Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bacon Cheeseburger . . . Pie?

Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles
Hoagy Carmichael wrote and recorded this song back in the 30s but I think Ray Charles' and Willie Nelson's recordings are the most recognized!  Both did a great job - but I'm sticking with Ray on this one!  Although it is said that the song was written about Hoagy's sister, it became clear that it flows sweetly as a homage to the beautiful state as well and was made the state song in 1979.  I recently made a trip to Georgia.  I've passed through this state many times flying and driving here and there all over the world but it's never been THE destination.  This time it was and all I can say is WOW!  It was a short trip but packed with pleasant discoveries around every corner!  One of the best discoveries was the food!  It all started in an Italian restaurant called La Pietra Cucina in Midtown Atlanta that happened to have a good Zagat rating, which was well-deserved.  From the helpful guidance of the best server I have ever had - ever - we enjoyed an outstanding meal and were then given tips to other foodie delights in town, like Pie Shop, on Roswell Road.  We almost didn't make it there.  Thank goodness for traffic!

A couple weeks ago I was in Atlanta, Georgia on a trip with my husband.  We were only going to be there a few days and were hoping to make the most of our time.  We were happy to find that that's an easy quest around there!

One day we decided to drive over to Augusta.  You see, my husband is a big fan of golf.  And, as many of you may know, The Masters is a major golf tournament played annually in Augusta.  We had just missed being there for this year's event, but we thought we'd head on over and get a souvenir.  We checked the website and it did, indeed, have a pro shop.  Eager to see the countryside a little closer than thousands of feet in the air, we hopped in the car for the two hour drive over!  With no problem at all we drove straight to . . . the guard house?  We knew it was an exclusive golf club - members only and all on a short but "Who's Who" sort of roster.  But we figured, naively, that there would be a place where one could get a logo golf ball or towel.  Well, the friendly guard at the gate sympathized with us but told us "No sir" and "No Ma'am" that such an opportunity did not exist unless we were ticket holders to and attended The Masters or we were guests of one of the members.  Guess who was neither!  He did, though, suggest we try looking for some in the excellent antique shops down on Broad Street - which we did with success!

We headed back to Atlanta but, when you mix heavy traffic with road construction and car accidents, a two hour drive tends to slowly extend to almost four hours, and we were forced to cancel a dinner reservation at a hot spot in town.  We started thinking about those places that the server from La Pietra Cucina had mentioned for a Plan B.  He had asked if I liked pie.  Silly man!  I am the Pie Lover of All Time!  He professed his own love of pie and said that there was a little shop in town, simply called Pie Shop, that served the good stuff - all made in-house - sweet AND savory - flaky crusts filled with fresh local offerings!  As I recalled his descriptions I googled the place on my phone and found that we could be there before closing!  Yes!

He was right in that it was a little hard to find - not along the main drive but out behind a nail salon!  I was a little hesitant at first.  The place was deserted except for us and the server behind the counter and the place only seated about 12 people!  Shouldn't a great pie place be 1.) overflowing with people and 2.) have seating for all those people that swarm here - as happens in really good eating places?  Hmmmm.  We were hungry, though, and he had proved so very right on his other tips that we decided we were staying!  Wahoo! So glad we did!  We decided to share a Potato Leek Au Gratin pie for our dinner and I chose a Chocolate Ganache Pie for dessert while my husband had a Strawberry Hand Pie.  And, out of curiosity, I had her throw in a couple of these little two-bite Bacon Cheeseburger Hand Pies.  Everything was delicious but those little Cheeseburger buddies were AWESOME!!

Right away the chef in me comes out and I declare to my husband that "I can make these at home!"  He said it would be great with him if I did.  As we were finishing our meal the server came over and asked how things were.  When I told her how much I loved the little Bacon Cheeseburger Pies she got real chatty and, before I knew it, I had all the info I needed to recreate them!  Thank you!  It took two tries to get the pastry right - you need to work the fat into the flour in a more finer crumb than I usually do.  It creates a softer pie dough as opposed to flaky.  For these little guys, the softer crumb is better.
These little hand pies will be great for picnics, school lunches, appetizers - they will be welcome anywhere!  Tasty treats for hands of all sizes!

Bacon Cheeseburger Hand Pies
Printable Recipe Card
makes 12 small pies
1 recipe of pie dough, working the fat in until a uniform crumb appears

1/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 of a white onion, minced
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
4 dill pickle chips, minced
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 egg

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef and onion and stir until the beef loses it's pink color and is crumbly.  Season with salt.  Remove from heat and cool.  I like to put the meat mixture on a chopping board and run my knife through to make an even smaller crumble.  It handles easier, I think.

Prepare the pie dough and roll out until 1/8" thick.  I used a 4 1/2" round cutter to make my little circles.  These made larger pies than the ones at Pie Shop but I wanted to have more than two bites!  I found that I could reroll my pie dough once without compromising the quality of the dough.  I ended up with 12 pie dough circles.

Make an egg wash by beating the egg with 1T. water in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, brush the outer edges of the circle.  Place 1 1/2 T. of the meat mixture just off center of the circle then top with a few little pieces of the pickle, a few crumbs of the bacon, and 1 T. of the cheese.  Or more.
My daughter and I decided that more cheese, as usual, would be a good idea next time!
Fold the circle in half, being sure to enclose your little bundle of treasures, and press the edges together.  Use a fork or a pastry cutter to seal and trim the edges.
Once all are filled, place on a parchment lined sheet tray and give the tops a brush with the egg wash and pierce lightly with a fork.  Chill while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Patio Dining Perfection!!


  1. I made these for dinner last night and received rave reviews from my family! They were delicious! This will be added to my recipe box to have again soon. Thanks for a fun recipe that we could take on the go :)

    1. I'm so glad your family enjoyed them! I've been thinking it's time to make them again! They'd be great for tail-gater parties!