Pasties are hand pies filled with a savory filling. Sloppy Joe Pasties have a sweet, tangy, spicy meat filling wrapped in flaky pastry. They're fun, filling, and great for dinner!
Why this recipe works
- Making your own Sloppy Joe sauce allows you to control the sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness
- Homemade shortcrust pastry (with or without sourdough discard) is light and flaky, or use store bought pastry
- You can make the pastry and filling ahead of time, then assemble and bake just before serving
- Unbaked pasties can also be assembled and frozen for later baking
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.
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.
What are 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.
What you need
Besides ground beef, onions, bell peppers, and garlic, you'll need some seasonings and spices. You can 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. Any ground meat or meat substitute can be used in place of the ground beef.
Ghee is clarified butter, meaning that butter has been melted and the water and milk solids have been removed, leaving just the butterfat. Ghee has a much higher smoke point than butter so it provides all the flavor of cooking with butter without the worry of burning. It's usually found with Indian cuisines in major supermarkets. If you prefer, you can use a combination of butter and olive oil to replace the ghee.
How to make Sloppy Joe Pasties
Step 1: Prepare the meat and vegetables
Heat the ghee in a 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 (photo 1).
Add the onion and bell pepper to the 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 (photo 2).
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 (photo 3).
Step 2: Simmer the sauce
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 (photo 4). 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.
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.
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 (photo 6). I brush 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.
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.
Step 4: Bake the pasties
Place the pasties on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown (photo 7).
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. You can also serve it on a baked potato or spaghetti. For traditional Sloppy Joes, toast hamburger buns and fill with filling right after it has simmered (or warmed from defrosting). Serve hot and enjoy!
Pro Tip: Vary your pasty filling
Can I make other types of pasties? 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 or Blue Cheese Dressing while the pasties are baking), and you've got a fun and filling meal.
These pasties can be assembled and frozen for baking later. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe container or bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake at 375°F for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. That's dinner covered!
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 and tarts 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 or tart 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 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), or butter and olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef, ground turkey, or a meat substitute
- 1 cup onions, minced
- ½ cup bell peppers, minced, about 3 to 4 baby peppers or ⅓ large bell pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ⅔ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, either brown or yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- ¼ teaspoon 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 a 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 the 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 half 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 top of 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!
- You can make the filling and pastry ahead of time and assemble into pasties when you're ready to bake them. Unbaked pasties freeze well. Allow them to freeze until firm on a cookie sheet, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in an airtight bag. When you’re ready to bake, brush them with the egg wash and place on a baking pan. Bake at 375 °F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. No need to defrost! That's dinner sorted!