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The perfect comfort food: Embrace Danish hygge with a delicious European-style hand pie

Amber Graefen

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Dec 26th, 2017

Pronounced “hoo-gah,” hygge is a trending Danish lifestyle concept that embraces not only living in the moment but savoring its comforts.

Think about how you feel sipping hot cocoa on a snowy day, or lingering in bed on a Saturday morning to read a good book under a fluffy quilt, or tasting a warm, perfectly flaky on the outside yet juicy on the inside pie. That’s relishing the hygge life.

Winter is a perfect time for homemade hand pies that promise hygge bliss. So put on your flannels, pour a cuppa tea and try these two yummy, filling recipes — a savory and a sweet — using a store-bought pie crust mix (speedy and easy): Beef & Veggies Hand Pie and Boozy Rum-Raisin & Apple Hand Pie.

Embrace the coziness.

Beef & Veggies Hand Pie
(makes 4 hand pies)

1/2 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons Signature Kitchens all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Signature Kitchens dried parsley
1 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup water
1 cup Signature Farms potatoes, peeled, diced
1/2 cup Signature Farms carrots, diced
1/3 cup onion, diced
1 box (11-ounce) pie crust mix
water
1 egg yolk, beaten

In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, then drain. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and parsley. Dissolve bouillon in water, then stir into meat. Add potatoes, carrots and onion. Cover and cook until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

 

Prepare pie crust according to package directions. On a floured board, roll dough into a large square about 1/8 inch thick. Use a knife to trim all four sides, so the edges are clean. Then cut evenly into 4 squares. Use a ruler if you have trouble eyeballing it because you need squares to make proper triangle-shaped pies. If you wish, you can use leftover scraps of dough to make decorative shapes, such as a leaf, to adorn your pies. Attach by slightly dampening the back of the decoration with a little water.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Spoon 1/3 cup filling in the middle of each square. Fold over into a triangle. Pick up and cradle in your hand like a taco with the open end up. Crimp all of the open edges with your fingers until the filling is sealed inside. On a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, gently place each pie. Use a knife to lightly score your edges for decorative flair, if desired.

Make one small slit in the top of each pie to let steam release. Brush each pie with beaten yolk.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Foodie Tip: Love spicy food? Add your favorite hot sauce to the meat during cooking.

Boozy Rum-Raisin & Apple Hand Pie
(makes 6 hand pies)

1/2 cup O Organics raisins
1 cup dark rum (substitute water for non-alcoholic)
4 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 tablespoons  Lucerne butter
2 tablespoons  Signature Kitchens dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Signature Kitchens ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 box (11-ounce) pie crust mix
water
1 Lucerne egg yolk, beaten

First rehydrate the raisins. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine raisins and rum, cooking until the raisins are plump. Set aside.

Peel, core and dice apples. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in the diced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cook, stirring frequently, just until the apples begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain the rum, then add raisins to skillet and stir. Spread mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment to help it cool quickly. Pop it in the freezer or refrigerator to cool further while you make the crust.

Prepare pie crust according to package directions. On a floured board, roll dough into a large square about 1/8 inch thick. Use a knife to trim all four sides so the edges are clean. Then cut evenly into 4 squares. Use a ruler if you have trouble eyeballing it because you need squares to make proper triangle-shaped pies.

Grab your cooled filling. Spoon roughly 1/3 cup into the center of each piece of dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the crimping edge. Fold over into a triangle. Pick up and cradle in your hand like a taco with the open end up. Crimp all of the open edges with your fingers until sealed. On a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, gently place each pie. Use fingers dipped in water to smooth any cracks in the dough.

Place the prepared pies in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes. See tip below for leftover filling.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, and make a small slit in the top of each pie to let steam release. For a little extra flair, you can lightly score a leaf pattern into each pie, as shown in the photo. Brush each pie with beaten yolk.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the hand pies are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Foodie Tip: This recipe makes more filling than is needed for 4 pies. Use the extra filling to flavor pancakes or waffles, as an ice cream topping or as a chunky applesauce side dish.

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