Pocket Pies

Total Time:
3 hr 10 min
40 min
2 hr
30 min

10 to 15 pies or 8 to 10 toaster pastries

  • Pastry:
  • 9 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 ounces shortening, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 to 2 teaspoons water
  • Vegetable, canola oil or butter, for frying
  • Curried Mango Filling, recipe follows
  • Chocolate Filling, recipe follows
  • Curried Mango Filling:
  • 4 mangos, peeled and diced, approximately 2 cups or 12 ounces
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chocolate Filling:
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 10 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse for a few seconds and then pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add the shortening and knead it into the flour with your hands until it is crumbly. Add the milk all at once and mix in with a spatula until it begins to come together. Lightly flour your hands and the countertop and turn the dough out onto the countertop. Knead the dough ball, folding over 10 to 20 times. Using a rolling pin roll the dough to 1/3 to 1/2-inch thickness, then cut into rounds using a 2 1/4-inch ring. Roll each round as thinly as possible or to 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling onto the dough, brush the edges of half of the dough lightly with the egg wash, fold over and seal the edges together with the tines of a fork, dipping it into flour as needed. Gently press down to flatten and evenly distribute the filling and snip or cut 3 slits in the top of the pie. Dock pies that are going to be deep-fried, instead of snipping or cutting slits.

To pan-fry pies, place a medium saute pan over medium low heat along with 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable, canola oil or butter. Once heated, place 2 to 3 pies at a time into pan and saute until golden on both sides, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. Allow to cool 4 to 5 minutes before serving.

To deep-fry pies, heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or a large heavy pot to 375 degrees F. Once hot, add 1 to 2 pies at a time and fry until golden brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

To bake pies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place finished pies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

To make toaster pastries:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide dough in half and roll out to less than 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 4 inch by 5 inch rectangles. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling onto center of one piece of dough. Brush the edges with egg wash and top with second piece of dough. Seal edges by pressing together with tine of fork. Gently press down to flatten and evenly distribute the filling and dock the top of the pie. Repeat with second half of dough.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool completely and place into zip-top bags until ready to toast. The pies will not be brown until toasted.

Curried Mango Filling:

Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator to cool completely before using as filling.

For each pie place 1 to 2 tablespoons onto the center of the dough. Follow directions above.

Yield: enough for 10 to 15 pies

Chocolate Filling:

Place the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and butter into a large zip-top bag and squish to combine. Cut a whole in 1 corner of the bag.

For each pie, pipe 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture onto the center of the dough. Follow directions above.

Yield: enough for 10 to 15 pies

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    The best desert I've ever made! I created this beauty twice within a month. SO rich!! The chocolate is the only one I've made, but chicken pot pie filling sounds sooooo good!!!!! A MUST for all chefs!
    Loved the program on Pocket Pies. Your show is always so fun! Oh... one thing Alton, the Cornish meat/vegetable pies are called PAST-ies not PASTE-ies. : 
    Keep up the fun shows, and I'll be watching.
    Love this recipe!!! Im not a big curry fan, but thought I would try this for my bf who is a big Indian food fan..... It is SO YUMMY!! I used one mango and some strawberries that were on their way out. I will be making this every time I have strawberries that are no longer 'fresh' (not moldy, just wilted. The dough is easy and can be made in double batches, so I freeze half of it and defrost the night before i want to make it again!
    These sound super good!!!!! Do you think it matters if i use butter instead of shortening? I want to make these today and all i have is butter.
    Excellent and fun.... if I could only use one word to make these fun Pocket Pies it would be.....Awesome.....
    Remember to use UNsalted butter for the chocolate filling. For the reviews where the chocolate filling didn't work out -- I wonder if they just used regular "salted" (sweet) butter instead of unsalted. Remember that salted butter has a higher water content than unsalted -- it isn't just about the salt. Could definitely matter in this recipe!
    I'm a known terrible cook, but these were awesome and were gobbled up. I used pre-made blueberry pie filling and baked them. Awesome, awesome. Didn't explode, didn't burn, didn't get too empty, no complaints at all. The only thing I'll do differently next time is that I won't dirty my food processor - that's just too many dishes! I'm thinking mushroom/spinach/swiss cheese next time. I got 11 pies out of the recipe.
    I enjoyed the program very much but was dissapointed that the recipe did not include any of the other fillings, i.e., shepherds pie and the others that were on the program.

    Alton you are very enjoyable, informative and helpful

    Carole Cowell
    College Park, MD
    I made these pocket pies, filling them with shephard's pie ingredients... using ground wild pork... and whole wheat in the crust... they were AWESOME!!! The guys raved about them and asked me when I would make them again. Thanks for such a great recipe, and for so many suggestions and options. It made me feel comfortable experimenting a bit myself!
    I have always loved meat pies, and couldn't wait to try this! I was able to make 18 pies, and I used leftover beef stew (which itself was made from leftover roast), butternut squash with cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, and a little brown sugar, and a modified version of the chocolate filling.
    I halved the filling recipe, and since I didn't have cocoa powder, I substituted hot cocoa mix (3xs the amount recommended, and decreased the sugar by 2xs the original amount of cocoa powder) and decreased the amount of butter by 1 oz. I baked all the dessert pies and two of the meat pies and froze the rest to fry later. Everything came out beautifully and now I have quick heat and eat meals for nights we get home late.
    First, I would consider myself to be a pretty good cook/baker, but for some reason pastry dough hasn't been my forte. That said, this dough was very simple and easy to work with. I made them the first time for a picnic with a meat filling. I made all the dough rounds ahead of time and "test-cooked" one using the pan fry method. It turned out great, so I decided to bake the rest. They also turned out great. I was so impressed I decided to make another batch with the chocolate filling. That didn't turn out quite so well; they leaked, but thankfully I was using sheet pans with 1/2 inch sides and parchment paper, so all was not lost. The outsides of the pies had some chocolate on them, but they still tasted great. Everyone loved them, especially my nephews.

    Anyway, I would like to try deep frying them when I have the time and the oil. I'm sure they'll be great, and the chocolate filling will probably turn out better when fried than baked. I also want to try a raspberry-cream cheese filling, and a caramel filling.

    Thank you, Alton, for helping me overcome my pastry problem! :D
    I made many pocket pies with a variety of fillings. My favorite by far, was the pan fried with mashed potato and pork roast filling. They turned out so hearty, that you only need 1 small pie to be full.

    I also really liked a peanut butter, and chocolate chip filling. It isn't overly sweet, but is sweet enough that the peanut butter doesn't feel too heavy.

    I was also one of the people whose chocolate filling doesn't work. For all of you people who tried instant pudding mixes, and when you cooked it, it turned liquidy, try using the cook type of pudding. Instant is not heat stable, and will always turn back into liquid. The cook and serve kind is very heat stable. Just make sure you cook it first (so that you aren't trying to fill with liquid).

    Thank you Alton Brown, and everyone at Food Network, for bringing us this fantastic recipe!
    I found the dough easy to work with. I made chocolate, pizza and breakfast (egg & cheese) pies. My first chocolate pies exploded like mini volcanoes in the oven. My second batch I used less filling and really sealed the sides well so the chocolate only leaked through the slits in the top. The pizza ones came out a little hollow and dry, but still good. The breakfast pies turned out the best--I cooked the egg & cheese together on the stovetop with salt & pepper until it was like a paste, then used it as filling. I brushed the tops with the leftover egg wash and it really made them shiny and crisp. No leakage in the oven, and the egg practically falls out when you bite into it. Great, versatile recipe. Time consuming, but worth it.
    Love your show and watch as often as I can. I was thrilled this evening to see you tackle the Cornish Pasty in your show of 'pocket pies".
    My Granny, Maude Bickle Sowden, of Penzance, England, was married to a coal miner who eventually left England, like so many "Cousin Jacks" and settled in Arizona where he went to work in the copper mines. I never new my great grandfather but my Granny had very English ways till the day she died at age 106, over 20 years ago. One of the many things she imparted to me was the love of her wonderful Cornish Pasties and how she made them. Her recipe for the crust or pastry was a more like a basic pie crust recipe and only filled with savory filling of meat, potatoes & onion. Though, she did talk about the pudding or fruit combined with "meat and potatoes" version of a pasty. At age 103, she still continued to help made hundreds of pasties, along with several of her English friends, for church fundraisers in our small town, Globe, Arizona.
    I must offer one last remark to you. We never called them Pasties with a long a (something an exotic dancer might wear) but have always known them to be called Pasty as in "not the future but the past".
    Thank you for the new recipe ideas for pocket pies but, more so, for the memories.
    My best wishes for your continued culinary success!
    A devoted fan always anxious to learn more new food facts!
    Liz Schnoll
    I made meat pies that were simple baked pies made with ground beef. I added the usual onion, celery, garlic, carrots, and herbs to make the base. With a little gravy base and chili sauce the taste was right on. I may put Jack cheese or Swiss cheese into the pockets next time. Using the recipe for a first time was not a mistake........it is a keeper. The dough was so easy to use. Thank you.
    I need to work on my techinque, as a few of my toaster pastries leaked, so I can't toast them without risking mayhem, fire, and destruction. But the curried mango filling is absolutely incredible! I like it so much, I'm thinking about pureeing it and serving it as a sauce for grilled chicken or something like that....
    Great fan of the show and when I saw it I decided I'd give it a shot.
    Unfortunately I really didn't have enough time to do it so I shouldn't have attempted it...but I did anyway.

    I rushed and ended up not rolling the dough out thin enough (I was making the toaster pies). When he says 1/8th inch, he means it!

    Also if you're going to use chocolate filling, don't use instant mix pudding because apparently it doesn't like the oven too much.

    I also should have compensated for the dry winter weather with the moisture content of the dough as it was quite difficult to work with when rolling it out (dry, dry, dry dough doesn't like to roll).

    I will attempt this recipe again, on a day when I have plenty of time to make sure everything is correct. And I think I'll try jelly next time.

    Thanks Alton for another great episode and another multi-tasking recipe.
    I used a bacon, egg, and cheddar cheese filling and these were a hit for breakfast. I'll try the fruit filling next and probably the chocolate too. Thanks Alton!
    My wifes fav fruit is mango so when I saw this episode I was eager to make the pies for my sweetpea. My practice run was lets just say,...educational. The mango filling was too watery so this made it extremely difficult to get enough filling in the pie with out the juice interfering with proper and ease of sealing. It was also apparent that the recipe turned out too tart for my taste so I reduced the vinegar to 1/3rd cup and the lime juice to 2 tbls. I aslo melted 2 tbls of butter into the filling before the cooling/setting step to solidify the filling easier placement. The second batch came out ABsolutely delicious. I used the baking and deep frying methods and we liked them equally. The dough is so simple and forgiving and just perfect. We are going to try a tortilla press on the dough to speed the rolling procedure. It just might work. Thanks for another fun and delicious recipe AB!!!
    I tried making the chocolate version of these, and they just plain didn't taste good. The filling was very grainy and way too sweet. Maybe, if the sugar was dissolved, or, as another viewer suggested- confectioner's sugar, it would have been better. Probably less butter, too. As for deep-frying them- they turned out really greasy, despite having them on racks to drain/cool. It might be better to pan fry or just bake them.
    This was an easy recipe to follow. The crust was easy to work with and rolled out with no problems. I wish I had cooked the filling on the stove before putting it in the pies - it was grainy. I fried my pies and I guess the filling didn't have enough time to cook.

    To the people that lost your filling - make sure you get the air out of the middle before you seal them. I didn't lose a drop of filling (but then again, I didn't bake mine either).

    All in all, I would call this a success. I wish I had made several varieties instead of 18 chocolate pies, but I have a feeling they will all be eaten.

    Thank you, Alton Brown, for the great show! If you weren't married, I'd come find you! :D
    I think I'm in love! Ladies and gentlemen, despite the multiple complaints about the loss of fillings (I to have suffered the choco-splotion) I may have discovered so fantastic that I cannot keep the lid on it!

    Okay, I can't really help with the explody problem but I DO have a fantastic filling option: raspberries and cream cheese!

    For the Cream cheese: 3T honey, 2T milk, 8oz Cheese
    For the berries: 4c fresh raspberries, 1.25c granulated sugar, 3T arrowroot powder

    *you smarty-pants people probably notices that this is just regular pie filling(^.^) I let mine sit for probably a half hour to get all wet and whatnot
    *Also, I used arrowroot because I like the shine it gives but you can use whatever(I think)

    Then, one T of the Cream cheese spread and one T of the raspberry stuff. It's PURE HEAVEN!!!!

    Okay, that said. I love this dough. I have made a PLETHORA of empanadas and suchlike with a variety of doughs and NONE are as user-friendly as this one.

    I had to give it only 4 stars because I wasn't trying to make chocolate volcanoes. . . then again, it's not really the recipe's fault. (^.^)
    Made these pocket pies twice. Both times with chocolate filling. The first filling was Alton's recepe and the second I used instant pudding. Tasted good but los all the filling in the oven. Whats up?? I used all the sealing techniques and poked holes in them, then cut slits in them, yet still the chocolate oozed out. WHAT GIVES??? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Kudos to Kristen in Yukon!
    Recipe was easy to follow, and came out great the first time. I used meat and potatoes for one filling, and followed his chocolate flilling for dessert pies. My kids had just as much fun eating them as they did saying "pass the meat pies please" with an english accent! This one's a keeper!
    I've been making fried pies for a long, long time but my pastry is similar to pie crust pastry. I tried your recipe which is more like biscuit dough and I also tried deep frying them. I had always fried mine in the skillet. I really liked them deep fried. They are super good. I like them better while they are still warm. I made 20 apple "hand pies" this morning. Yummy!!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe; I love your show. You are a C. H. A.R. A. C. T. E. R.!!!!!!!!!!
    I used the pastry recipe to make strombolis then filled them with sauce and toppings. Came out excellent!
    I lurves this recipe. In fact, it's so awesome, I sell the pan fryed version in my bakery "Little Snugglins' Unlimited".
    This is one of my favorite recipes. The main reason for this is that the potential for fillings goes way beyond the ones Alton covered in the show. For example, one of my favorite fillings for these pies is the leftovers from the Good Eats recipe for Sauerbraten. Also, if you're looking for a little extra flavor from the baked pies, I recommend using a basting brush to paint a little egg-wash on the outside of the pies. This improves the flavor a great deal. It also uses up the left-over egg-wash that is used to seal the pies. While I wouldn't recommend doing it if you're frying the pies, it really does improve the flavor of the baked pies.
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