One of the delightful side effects of being a parent is that you suddenly become aware of the obscure and often overlooked special holidays sprinkled throughout the year. The 100th day of school and National Sandwich Day (Nov. 3) all suddenly call for cake and candles. Recognizing days dedicated to less than common subjects — April 23 is National Talk Like Shakespeare Day — certainly keeps things lively, interesting, and gosh darn it, fun!
March 14 is National Pi Day (Get it? 3.14?), and while I could share a recipe for a sweet treat, it is a bit more realistic for my family to whip up something for dinner instead of dessert. The internet will be filled with every conceivable kind of fruit, chocolate, cream, and nut pie. I would never turn down pie, but it isn’t very practical for us most of the time. Hence, today’s recipe!
Easy and fun, these little pockets of creamy, cheesy, chicken and corn will become a family favorite that you will want to eat any day of the year. Made with convenient ingredients that can be put together ahead of time, these hand pies are a special way to celebrate Pi day … and are perfect for little hands to pick up and nibble. My husband and kids love the flaky crust and I love how quickly they bake up!
I like to make them ahead and freeze them individually so that I have them whenever the mood strikes. So whether it is National Sea Monkey Day (May 16) or even National Bad Poetry Day (Aug. 18), I’ll be ready.
Chicken-Chile Hand Pies
If you don’t have an immediate use for the rest of the green chiles, they can easily be frozen for another time. Feel free to cut bigger circles out of your dough to make larger hand pies!
3 single pie crusts, pre-made or homemade
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 shredded cheddar or jack cheese
2 T diced canned green chiles, or 1/2 of a 4 oz can
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and chiles until smooth. Fold in the rest of the filling ingredients and set aside.
Unroll one of the pie crusts onto a sheet of parchment paper or a floured counter. Using a 4 inch round cookie cutter (or the mouth of a large glass) cut out circles for the hand pies. You should get nine circles out of a single pie crust.
Spoon a level tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle of dough. Wet your finger and dampen the edges, then fold the dough into a half moon, carefully sealing the edges well. Use a fork to crimp the edges and poke a few holes in the tope with a knife so that the steam escapes while baking.
In a small bowl, beat an egg and then brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling.
Set out the pies in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack for several minutes (the filling is HOT) and enjoy!
Note: If you would like to freeze some of your hand pies, proceed with the recipe as written but do not bake them! Place the unbaked pies on a sheet pan and freeze them until solid. When frozen, seal in a zip top bag and freeze for several months. When ready to bake, you can either deforest the pies and bake as directed, or bake them at a lower temperature of 350 degrees until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Baking time will vary due to size, ingredients, and different ovens.