Every culture seems to have one - the British 'pasty', Indian 'samosa', Russian 'pirozhki', Latin American 'empanada' - a doughy outer shell encasing a sweet or savory filling. If you think about what they are, the popularity and reach of these portable pies makes perfect sense. Vegetable, starch, and protein can be combined in one fell swoop and carried off with ease.
The variety is marvelous, but also makes tracking down any sort of single-pronged history insanely difficult. In the UK, first references to pasties date back to 17th or 18th century Devon or Cornwall. While India seems to have adopted its own pie around the 13th century, this variety is thought to have actually originated in Central Asia 300 years earlier. Even so, no matter where the pie's origins lie, know that it probably has a long and rich history.
Then I was reading Apple and Spice, which is ever so nice, and saw she had posted a gluten-free pocket pie recipe. So there you have my inspiration, if not my recipe (as it is sadly not vegan, nor am I currently in possession of xantham gum). I had a lovely winter squash hanging around (seeing as that is one of the few produce items still around in DC in the winter) and a mandate to use coconut oil from the SOS kitchen challenge! Great ingredient for baking, although for pie fillings, I would prefer using coconut butter ... mmm.
Curry Pumpkin Hand-Pies (wheat-free; makes 2 pies with a 5-6 inch diameter circle)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup barley flour (could use buckwheat or sorghum to make gf)
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tbs tapioca starch
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbs - 1/4 cup soy or almond milk
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (I used an ambercup squash)
1/4 cup silken tofu puree
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
* Add a splurt (no, it's not in the dictionary) of agave for a little hint of sweetness
1. Combine dry crust ingredients. Use a fork to work in coconut oil. Add liquid until the dough just comes together but is not sticky.
2. Roll out on a piece of parchment or wax paper, silicone mat, or plastic wrap, to about 1/4 inch thickness.
3. Use a round, sharp-edged object - cookie cutter, large can, tiffin lunch pail (teehee) - and cut out rounds. Leave the circles on the mat, paper, whatever, to facilitate folding.
4. Mix pureed ingredients or puree all in a food processor (season to taste). Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mix (you will have leftovers ... make a minipie!) onto one half of the circle, leaving a good 1/4-inch margin to press folds together. Do so. Crimp with a fork.
5. Bake on 350F for 25-30 minutes until beginning to brown. I also put a little piece of crust dough in separately to determine when that was cooked all the way through.
Enjoy warm or pack for a lunch ... so excited for work tomorrow, now! And let's not forget the the breadth of other possible pies - perhaps an Italian 'calzone', Israeli (and other former Ottoman-empire-locales) 'boureka', and a classic American (or is it?) 'turnover'.