Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Phancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers

Who Ate all the Pies? (irresistable would be an understatement!)

photograph picture recipe how to make fancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers pasties pies

At cooking school last week we learnt the recipe for a great savoury pastry dough and filled it with spiced lamb. The turnovers were difficult to resist and I instantly knew I wanted to make a version of them for the Super Bowl party I was going to on Sunday. On my way to work on Saturday morning I stopped off at the Ferry Building and Farmers Market to buy some ingredients. I still hadn't decided what to fill my little pies with, but in the back of mind I wanted to make something linked to one of the two teams. Being the clueless not-sporty, non-American that I am, all my little brain could remember was that one of the competing teams came from a city that began with the letter P. I searched my grey matter and concluded that it must be Philadelphia. It was the only place I could think of that fitted the bill. Brilliant, I thought to myself, I can make a philly cheesesteak filling for the mini-pasties. When I later learnt that the team I was thinking of was, in fact, Pittsburgh, I was a little bit embarassed to say the least. But once I tasted the delicious result and witnessed the speed with which the morsels disappeared from their little tin-foil nest at the Super Bowl gathering, I figured maybe my idea was not quite so dumb, after all.

If you are looking for a regular, standard version of cheesesteak, you have come to the wrong place. This is most definitely a recipe for people who appreciate top quality ingredients. Some might even say it's a recipe for food snobs.

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick (4 oz) butter cut into cubes
8oz cream cheese or fromage blanc
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients together in a food processor or Kitchen Aid until a dough forms. Wrap in waxed paper and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the filling:
2 finely-minced serrano chilies
Half a large or one medium onion, finely diced
1 oz butter
One ribeye steak, trimmed of any major fat deposits (about 8oz)
8 medium button mushrooms
3oz Ubriaco Cheese
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
salt and pepper to taste

-Melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently saute the onions and serrano until soft over low heat.
-Either mince the meat and the mushrooms in a meat grinder or finely chop into little cubes.
-Turn up the heat and add the steak, stirring until browned.
-Add the mushrooms and salt and turn down the heat. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until the meat and the mushrooms are cooked through.
-Finely cube the cheese and stir into the meat combination until it melts into the mixture.
-Add a generous shake of cayenne and further salt and black pepper to taste.
Resist the temptation to eat all the mixture, it's time to make the pies.

To Assemble the pies:
1 egg beaten and thinned out with a little water or milk.
Small bowl of cold water.

-Preheat oven to 450F
-Remove dough from fridge.
-Roll out until about an eighth of inch tick on a large floured board.
(This dough rolls out to about the width of a kitchen counter in both directions, so when I say 'board', actually 'entire counter' would be better.)
-Use a cookie cutter to cut out 3" wide circles of dough. You should be able to get at least 30 circles, probably more.
-One at a time, take each circle, dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the circle. Put just a teaspoon of the meat filling mixture into the centre of the circle.
-Fold the dough over to make a little moon-shaped pie and seal the edges by pressing along them with a fork.
-Transfer turnovers to a baking sheet.(I did mine in two batches.)
-Brush each pie with the beaten egg mixture and and then prick an air hole in the top of each one with a fork.
-Bake for 15 minutes in the top third of the oven until golden.
-Serve warm (not hot).

photograph picture recipe how to make fancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers pasties pies

You might have a little bit of filling left over. Don't worry - it is great heated up the next day as the filling for a toasted wholewheat pitta bread!

The beauty of this recipe is the dough. It handles really well. The possibilities for fillings are endless. Vegetarian, fish, meat, cheese, maybe even fruit? Just make up a mixture of something that sounds delicious to you and try it out. Make sure you cut whatever it is that you use into very small pieces so that you can get as much flavour as possible into that small one teaspoon of filling.

PS- Please save one for me!

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:
Organic Butter | from Straus
Cream Cheese | Cowgirls own brand fromage blanc
Mushrooms | from Far West Fungi
Seranno Chilies | From Capay Organic
Onion | from Chue's Farm
Sustainable, organic Ribeye Steak | from Prather Ranch
Ubriaco Cheese | from Cowgirl
Eggs | Marin Sun Farms
Cooking School | Tante Marie

Other Resources:
About | The Perfect Philly Cheesesteak
Orginators | of the Philly Cheesesteak?
The Best | Philly Cheesesteaks?

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:

Only half a pound lost this week. This could be due to one of a number of factors, or a combination of all of them: 1) I totally lost it at cooking school last week and consequently stopped counting points for the rest of the week. 2) Superbowl Sunday didn't help - I have no idea how much the turnovers above were worth point-wise, and I ate at least eight. I also ate cheese and chocolate and licked the spoon many times whilst I was making a dessert. I drank 3/4 bottle of sparkling wine at the party, nibbled on copious amounts of nuts and took a small slice of Brian's devillish cheesecake. 3) It's the time of the month for water retention. 4) My scales are only accurate to every half a pound (unlike official WW scales which I don't have access to), so I am not sure how much rounding up and down is going on. 5) For the first two to three weeks of a weight loss programme, you lose a lot more weight and then the weight loss slows down to of a rate of around 1 lb a week, so I can't expect thing to carry on with the resounding success of the first two weeks. What I do know is that I have to get back on track and restart counting those points again this week. I have strength, I will conquer.
23 19.5 17.5 17.0

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Is just a Myth, or is it something more than that?.

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Phancy Philly Cheesesteak Turnovers


  • At 8/2/06 08:24, Blogger Rose said…

    Philly, pittsburgh...well, you came close enough, same state at least :-)

    those turnovers look really cute. they're bite size, right? food always tastes better when it's smaller :-)

  • At 8/2/06 08:40, Blogger Alanna Kellogg said…

    Such a limey ... who won, anyway?

  • At 8/2/06 09:10, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What wonderful little pies! I want to try them soon. BTW, haddock did some fabulous crab pasties as part of a special dinner recently, equally enticing. You two could open a pie shop and call it Sweeney Todd's!

  • At 8/2/06 10:03, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These little pies look scrumptious! It's the perfect culinary storm: fussy enough for chicks, yet meaty enough for dudes. Love it.

    Sam, I had a great time in SF. Only made it to one restaurant in the city, though: Chez Papa. I did not have a great dining experience, unfortunately. Have you been?

  • At 8/2/06 10:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ack.. Should have searched your blog first. I see you had a great meal at Chez Papa; I must have gone on an off-night. Bummer!

  • At 8/2/06 10:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Same state, close enough. At least they inspired these good looking puppies. Man, I'm craving an empanada.

  • At 8/2/06 10:30, Blogger Stephanie said…

    As a born-and-raised Pennsylvanian, I think the entire state would disagree with the 'same state, close enough' line.

    That's like saying Berkeley is like LA... Pittsburgh Steelers won!

    Sam, if you ever decide to make it up to the 'Burgh, know that there is a large Polish population there. Anything that could fill a pierogie would work.

    And I adore your little pies; I even have a set of molds for them! Now I'll have to come up with my own fillings...

  • At 8/2/06 10:36, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't think I've ever seen cuter pies than these!

  • At 8/2/06 10:47, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's 1:40 in Delaware and I have not had lunch yet ... can you have some of those wonderful looking cheesesteaks to me by ... the next 15 minutes (ggrawaqakgowigilll) sorry, that was my stomach growling. They look incredible and it sounds as though they were a big hit.

  • At 8/2/06 11:19, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Sam, your links are a crackup!
    Here's one more: Pasties!

  • At 8/2/06 11:46, Blogger Banlieue Blog said…

    mmmm......recipe looks great!

  • At 8/2/06 13:18, Blogger Monkey Gland said…

    Little cornish pasties they look to me!

  • At 8/2/06 13:55, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sam they look really good dad's drooling you know his passion for pasties. Cookiecrumb's link and your suggestion about different fillings reminded me of the pasty shop in Padstow Cornwall. We tried all sorts of fillings when we were there last year eg rhubarb and custard which was a hit with Dill and Jooles

  • At 8/2/06 14:24, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Those look (and sound) absolutely gorgeous - congratulations! And congrats on sticking to the WW regime too - wish I had your self-control and drive!!

  • At 8/2/06 14:28, Blogger Hungry Hedonist said…

    MM, the pies look scrumptious. I'm not a huge fan of superbowl, but with those pies, I'm there.

    You're in cooking school--how is it?

  • At 8/2/06 14:39, Blogger Rose said…


    I didn't say or mean that Pittsburgh and Philly are the point was that Sam came close enough in guessing one of the states being represented and considering she is not from the US nor grew up with american football I thought that was pretty cool of her.

    The US is a huge country with lots of cities that seem very similar. It can get really confusing for a foreigner--my own foreign born mom didn't know that mississipi and missouri were different states until she had lived here for over 10 years.

    Anyway, the outcome of it all was delightful looking, cute, tiny turnovers and a great recipe she shared with all of us.

  • At 9/2/06 00:57, Blogger Passionate Eater said…

    Don't worry, I made the same mistake (of eagerly talking about Philly Cheesesteaks) to one of the CEO-like people from my company when I found out that he is headquartered in Pittsburgh. He just looked at me blankly and said, "I hope you know, Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania."

    I thought, "OH CRAP, I thought they were in the same states!!" (I too was confused, and I'm American!) Later, I asked a friend who had gone to Carnegie-Mellon, and he berated me for being "dumb as a Californian." He also used the "it-would-be-like-someone-compared-SF-and-LA" analogy. Huh.

    No worries though Sam. Your delicious recipe is enough to bridge the gap between any two cities--even if they are in different countries!

    I loved your post!

  • At 9/2/06 10:38, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Sam,

    This is a fantastic recipe!

    I used the dough recipie to modify a little empenada recipe I was working on and it turned out fantastically!

    Thanks a lot.

    Here's a link to the Empanada recipe: tapas

  • At 9/2/06 12:10, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As my mother always says about weight loss, losing is still losing.

  • At 9/2/06 19:56, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OH! You pass by the Ferry building on the way to work ... I am ever so jealous!

    (These little darlings look delicious!)

  • At 10/2/06 08:07, Blogger Sam said…

    rose - yes and you can eat 3x as many !

    ak - a team whose name began with an S?

    Kudzu - would I be the sweeny or the todd?

    maya - Chez Papa - many times - it used to be my favourite - unfortunately it has gone a bit down hill I think, annoying since we moved into its neighbourhood.

    vanessa - the good thing is that these just got inveented as far as I am concerned.

    Barbara - try it and blog it!

    Stephanie - maybe you could find a red-coloutred filling to match your cocktail party?

    PearlOnion - trouble is with them - one minute you see them looking all cute, next minute they are gone, poof, disapeared, all of them!

    Mark - sorry to make your tummy rumble

    Cookiectumb - I was hoping you'd link to some American Pasties, not British one.

    Melissa - umm, yes

    Monkey - Go on then - you can make the pasties

    Passionate Eater - building bridges sounds like my cup of tea

    Anon - thanks for the link - glad you found success with it

    Amanda, yes, at least I am still going in the right direction - arent we meant to be meeting up soon?

    Lex - I am just not going to tell you about cooking class. It is SO SO good.

    Ivonne - dont be jealous of me having to go to work on a Saturday, believe me, and having to get up REALLY early just so I can do my weekly shop on the way.

    thanks all

  • At 13/2/06 13:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These sound fabulous! I was thinking of trying them for a party I am hosting this coming weekend, but I am not at all sure if I can locate Ubriaco cheese. Could you recommend a substitute?

  • At 13/2/06 15:59, Blogger Sam said…

    I was just being hoity toity with the cheese, and I think provolone would be a more authentic choice. I hope they work out well for you! Good luck and enjoy!

  • At 21/2/06 06:56, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I did make these - I used provolone - for my soiree on Saturday and they were fabulous! They were eaten right up! Thankss!

  • At 1/2/08 11:10, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Sam, I see the answer to my cheese question in comments (wish I had seen that BEFORE I went to the store :/), but I was also wondering about the serrano chilies...what's a good sub for those if I can't find them?


  • At 1/2/08 11:13, Blogger Sam said…

    any hot chili would do, or even medium probably. or dried chili if you can't get fresh. green pepper if you don't like hot?


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