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Roasted Cauliflower and Manchego Hand Pies

July 22, 2014

chicken, veggies, and hand pies

Last weekend I got to try something new that I’ve been wanting to do for years–competitive picnicking. A few years ago, I was at a concert in Millennium Park and heard that there was a picnic contest. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun, so this year we joined the contest. We didn’t win, but we sure had a great time!  And delicious food :).  The theme for the picnic was Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. We needed to incorporate things like a love of nature and the country, peasants, shepherds, birds, a bubbling brook, a storm, etc.

Team: Country Folk

We started with a rustic homemade bread with butter and homemade cheese, goat cheese biscuits with strawberry preserves, and grapes, followed by these roasted cauliflower and manchego hand pies with quince paste. The main course was poached baby vegetables with caper aioli and roast chicken. Then we had a break from eating and had some sparkling water (I wasn’t sure what else to do for a storm…). Then, we finished with chianti chocolate cupcakes and coffee.

I would definitely make any of these foods again. These hand pies were delicious warm or at room temperature.  I found the quince paste to serve with the pies at Trader Joe’s.


2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup finely grated manchego cheese

pinch of sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces (1 1/2 sticks)

2 large egg yolks (1 for the crust, 1 for egg wash)

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

1 Tbsp cream, for egg wash


1 small head cauliflower, florets separated and sliced thinly

3 Tbsp + 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

2/3 cup hazelnuts

1 garlic clove

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

5 ounces manchego cheese, thinly sliced

To make the crust:

Mix flour, cheese, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 egg yolk and pulse to combine. Drizzle in 1/4 cup ice water and pulse until dough just comes together, adding a little bit more water only if needed.  Divide dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour, until firm.

To make the filling:

Toast the hazelnuts at 375 degrees F until the skins split, about 10-12 min. Let cool, then place in a clean kitchen towel and rub the skins off. (It doesn’t really matter if you can’t get it all off.)

Toss the cauliflower with 3 Tbsp oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake at 425 degrees F until golden brown (about 10-15 min.), flipping over part way through.  Let cool.

Pulse the hazelnuts and garlic in a food processor until roughly chopped. Slowly add 1/4 cup oil while machine is running. Add zest and rosemary and some salt and pepper. Process until the mixture becomes a rough paste.

To assemble:

Roll out a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out eight 4-inch rounds (or sixteen 3-inch rounds if you want to make mini hand pies). Spread about 2 tsp hazelnut mixture on each round (1 tsp for mini rounds), leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top with cauliflower and cheese slices.  Sprinkle with pepper and extra rosemary if you want. Mix the other egg yolk with the cream and brush the edges of the dough. Cut out eight more rounds (or 16 mini rounds) from the other piece of dough. Top each pie with another round of dough and press the edges together with a fork to seal them. Place the pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Use a small cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the dough scraps. Brush each pie with the egg wash, top with a cutout, and brush the cutout with the egg wash. Refrigerate about 30 min, until firm. Bake at 375 degrees F until crust is golden brown, about 30 min. Serve warm or at room temperature with quince paste.

assembling hand pies

(Recipe adapted slightly from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts)

Millennium Park


From → Appetizers

  1. Liz Fledderjohann permalink

    Your recipe looked so good, and I loved seeing the photos of you, John and your friends enjoying such a pleasant time in Chicago. Thanks for sharing your excellent recipes.

  2. You WOULD do something like competitive picnicking 😉 Looks like you had fun. Glad you could come for a picnic here!

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