Hand pies are the perfect compromise between a pastry and a hearty, savory knife-and-fork pie. The filling here consists of a simple but well-seasoned homemade cheese sauce that adds a comforting edge to tender, healthy broccoli. You can use fresh or frozen broccoli in the recipe (see recipe for details). With a pre-made refrigerated pie dough for the crusts, you'll find this recipe easy as pie!
For the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the flour and cook 15 to 30 seconds. Switch to a whisk and slowly stream in the milk while whisking constantly. Continue whisking until no lumps remain. Switch to a wooden spoon, bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the paprika and mustard. Stir in the cheese, stirring until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
For the hand pies: If using fresh broccoli, prepare an ice bath by filling a medium bowl with ice and water. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and allow to cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the broccoli and place immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and pat very dry. If using thawed frozen broccoli, just pat the florets very dry with paper towels.
Place the broccoli florets in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Stir the chopped broccoli into the cheese sauce and refrigerate until cooled and set, 1 to 2 hours.
When ready to form the hand pies, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay the pie dough out on a work surface. Cut out circles from the dough using a bowl or plate that is 4 inches in diameter and cutting around it with a paring knife. You should get a total of 8 circles. Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the broccoli-cheese mixture in the center of a dough round and brush the egg wash mixture around the edge of the circle, then fold one side of the crust over the filling, creating a half-moon. Press the edges to seal, then use the tines of a fork to press gently around the edges to seal again. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling.
Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash and prick with a fork or make a small slit with a paring knife in the top of each to release steam. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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