It’s everything I think I’d want in a society. Friendly people, pretty parks and creative, delicious food. Axon gave me The Portland Picnic Society‘s book, The Picnic, for my birthday in June. I hadn’t used it yet. But, in my defense, the South has very sticky, sweaty summers, not much like Portland’s fresher version of summer, and we really are just better off waiting to get the picnic basket out until fall shows up. (Which is as late as October this year! What?!)
So last weekend, my sister, Kate and I decided we would take the convertible and meet our friend Melanie out at Arrington Vineyards for the first picnic of fall.
A perfect opportunity for The Picnic book. I tried a few of the recipes, and my favorite was the Kale, Sweet Potato, and Goat Cheese Hand Pies. Ah. Mazing. So I’m going to share here!
*Kale, Sweet Potato, and Goat Cheese Hand Pies
Pacific Pie Company owner Sarah Curtis-Fawley forever delights us with her attractive and savory hand pies. Serve these pasties warm or at room temperature, and if you need a plan-ahead pie, make them on a Sunday afternoon and freeze them for up to a month.
1 batch Perfect Pie Dough, chilled – recipe follows (I used this galette dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen, though, because I love it.)
1-1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp plus 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch laminate or Tuscan kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Heavy cream or melted butter, for brushing
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Cut the chilled disk of pie dough into 12 wedges. One at a time, roll each wedge into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 4-inch round on a lightly floured countertop. Separate the rounds with pieces of parchment paper, stack them on a plate, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before filling.
- To make the filling: Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp of the oil and sprinkle them with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of the pepper. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until just starting to brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil and the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until deep golden brown, lowering the heat as needed if they begin to burn, 30 to 40 minutes. Add the kale, garlic, vinegar, dried red pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and cook until the kale is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Scrape the kale mixture into a large bowl and gently stir in the roasted sweet potatoes. Chill the filling mixture until cold before making the hand pies, about 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
- To make the hand pies: Lay the chilled pastry rounds on a countertop. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the outside edges with water. (**I used my fingers for this.) Put 1/4 cup of the filling on one half of each pastry circle, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Top each with crumbled cheese. Fold the pastry over to cover the filling and press the edges together firmly to seal. Decoratively crimp the crust by pinching it at even intervals, or press with the tines of a fork to seal, then trim any uneven edges with a knife. Using the tip of a knife, cut three small slits in the top of each pie. (**I only cut one.)
- Arrange the pies on a baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and chill for at least 1 hour, or for up to 1 day, covered. (The pies can also be wrapped individually in aluminum foil and placed in the freezer for up to 1 month; do not defrost before baking, but increase the baking time as needed.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F shortly before taking the pies from the refrigerator.
- Lightly brush the pies with cream or melted butter. Bake the pies until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the pies on a wire rack, and arrange them on a platter.
*Perfect Pie Dough
10 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
6-8 Tbsp ice-cold water
- Cube the butter, put it in a small blow, and place it in the freezer until firm and very cold, about 10 minutes. Put the flour, salt, and chilled butter in a food processor and pulse until the butter chunks are the size of peas. Add half of the cold water and process very briefly, then add the remaining water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing between additions, just until large moist clumps form.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop and, using the heel of your hand, smear the clumps of dough until they come together. Use a pastry scraper to form the dough into a mound, then gently pat it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days. To freeze, wrap it in another layer of plastic and freeze for up to 3 months.
And off we went to Arrington. It was a bit rainy at first, so no open convertible top, but it didn’t deter us. By the time we all three got to the vineyard, the sun was setting beautifully and we were sitting by the bonfire eating pies and pecan dandies. So there you have it. The first meeting of the Arrington Picnic Society, and the most delicious savory pies ever. If you think you might want to check out The Portland Picnic Society‘s book, The Picnic, head here and you won’t be disappointed! I can’t say that it looks like they’ve been blogging much lately, but recipes last forever, and you know, you can always start your own picnic society! 🙂
* The Picnic, by Marnie hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson
** My personal comments. 🙂