Dim Sum Beef Curry Puffs

When we were asked to make 2 different hand pies for The Great American Baking show, I knew instantly that I wanted to showcase the two sides of my culture growing up Chinese-American. The first hand pie was an American Breakfast Pie with eggs, sausage, peppers, onions all in a cheddar cheese pastry crust. You can find that recipe here. The other hand pie was something I ate at Dim Sum throughout my childhood. It's one of my favorites and a serious crowd pleaser! 

The key to this is to make sure the crust stays extra extra cold so you may make a few trips to the freezer during the process of making these. Also, make sure you dock little holes on the top of the puffs after you've shaped, chilled and before you add the egg wash. The same way you take a fork to your pie crust before blind baking it. This will ensure the puffs not getting soggy in the middle since they have little steam escape holes. 

This is a great recipe to make for day-of treats or make them in advance and keep them in the freezer until ready to bake. If you're baking from frozen, make sure to give them a little extra time in the oven.  

Dim Sum Beef Curry Puffs
Signature Savory Hand Pies Challenge on The Great American Baking Show
Makes about 13-14 hand pies  

Pastry Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup ice water (watch as you add it) 

Filling Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely cut
  • 1/2 lb of lean ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  •  4 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce (to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules

Other Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons of milk (to seal the dough)
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted white sesame seeds
  • Egg Wash (1 egg, 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon of milk)
  • Extra flour for dusting/rolling

Make the dough: 

1. Fill a measuring cup with water and drop ice cubs into it and set aside. Cut butter sticks into cubes and place into the freezer for 5 minutes. 

2. Place flour, sugar and salt into food processor. Pulse to incorporate. Remove butter from freezer and add into processor. Pulse to cut the butter until most of them are the size of peas. Adding 1/2 cup of ice-cold water into the mixture a little at a time while pulsing the processor to incorporate. Watch as you add the last 1/4 cup of water to ensure you aren't adding too much of it. Only need enough for the dough to come together.  May need more water for the dough to stick together but only add it 1 tablespoon at a time. 

4. Once you have large clumps and the dough can be pushed together with your hands, turn dough out on a lightly floured surface.  Gather and knead the dough together into one large disc. Divide dough in half, shape them both into a flat disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Place into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hr to overnight.

Make the filling: 

5. In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil and sauté the onions with 1 tablespoon of curry powder until the onions become translucent.

6. Add the beef, soy sauce and remaining curry powder. Cook until the beef is brown and then add salt to taste. Add MORE salt or soy sauce to ensure mixture is salty enough since some of the flavor will get absorbed into the crust after baked. 

Assemble & then bake the puffs: 

7.  Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. Place chilled dough on a lightly floured workspace and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Just like you would any normal pie crust. Using a 3-inch circle cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Regather scraps then repeat rolling and cutting. Place cut circles on baking sheet and into the freezer to re-chill for 4-5 minutes. 

8. Take cut pastry out of the freezer and make sure you're ready to work quickly! Lightly flour your surface, and using a smaller rolling pin roll out each circle to 1/8 inch thick. Brush the edges lightly with milk then place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the pastry circle. Fold over onto itself so it creates a half circle. Do your best to push the filling into the center so it doesn't get caught as you seal the edges. Use are fork to seal the edge of the puff. 

9. Place filled puff on baking sheet and repeat until you're all out of filling or pastry circles. Before you stick them into the freezer to chill, take a fork and lightly dock the tops of them.  Let the filled puffs chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes. 

10. When ready to bake, brush the tops with egg wash then sprinkle with roasted white sesame seeds.

11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry turns golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let it cool a few minutes then chow down!!