Drop The Fork, It's Hand Pies!
In today’s world of ready-to-eat, convenient snacks there are more options available than ever. What once was a story of domination by granola bars and single-serve chip bags has now evolved into a grocery store full of options for consumers. But have we left out the hand pie? This single-serve pastry item is not only extremely versatile but has worldwide reach with various countries putting their own spin on the quick-eating pie. A good handheld pie is simple – a flaky crust, a sweet or savory filling, and the ability to be eaten with one hand.
Cornish Pasties are popular in the UK and are filled with beef skirt, potato, rutabaga, carrot, and a savory gravy. Empanada is a popular, semi-lunar shaped pie that is popular in the Americas and the Philippines and are traditionally meat filled and spiced. Other popular hand pie type products are the Jamaican Patty, the Samosa, Spanakopita, and the Meat Pie (2).
Overall quality is largely impacted by the structural and eating properties of the crust. Pastry flour is the typical structural backbone of hand pies, and crust tenderness is inversely related to the protein level of flour. Flours with high protein contents will create very flaky crusts; however, lack the soft bite. The shortening level and type is equally as important in determining the flakiness of you crust. The pies are ideally baked in a hot oven to ensure proper baking of the crust and avoidance of boiling the filling. Crusts should be thoroughly baked and browned with hot bottom heat; however, time will vary based off the level of sugar, milk solids, shortening, thickness of crust and type of filling (1).
Traditional hand pie fillings are either sweet or savory. It is helpful to use pre-cooked fillings when creating hand pies as they contain the proper amount of solids. The fruit, sweeteners, stabilizers and starches are already in gel format and will set nicely after baking and cooling (1). Savory fillings often contain meat like beef, chicken or pork, veggies, and a spiced sauce or gravy.
GemPro proteins can enhance both the processing and eating quality of these convenient pies. GemPro Plus provides a good balance of elasticity and extensibility for sheeted pockets and hand pies that undergo more machine handling. With the ability to stretch and strengthen doughs, you can count on GemPro Plus to hold in all the good fillings while you eat your one-handed products. GemPro Prime-E enhances the extensibility of your system while also boosting protein content. It can literally stretch your dough further and help create flexibility in the system, which can be helpful for doughs with larger inclusion fillings.
Additionally, GemPro proteins can enhance the texture of the finished product, improving overall eating quality. While increasing the flour protein can result in a firm bite, GemPro Proteins can maintain tenderness and preferred eating properties.
GemGel starches can help create viscosity upfront in your filling system by hydrating rapidly and increasing your solids content. It can also help reduce weeping after baking and make sure your filling isn’t flowing. GemStar starches can help increase crust tenderness and flakiness upon baking or frying.
Whatever the configuration is, Manildra is here to help you navigate the untapped potential of the single hand snack.
- E.J. Pyler, Baking Science and Technology, Volume II: Formulation & Production, 4th Edition