Friday, August 29, 2008

Fennel Handpies

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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.

13 comments:

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks really tasty - we both love fennel. I'm not positive that the Internet was right - I've seen hand pies in quite a few different cultures, and I'm pretty sure that one recipe pre-dates the American South. I could be misreading it, though.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Those sound lovely. I don't know why but I can never find fennel in the grocery store in FL. It is just too weird. Hubby loves it, so it is a real bummer to see something as delicious as this and know that I can't make it! :(
Looks beautiful!

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

I'm totally a word nerd too. It all started after I read 'Mother Tongue' by Bill Bryson. Have you read it? I now get the Wordsmith 'word of the day' -- today's word was 'pleonexia': (noun) excessive of insatiable covetousness...

a fairly esoteric food related one I got a while back was 'xerophagy': (noun) the eating of dry food, especially food that's cooked without oil. Who'd have thought there's a word for that?!

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

Words/language are/is the coolest! (I'm not being sarcastic.) =)

cookinpanda said...

Mmm hand pie. The term just conjures visions of extremely tasteful street food... fennel, ricotta and feta sound like a nearly perfect combination of flavors.

Dragon said...

The internet couldn't be wrong. Could it? :)

Lovely hand pie!

Susan said...

Nearly every culture has a hand pie of sorts, like they have pasta or pancakes. I've always found them very cozy and convenient, not to mention utterly delicious with so many possible fillings. This sounds quite delightful for an on-the-go lunch.

Pssst - You're not the only one who is into words. ; }

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

These hand pies look and sound so satisfying! I particularly enjoy foods that can be eaten with one hand and no utensils. :)

lifeinrecipes said...

A love of words comes through in your delightful writing. As does the love of food in your delicious photos.

Alexa said...

Words are delightful... I can relate. Your Fennel Ricotta pies are delectable. I would really enjoy them for lunch Delicious post!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I'm often at a loss for words when seeing food items I would like to eat, like, right now. Guess all my blood's going somewhere. . .

maybelle's mom said...

Fearless Kitchen: thanks. I figured the internet was wrong.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen: Thanks.

Jen (Modern Beet): We are clearly kindred. I love Mother Tongue and Wordsmith. wow, 'xerophagy'. for those with gout.

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver: thanks.

cookinpanda:thanks.

Dragon: thanks

Susan: Glad to find a kindred spirit.

Ari (Baking and Books): I love utensil free food.

lifeinrecipes: thanks H.

Alexa: glad to find a compatriot.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js: Thanks. it was yum.

Rose said...

Maybe I'm a different kind of word person. When I hear "hand pie," I think of some chopped up hands cooked in gravy and baked in a pastry!