Something happened this weekend that hasn't happened in a long time...I cooked. This wasn't just regular cooking for the work week (aka salad) or cooking because I had a potluck or Hollywood Bowl outing. I was cooking because I was inspired...and it felt good. It all started last week when I realized I hadn't baked since my birthday cake. As someone who used to bake every week, you could see how two months with no baking would be a big deal. I wanted to put my oven to good use. Unfortunately, my oven is a little mad at me from lack of use so it's extremely temperamental and doesn't always work. Fortunately, I figured out a way to trick it back into liking me. I also finally got around to seasoning my cast iron pan that I bought back in February. Now that it's ready to be used, I'm looking for cast iron cooking ideas so feel free to leave them in the comments. Now, for these hand pies. I was watching an old episode of Simply Ming which featured ponzu and bacon as the main ingredients. Art Smith was guesting on the show and made a tomato pie with a crust that had bacon baked right into it. I was intrigued, but couldn't find a recipe so I decided to come up with something that worked for me. These little pies aren't the prettiest food, but who cares since they taste so great!? I definitely want to play around with these a bit more while tomatoes are in season, but for a first try they were pretty amazing.
Tomato Hand Pies in Bacon and Thyme Crust
Makes 16 hand pies or one large galette
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2-4 tablespoons ice water
2 slices cold bacon, sliced in half lengthwise and chopped into small pieces
Add the flour, thyme and salt to a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the motor running, add the ice water just until the crust comes together. Roll out the dough to about a 6 inch circle. Add some of the bacon. Roll out until the bacon is incorporated in the crust. Repeat until all of the bacon is mixed in with the crust.
Form the dough into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
For the filling:
1 shallot minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered and drained as much as possible
2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about another minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the tomatoes and cheese.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling over each round. Close the rounds and seal the edges with a fork.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix one egg with about 1 tablespoon of water. Seal the edges of each pie with a fork. Poke each pie with the fork to allow the steam to escape while cooking and brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake 20-25 minutes until the tops of the pie have browned. Allow the pies to cool slightly before serving.