Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sausage and Feta Hand Pies

Sausage and Feta Hand Pies (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

For the dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the filling

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
16 ounces hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 small head fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground black pepper
6 plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded and diced
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons fennel seeds

To prepare the dough

In a food processor, add flour and salt - pulse to combine. Add butter cubes - process just until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine on, slowly add 1/4 cup of the cold water through the feed tube, just until the dough starts to hold together - it should not form a ball and you should not need to process for more than than 30 seconds. If it is too dry or crumbly (and will not clump together if you squeeze it in your hands), sprinkle in just enough extra water and pulse to combine.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface lightly dusted with flour. Divide dough in half and place each onto a piece of plastic wrap. Gently shape into flattened rectangles - wrap well in plastic and refrigerator at least 1 hour before using.

To prepare the filling

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add sausage and cook, stirring to crumble, until cooked and browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

Pour remaining tablespoon of oil into the skillet - add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add fennel and red pepper flakes - season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until their juices release, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage back in and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. When cool, stir in feta and parsley.

To assemble hand pies

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough into a 16" x 11" rectangle. Use knife to trim the rectangle to 15" x 10" - divide into 6 squares. Place roughly 1/2 cup filling in the center of each square - fold up each corner around the filling, just so the points almost meet in the center, but do not touch. Transfer filled pies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Lightly brush the dough of each hand pie with the beaten egg and evenly sprinkle the fennel seeds over the top.

Place into the oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the crust is golden and the filling is hot, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Makes 12 hand pies.

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