Total time 2 hours 15 minutes, plus marinating time
Makes 8 meal-sized hand pies
Fillings should be chilled when they are stuffed into the pastry, so Piper Davis usually makes them the night before she bakes and serves the pies.
(Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time. Makes 1 lb roast beef.)
1 lb of tri-tip, top sirloin, rib roast, or tenderloin (if you’re feeling fancy)
1 tsp kosher salt
(Time: 20 minutes. Makes about 1½ cups.)
1 baking potato (about 8 oz)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
⅓ cup half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
(Time: 45 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, julienned
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup water, white wine, or cooking sherry
3 lb rough puff pastry (or 1 sheet of Grand Central U-bake puff pastry), chilled
1 egg, separated
1 tbsp water
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the roast beef, mashed potatoes, and caramelized onions. Rub the salt all over the raw beef and allow to sit for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator, uncovered. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast beef for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the outside is caramelized and the inside temperature reads 130 degrees. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature.
Peel, dice, and cover potatoes with cold water. Boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and add butter and half-and-half while potatoes are still hot. Mash or whip until smooth and creamy, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then onions, and sprinkle with salt. Saute until onions begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to saute, resisting the urge to stir and instead giving the whole pan a quick shake every 5 minutes or so. When onions are golden brown and natural sugars are caramelizing on the bottom of the pan, add water, white wine, or cooking sherry and stir to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce liquid until the onions are a dark, toasty brown.
Prepare the pies. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment and set aside. Roll dough into a 12-by-20-inch rectangle on a lightly floured board. Using a large, sharp knife or a pizza cutter, trim the edges of the dough so they’re square. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each strip into four equal pieces, for a total of 8 dough rectangles that are about the same size.
Whisk the egg white, water, and salt together in a small bowl, reserving the yolk, and use a pastry brush to lightly paint the egg white mixture around the edges of each rectangle. In the center of the lower half of each rectangle, place 2 heaping tablespoons mashed potatoes, then 1¼ ounces roast beef, and top with 1 tablespoon of caramelized onions. Season filling with pepper.
Fold the top half of each rectangle over the filling so the edges meet. Seal each rectangle using the sides of your hands and use the floured tines of a fork to crimp and reinforce the seal. Trim the edges with a sharp knife, then slice steam vents in the top of each hand pie. Whisk the egg yolk into the egg white mixture, brush the pies with it, and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until pies are a deep, golden brown.
Note: Pies should be cold when they go into the oven. You may want to refrigerate softening dough during folding, before sealing, and/or before brushing with egg.