Pintful: The recipe for Fullsteam’s Pork and Porter Hand Pie

In this week’s Pintful beer column, I explored how to pair beer with food.

John Holl, the editor of All About Beer magazine, provided some expert advice for the piece. He recently authored “The American Craft Beer Cookbook,” which is filled with good tips and recipes that incorporate beer into food.

One of the recipes in his new book is from our backyard: Fullsteam Brewery’s Pork and Porter Hand Pie. He graciously agreed to share the recipe from the book. Grab a growler at Fullsteam in Durham to go with this recipe. And enjoy.

Pork and Porter Hand Pie -- makes 8 pies

Not long ago the Washington Post called hand pies “the next big thing in treats.” Whereas cupcakes are smaller versions of cakes, hand pies are smaller versions of pies. They can be sweet or savory, as this recipe from Fullsteam Brewery’s spin-off bakery, Bullytown, demonstrates. Hand pies are perfect for parties, for snacks, or simply as an original centerpiece for a light meal. Drink with a porter or brown ale to complement the dark beer used in the filling, or contrast it with a hoppy India pale ale.

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine-ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup ice water

Ingredients for the filling:

1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground pork sausage

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup porter or smoked porter

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

Step 1: Make the crust: Sift the flour, cornmeal, and salt into a medium bowl. Using two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms pea-size coarse crumbs. Slowly add the ice water and combine the ingredients with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Avoid overkneading the dough. Shape the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Step 2: Make the filling: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the ground pork and pork sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until the pork is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the apples, sweet potatoes, porter, sage, and thyme to the skillet. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes and apples are nearly tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pork filling into a medium bowl, and place in the refrigerator to cool slightly until you’re ready to fill the dough.

Step 4: Assemble the pie: Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. With a knife or biscuit cutter, cut out eight 5-inch circles (rerolling the dough if necessary). Transfer the circles to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, this time cutting out eight slightly larger 51/4-inch rounds. Chill the rounds on baking sheets for 1 hour, or until ready to use.

Step 5: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling in the center of each smaller round of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Brush the edges with the beaten egg and press a larger round of dough over the top of each pie, using your fingers to firmly seal the edges.

Step 6: Crimp the edges of the dough with the tines of a fork and cut three small air vents in the top of each hand pie. Brush the hand pie tops with the beaten egg. Bake the hand pies, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve warm.