I am a word nerd. And while this blog doesn't necessarily exemplify that aspect of my personality, I promise you it is true. When I hear someone say I absconded a cake, I mentally add the with. Word roots and the history of terminology fascinate me. And, then there is menu language. There is the high end. "Open" raviolo anyone? I am guilty of such language, though I am usually winking as I type such things. And, the ethnic menus, where words like chunks, pungent, rich might have any variety of meanings (not all good.)
Recently, the hand pie seems to be a hot menu word. According to the unfailing consistently correct Internet, the term hand pie is of American Southern origin. Having tested out pronouncing it with a drawl a la Dinah Shore, I have decided that sounds like a feasible assessment of the root. Basically, it is an individual, half-moon shaped pie in the vein of an empanada or pasty.
This version, savory Fennel, Ricotta and Feta Handpies, was very light. I used a dough that combined butter and shortening so it was moist and flaky. After creating a round 5 inches in diameter, I filled them with a mixture of fennel fronds and stems, ricotta, red pepper flakes, and plenty of feta cheese.
These were light and tasty, though you would need at least 3 to make a meal.