Sauté the chopped onion in oil until soft, then add cabbage and cook three or four minutes until completely wilted. Remove from pan. Add ground meat, salt and pepper, and brown until meat is almost done, breaking into small pieces; remove excess grease from the pan. Mix tomato paste with stock and Worcestershire sauce, add to pan with meat, and cook 5 minutes on low. Add potatoes, peas and carrots, onions and cabbage and bring back to a simmer. Add fresh and dried thyme, mix well, simmer a couple more minutes, taste and correct seasonings (add cayenne at this point if using).
Spread out to cool quickly if making pies the same day, otherwise put in container; cool, cover and store until ready to use. May be frozen at this point for later use or stored for up to three days in the refrigerator. Makes enough filling for 12 to 14 hand pies.
PIE DOUGH - Option 1
Use a stand mixer, food processor, pastry blender, or your fingers.
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar (and cayenne if using) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add shortening and butter and mix on low until pea-sized pieces are formed. Add ice water and mix until dough just comes together. Divide dough in two and roll into logs about 6" long and wrap in plastic wrap. Makes enough dough for 8 hand pies.
PIE DOUGH - Option 2
Use the ingredients called for, but follow the steps above for making the dough. Divide dough in two and roll into logs about 6" long and wrap in plastic wrap. Makes enough dough for 10 or 11 hand pies.
ROLL HAND PIES:
Remove plastic wrap from logs. Cut each log into 4 equal pieces, about 80 gr. (Note: Option 2-Bread Mix will make more disks of dough.) Flatten each piece of dough and roll between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment, from the center out, to make 6 ½-inch circles, about 1/8-inch thick. Turn the dough, and paper/plastic over as you roll, and release dough from the paper/plastic as you go. When approximately the right size, peel the paper off one side and cut out 6-inch circles, using a plate and knife or pan lid. Dough should handle pretty well if you are gentle. NOTE: if you don't have a rolling pin; use a wine bottle or just hand pat, using fingers and palm, to approximate size and shape.
Make a yolk and water wash (mix 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp. water with a fork), and use a small brush or your finger to paint half way around the circle on the edge. (You can skip the egg wash all together and use water, milk, or cream to seal the dough together.) Reserve the egg wash to brush the tops of the pies; do this right before baking, so it does not soften the dough.
Place ¼ cup cold filling in a half circle on one half, leaving painted edge clear. Gently fold over, using the plastic/paper remaining on the bottom, and press edges together slightly. Use a fork dipped in flour to press the edges together. Trim with a paring knife to make a clean-looking pie (if necessary). Repeat; place assembled hand pies on a parchment lined rimmed sheet pan and refrigerate until all are assembled. When dough feels firm to the touch cut two or three small steam vents in the top of the pies. (Remember to brush the tops with egg wash just prior to baking.) Chill well before baking. Freeze if saving for a later date.
BAKE THE PIES:
Pre-heat oven to 400°, with rack in the bottom third of oven. Brush tops with egg wash and bake 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 350° and bake 10 to 20 minutes longer, until edges are golden brown, and the tops are golden. Cool at least 5 to 10 minutes; if too hot, they can be breakable.
Bake frozen Irish Pasties by removing from freezer while preheating oven to 400°. Bake as instructed above. NOTE: It may take up to 10 to 15 minutes longer during the 350° baking time due to the product being frozen.
They are great hot or cold, and travel well.
Chef's Note: The filling can be anything that can be put inside pie dough. It is a great way to get rid of leftovers. You can make up a bunch of hand pies and have them in the freezer to have something easy and delicious, baked in less than an hour, at a moment's notice.
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