheese curd which is optional. We serve it with an tomato maple jam.

South Pond Farms Smoked Brisket Hand Pie with Heirloom Tomato Maple Jam

Gramma French’s Hand Pie

  • 1 recipe pie dough
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ lb butter
  • Ice water – about ¼ cup

Mix the salt and flour and butter together with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Add the water bit by bit until the dough comes together. Do not overwork. Shape the dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  • 1 tbsp smoked brisket
  • 1 tbsp Silo stout Bbq sauce
  • 1 tbsp local farm fresh white cheese curd -optional
  • Egg yolk wash. (1 beaten egg yolk)

Preheat the oven to 375 C

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and begin to roll the dough out to a ¼ centimeter thick. Using a bowl or freely cutting a large circle about 6” in diameter. On one half of the circle, spread the onions or onion jam on the circle and heap the brisket on top. Spread the bbq sauce over the meat and the cheese curd if you wish. Wash the edges of the dough with egg wash and fold the dough over to make a ½ moon. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork and close shut. Place on a cast iron pan or a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Heirloom Tomato Maple Jam

Depending on the time of year, I make this with cherry tomatoes but a whole tomato will do nicely. (I also sell this jam at the farm)

  • 6 cherry tomatoes or 1 regular size tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp farm honey
  • 1 tsp black pepper fresh ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp local artisanal maple vinegar

Place the ingredients into a small bowl and heat on low until a jam consistency.

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