With Christmas coming around the corner, I’m starting my menu planning for the big day. We have a lot of people over on Christmas day and over the years have switched from a traditional sit-down dinner to a constant rotation of appetizers. It’s like cocktail hour at a wedding (the best part, let’s be real), and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This recipe has been in my rotation for maybe five years and is always a hit. I’ve tweaked it over the years and have even re-worked it to include a vegetarian version. (Skip to recipe)
Everyone seems to have their opinion on what makes a perfect pie crust. I’m not a fan of those made with vegetable shortening, so mine is all butter. You can absolutely follow a separate recipe for your favorite pie crust, use store bought empanada discs, or use store bought refrigerated pie crust. I’ve used all four and they all work well, but my preference is this buttery version.
Using a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and very cold butter (I flash freeze mine for about 20 minutes) until it resembles coarse crumbs. With the processor running, add water slowly until the dough forms into a ball. Remove the dough, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least three hours or overnight. For convenience, I do all my prep the night before so in the morning it’s just assembly.
Now it’s time for the filling! My classic filling is the chorizo and sweet potato version but I’m able to get similar flavors into my black bean version using spices that are in the chorizo. Yum! For the chorizo version, you’ll need already prepared sweet potatoes.
You can bake the potatoes in the oven or microwave. For the oven, pierce the potatoes, wrap in foil, and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour. Alternatively, you can pierce them and bake them on a plate in a microwave for about five minutes. No foil in the microwave unless you want to roast marshmallows over that fire!
For the chorizo, remove the casings and brown the chopped chorizo in a skillet and drain on paper towels. This should take 5-7 minutes. Combine cooled chorizo, sweet potatoes, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and cheese in a large bowl and set aside.
If you’re making the black bean version, combine the rinsed beans, cooled sweet potatoes, cheese, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic, salt, onion powder, oregano, and thyme and set aside.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and roll out onto a floured surface with a rolling pin and cut circles using a biscuit cutter or in my case, a glass. The glass I use has a 4 inch diameter. You can absolutely use a larger cutter to make larger pies if you prefer. Using rounded teaspoons, place filling in the center of each disc and pinch them closed like little half-moons, using the tines of a fork to seal. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and bake 13-16 minutes.
Running late tip: If you’re not serving immediately, take them out a few minutes early and store them in the refrigerator or freezer and finish baking them when ready to serve.
These bite sized pies are the perfect addition to any buffet line or passed appetizer party. You can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months for a party snack in a pinch!
Sweet Potato Hand Pies
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) COLD unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup cold water (add extra by the teaspoon if your dough is dry)
- 2 med/large sweet potatoes baked, skin removed, and mashed (about 2.5 cups)
- 2 links spanish chorizo, casings removed, chopped into 1/4 pieces, and browned
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Black Bean Version:
- 2 med/large sweet potatoes baked, cooled, skin removed, and mashed (about 2.5 cups)
- 1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp ancho chili pepper (or regular chili pepper if that’s what you have)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- Prepare the dough. Using a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and very cold butter (I flash freeze mine for about 20 minutes) until it resembles coarse crumbs. With the processor running, add water slowly until the dough forms into a ball.
- Remove the dough, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least three hours or overnight.
- Combine filling of choice listed above in a large bowl and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll out chilled dough on a flour dusted surface using a rolling pin. Using a glass or biscuit cutter (4 inch diameter), cut out discs and place on a baking sheet lined in parchment or a silpat.
- Place rounded teaspoons of the filling of your choice in the center of each disc, using your fingers to pinch them closed in a half moon shape. Seal the edges by pressing down with a fork.
- Bake 13-16 minutes. Serve warm.