It’s been three years since I happened upon pictures of these pies online, and it’s taken me that long to work up the courage to make them. Now that they’re here I wish I hadn’t waited so long, as it turns out they’re one of the few savory pies my young daughters will eat! I can understand the appeal. They’re rich and crispy on the outside, satisfyingly meaty on the inside, and on top of it all are just plain fun to have on your plate. As you’ve no doubt surmised, it’s the laminated tops that are the tricky bit. Everything below that pretty much follows standard meat pie rules. Here’s how they go:
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and set a rack in the upper half of the oven. I used these little 4-inch quiche pans for the pies. Just about any small form will work here, but I liked these because they’re not only shallow they have removable bottoms.
I rolled the dough out quite thin, about 1/8-inch since these are small. I’m using a 6-inch cutter to cut my circles, which is just about perfect (remember the dough has to come up the sides as well!). If you don’t have one of these don’t worry about it, just use a pizza cutter to cut some rough circles about 6 inches across.
Gently tuck the dough into the forms…I didn’t press terribly hard since the fluted sides will be obscured by the tops.
You can trim them up a bit if you have too much overhang. You want a little there, however, to glue to your top crust.
Now I mix up my meat filling. Note that you don’t have to use one of those expensive — and salty — hams here if you don’t want to do that. If you’re using conventional ham, however, add about 1/4 teaspoons salt to the mix to ensure the mix has enough seasoning.
Place the filling into the molds. Just drop it in, don’t press it in, you don’t want it packed too tightly. Just fill them a little bit over the rim of the mold.
Add on your hard boiled egg slices. Since I want the the tops to peak a little in the center (the top crust dough will tend to settle around the filling) I’m putting the egg “ends” there.
Now for the tops. Cut roughly 1/4-inch slices off your roll of laminated dough. Use a long serrated knife that’s been lubricated with oil or melted butter. Try to cut the pieces off in two long strokes: inward-outward. Why not more? Because lots of sawing will tend to cause the dough layers in the interior of the roll to stick to one another, and that will effect your finish. You’ll have some dough left over. Save it for sfogliatelle or lobster tails!
Apply warm melted butter amply on both sides…
…and then start fanning out the layers. Massage the slice with your thumbs, pressing outward from the center.
You’ll see the outside edge will start to lean outward as the individual layers start to lay down.
You want the dough piece to be a little more than 4 inches across. Pinch the dough at the very outside of the rim to fan out the layers there. Check for any thick spots and, again, pinch.
Once the piece is big enough, apply some egg wash to the rim of the pan…
…and apply the top. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. These are rustic pies. Make that rather fussy rustic pies.
Let them rest for 10-15 minutes to relax the gluten on the tops. Bake them for about 35 minutes at 400. If after that time the top hasn’t fully browned, crank up the heat to 425 for another 5 minutes or so until they’re golden brown.
Let the finished pies cool for at least an hour to let the bottom crust firm. De-pan and serve warm with salad and some inky red Spanish wine. Nice!
Reader Jey wanted to see the inside of one. Here it is the next day after it’s been in the fridge. My top crust is a little thick…but then I’m new at this sort of lamination. I’ll get better with practice. Still an extremely tasty lunch!