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Inspired by Old World recipes, these savory Minced Beef, Bacon & Cheese Hand Pies are rich with sharp cheddar, dried cherries, and fresh thyme and tarragon for a delicious addition to any picnic or potluck. #handpie #pie #pastry #larp #picnic | FeastInThyme.com

Savory Minced Beef, Bacon & Cheese Hand Pies

These savory Minced Beef, Bacon & Cheese Hand Pies are rich with sharp cheddar, dried cherries, and fresh thyme and tarragon for a delicious addition to any picnic or potluck. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword larp, picnic, pie, potluck
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 servings (24 hand pies)


Beef, Bacon & Cheese Filling

  • 6 ounces bacon, thick cut (about 5 strips)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (reserved)
  • 1 cup carrots, diced small (about 2 large carrots)
  • 1 cup celery, diced small (about 2 stalks)
  • ¼ cup shallots, diced small
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup fresh tarragon and thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Pie Dough

  • Your favorite pie dough (enough for 3 double-crusted pies)
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup flakey sea salt
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Flour, for dusting


  • 2 regular muffin pans


Prepare the Beef Filling:

  • Panfry the bacon in a large saute pan or dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the fat is rendered and the bacon just crispy but not overcooked, remove from the pan and let drain on paper towels. Remove all but one tablespoon bacon fat from the pan.
  • Sauté the diced carrots, shallots, and celery in the bacon fat. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender, and then toss in the minced beef and cook until just browned, another 3-5 minutes. Carefully drain the excess fat from the pan and return to the stove over medium heat.
  • Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up any burnt bits on the bottom of the pan, and let cook for 2 minutes more. Add the fresh herbs, dried cherries, and beef broth to the mixture and stir to combine. Cook until the liquids have reduced significantly, 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, chop up the bacon you set aside earlier. 
  • Remove the pan from heat, stir in the chopped bacon, and allow the mixture to come to room temperature. If making ahead, transfer the beef mixture to a sealed container and chill for 10 minutes up to overnight until needed.

Make the Bottom Pie Crusts:

  • Heat the oven to 400°F and prepare your muffin tins. Spritz the inside of each cavity with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour. Set the muffin tins aside, away from the preheating oven so that they stay room temperature.
  • On a clean, lightly floured surface, work with the pie dough in batches, keeping unused portions in the fridge to keep cold. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Using a cookie cutter or stencil, cut out 6-inch circles from the dough and press them gently into each muffin cup – You should use about two-thirds of the dough for the bottom crusts. The circles don’t have to be perfect, but you should have at least a quarter inch of dough overlapping the tops (a little more if you do not plan to make separate top crusts for the pies).
  • Sprinkle the bottom of each crust with a pinch of cheddar cheese, followed by about 1/4 cup filling so that it comes nearly to the top of the pastry. Top with another sprinkling of shredded cheese. Repeat until you run out of filling.

Assemble the Hand Pies in one two ways:

  • For simple pleated pies: Gently fold the dough of the bottom crust up and over the filling, “pleating” the dough into little folds at the top. The dough should nearly cover the entire top of the pie, allowing a little “vent” in the very center for steam to escape while cooking.
  • For tiny double crusted pies: Roll out the remaining third of the pie dough to the same thickness as the bottom crusts. Cut out 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter (or stencil). Set the pastry lids out on a tray or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cut hashmarks in the centers to allow for steam to vent while cooking. Working one at a time, place each circle of dough over the filling of each pie. Crimp the edges of the pie over the lid, sealing them tightly.
  • Once fully assembled, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush this over the tops of each hand pie. Sprinkle with a pinch of black sesame seeds and flaky sea salt.

Bake and Store:

  • Bake the hand pies for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and the dough appears cooked through. Remove from the oven, and let them sit for 8-10 minutes before gently removing them from the muffin tins. Serve warm, or follow instructions below for cooling and storage.


Choosing Your Pie Dough: You can use any double-crust pie dough you like for this recipe (including store bought!). If making your own dough, I suggest using one that is all or part butter.
To Freeze and Store: If not eating right away, you can store your pies in the freezer. Once your pies are cooked, let them come to just about room temperature on a cooling rack. Transfer the pies to a single baking sheet, and freeze individually (about 2 hours). Stack the frozen pies into freezer-safe containers or gallon bags and keep stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat your pies, arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake in a preheated oven set to 375°F for 15-20 minutes.