Sloppy Joe Pasties (aka hand pies) have sweet, tangy, spicy meat filling wrapped in flaky pastry. They're fun, filling, & great for dinner!
What do you get when you cross a messy sandwich filling with pie?
Sloppy Joes pasties!
Yes, it's a new take on a family favorite comfort food. Serve a saucy, tangy ground beef filling inside a shortcrust pastry, and you get a fun hand held pie.
Start with Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes are a sandwich made with loose meat (like ground beef or turkey) in a tangy sweet and savory tomato sauce usually served on a soft hamburger bun. The filling comes together in minutes, and it's an easy weeknight dinner.
This easy Sloppy Joe recipe takes that idea and encases the filling in shortcrust pastry instead.
It might take a few extra minutes to prepare the dough and bake the pasties instead of just throwing the filling on a bun, but think about this...the components of Sloppy Joe Pasties can be made ahead and baked later, saving time!
That's right, the filling and shortcrust pastry can be made earlier, then assembled and baked when you're ready. Or prepare unbaked pasties and skip right to baking them.
Basic shortcrust pastry allows the hand pies to be...uhm...held in your hand. It's sturdy enough to hold its shape, but still has the flaky texture of regular pie crust.
Better yet, use your sourdough starter discard to make a sourdough shortcrust pastry, and you'll add another dimension of flavor.
Steps to making Sloppy Joes from scratch
Put away that canned Sloppy Joe sauce. You can do better!
The secret here is to make your own homemade Sloppy Joe sauce. That way you can control the different flavor levels of sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness to your liking.
Step 1: Prepare the meat and vegetables
I use ground beef, but you can use whatever ground meat or meat substitute that you prefer. Don't like bell peppers? Use something else, or remove them entirely.
Step 2: Simmer the sauce
Here is where you get to adjust the recipe to your liking. Use more or less chili powder, brown sugar, mustard, and pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce to your preference.
Also, you can make the Sloppy Joe sauce as wet or dry as you prefer by adjust the simmering time. Just know that you don't want the filling too wet in the pasty or it will drip when you take that first bite.
Step 3: Assemble the pasties
Roll out the shortcrust pastry to less than ¼-inch thick, then cut out 6-inch circles. I use a 6-inch round cookie cutter (the same one used in Checkerboard Cake), but you can also use a paring knife and trace around a small dinner plate.
Spoon about three tablespoons of the filling onto the pastry. You want enough to fill the pastry, but not so much that you can't get a good seal on the edges. Crimp well so the filling won't leak during baking.
I find that 6-inch circles are great for meal-sized pasties. For a fun party-style appetizer pasty, use a 4-inch round cookie cutter instead. Reduce the filling to about two tablespoons.
I use an egg wash on the edges of the dough to get a good seal, then brush the tops of the chilled pasties again before baking to get a nice sheen.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions that you might have...
Sure. Since it's the sauce that really gives Sloppy Joes its distinctive flavor, use whatever loose meat or meat substitute in the filling that you prefer.
If you prefer, you can substitute my basic shortcrust pastry recipe, prepared without sugar, instead of the sourdough shortcrust.
Leftover filling can be frozen for later to make traditional Sloppy Joes or more pasties. For traditional Sloppy Joes, toast hamburger buns and fill with filling right after it has simmered (or warmed from defrosting). Serve hot and enjoy!
Absolutely! Hand pies can be made out of most any type of firm pie filling, both sweet and savory. Think about fillings like Apple, Chicken Pot Pie, or the more traditional Beef and Potatoes. For another twist, make Moroccan Beef pasties instead!
You've got dinner covered
Sloppy Joe Pasties are sweet, tangy, spicy goodness wrapped in a flaky shell.
Add a green salad (maybe make an Herb Vinaigrette while the pasties are baking), and you've got a fun and filling meal!
Sure you can make an old fashioned Sloppy Joe recipe, but really...
...go beyond the bun and make Sloppy Joes a new way.
They might become a new family favorite!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Pies can be sweet or savory, and there are so many fillings from which to choose. From fruits to nuts and custards, there's bound to be a pie that catches your fancy! Here are a few choices to try.
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Sloppy Joe pasties (aka hand pies)
- rolling pin
- pastry brush
For the crust
- 1 recipe sourdough shortcrust pastry, see Recipe Notes
For the filling
- 1 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter), see Recipe Notes
- 1 lb ground beef, see Recipe Notes
- 1 cup onions, minced
- ½ cup bell peppers, minced, about 3 to 4 baby peppers or ⅓ large bell pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ⅔ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp prepared mustard, either brown or yellow mustard
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- dash hot pepper sauce, optional
- 1 large egg white, plus 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- Prepare the crust: Prepare the sourdough shortcrust pastry dough and chill while you prepare the filling.
- Prepare the filing: Heat the ghee in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown the ground beef in the skillet, breaking up any clumps, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain away the accumulated liquid.
- Add the onion and bell pepper to same skillet. Sprinkle the salt over the onions and bell peppers and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and chili powder and cook for another minute until the vegetables are well coated and the tomato paste has darkened slightly.
- Return the ground beef to the skillet and stir it into the vegetable mixture. Add the ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes (if using), black pepper, and hot pepper sauce (if using). Stir well to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. If the mixture is getting too dry, add water in 1 tablespoon increments. Adjust the seasonings for sweetness and spice as desired.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the filling to cool while you roll out the pastry.
- Assemble the pasties: On a lightly floured surface, roll the shortcrust pastry out to ¼-inch thickness (about the height of two stacked quarters). Turn the pastry as you roll to avoid it sticking to your surface.
- Use a 6-inch round cookie cutter to cut out six circles of dough, re-rolling the dough as needed.
- Whisk the egg white and water together for the egg wash.
- Place about 3 tablespoons of dough onto half of a dough circle. Brush the edges of the circle with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Fold the other have of the dough circle over to seal in the filling, pressing the edges together well. Crimp the edges by pressing with the tines of a fork, or create a decorative rolled edge if you’re feeling creative. Cut three slits in the top of the pasty to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Chill the pasties for 30 minutes to firm up the pastry. While the pasties are chilling, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet baking pan with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Brush the pasties with the egg wash, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Serve hot and enjoy!