Ham and Cheese Hand Pies

Tasty Ham and Cheese Hand Pies which are a great way of using leftovers. These hand pies are filled with ham, béchamel sauce and vegetables, but you can use any leftover meats and vegetables you like.

ham and cheese hand pies on blue plate with salad and blue napkin

Cooking with Leftovers

My mother is someone who can effortlessly create a delicious three-course meal from a simple fridge raid, with an uncanny ability to never let anything go to waste. Sadly, I did not inherit this talent, nor did I inherit the palate to eat leftovers.

There have been periods of frugality where I would re-serve and reinvent leftovers, but these moments have often been brief, especially once I would inevitably arrive at a point where each meal was always incorporating something leftover and I was forever feeling burdened by any excess food.

ham and cheese hand pies with salad on blue plate and white pepper grinder

Hand Pie Recipe

But as a mother to two young children, leftovers are inevitable and I have had to teach myself to become creative with whatever food I might find in our fridge, as well as try to minimise food waste as far as possible.

And this recipe for hand pies from Rachel Khoo’s cookbook, My Little French Kitchen, has been a godsend.

ham and cheese hand pies on blue plate with salt and pepper

Ham and Cheese Hand Pies

These Ham and Cheese Hand Pies are essentially little puff pastry parcels filled with ham and vegetables swathed in a savoury and cheesy béchamel sauce.

Comfort food in a little package.

How to Make Ham and Cheese Hand Pies

What’s really lovely about this recipe is that you can use whatever leftover cooked meat and vegetables you have, provided that they would go well with a cheesy béchamel sauce.

Suggestions for proteins include:

  • Shredded roast chicken
  • Flaked cold fish

Suggestions for leftover vegetables in these hand pies include:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Broccoli

For this reason, I haven’t stipulated quantities for the meat and vegetables in the recipe below.

My tip is to add just enough béchamel sauce to bind everything together comfortably; the pastry puffs will leak if there is too much sauce, or they will be too dry if there is not enough sauce.

three ham and cheese hand pies on white plate

I originally intended to try this recipe as something for hubby and I to enjoy at dinner, but we were both surprised to discover that son was also happy to munch on some mini-sized pastry puffs I had made for him, oblivious to the vegetables which were masked by the savoury béchamel sauce.

I guess he’s like his mother after all – we both have a soft spot for anything wrapped in puff pastry.

Print

Ham and Cheese Hand Pies

5 from 2 reviews

Tasty Ham and Cheese Hand Pies which are a great way of using leftovers. These hand pies are filled with ham, béchamel sauce and vegetables, but you can use any leftover meats and vegetables you like. Perfect for snacks and light meals.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

For the Béchamel Sauce

  • 30 g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 30 g (¼ cup) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • ½ chicken stock cube (optional)
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • freshly grated nutmeg

For the Hand Pies

  • 100 g (3½ oz) Comté, Gruyère or Cheddar cheese (cut into 1cm chunks)
  • ham or other cooked meat (e.g. shredded roast chicken)
  • boiled potatoes, cut into 1 cm chunks
  • boiled carrots, cut into 1 cm chunks
  • chives, finely chopped
  • 46 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg mixed with some milk for egg wash

Instructions

For the Béchamel Sauce (for step-by-step photos, please see my recipe for Béchamel Sauce)

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the flour and stock cube (if using) and cook the paste for about 5 minutes.
  3. Slowly whisk in the milk.
  4. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens to the consistency of double cream.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, add some freshly grated nutmeg, and leave to cool completely.
  6. The sauce will thicken more upon cooling.

For the Hand Pies

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F) (without fan).
  2. Place the cheese, meat, vegetables and herbs into a large bowl.
  3. Add enough béchamel sauce to bind everything together.
  4. Cut out rounds from the puff pastry, about 12-16 cm (5-6 inches) in diameter.
  5. Spoon some of the filling onto one side of the pastry, fold over and use a fork to seal the edges.
  6. Brush with egg wash and bake for about 30 minutes until they are lightly golden.

Kitchen Notes

Take care not to overfill the pastry puffs, otherwise they will burst and leak in the oven.

You can also use this recipe to make more traditional looking pies in muffin tins or even a large pie tin. Simply line the tins with puff pastry with enough for overhang, fill with the mixture, and cover with another layer of puff pastry. Trim the edges and brush with egg wash before baking.

VARIATIONS
Please treat this recipe as a guide and use any meats or vegetables you like. Other suggestions include: *  leftover roast or boiled chicken, shredded *  leftover cooked firm white fish, flaked *  frozen peas *  mix of frozen peas, carrots and corn

FREEZER TIPS
You can make these pastry puffs ahead of time (omit the egg wash) and freeze them in freezer bags for a couple of months. Brush with egg wash just before baking, and bake them from frozen.

RECIPE CREDIT
This recipe is adapted from My Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 460
  • Sugar: 2.8g
  • Sodium: 241.6mg
  • Fat: 30.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.8g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 11.1g
  • Cholesterol: 32.5mg

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird

Update

This recipe was first published on 22 January 2014. It has been updated with more comprehensive recipe notes.

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23 comments

  1. Gorgeous photos Thanh! Your pastry puffs look stunning too. Your pastry work is so neat. Oh how I wish it wasn’t so ridiculously hot and humid here that I could work with pastry much more easily.

    I can understand how frustrating it is dealing with children’s likes and dislikes. The rule with my stepsons is that whatever we serve for dinner is what we are having, there is nothing else, and that they have to try everything on their plate. If they don’t like it, fine, but they have to try it with an open mind. Of course I won’t make something that contains something they genuinely don’t like, but they have to try things. I remember before my husband and I were married there were quite a few things that they didn’t eat, and that my youngest stepson absolutely refused to touch mushrooms, until one day I told him to try them and to try them without deciding he wasn’t going to like them. Now my mushroom spaghetti is one of his favourite things to eat. Good luck! 😀

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 23 January 2014

      Thanks, Jennifer! I think I would melt in the current heat in Brisbane!

      I’m not sure at what age we can start being strict about mealtimes? My philosophy is much like yours, except it’s a little difficult to negotiate with a 14 mth old at the moment. We’ve stopped offering many alternatives and he generally only has the choice of what we’re serving him. There are some meals where he will hardly eat because it’s mostly veg on offer, but I’m quietly hoping that he’s smart enough to not starve himself! But our first rule is to not make mealtimes a stressful ordeal and hopefully, in time, he will be more adventurous like his parents 🙂

      Reply
  2. Anita Menon 23 January 2014

    My daughter likes her veggies – all of them except brinjals/ egg plant.So i was always quite content knowing she is a lot like me 🙂
    I looooove your photos! Gorgeousness and perfection.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 23 January 2014

      Thanks, Anita! Maybe our kids could have a playdate?? 😉 Sounds like you did something right very early on!

      Reply
  3. Paula 23 January 2014

    Moms are always so good with leftovers! I’m a mess! I make a dish with leftovers, and then I buy 20 new things that I don’t need to prepare that leftovers dish. Terrible me!!

    I guess the secret is being a mom 😛

    Recipe is great, and I like the idea of using béchamel, to give it that creamy touch. So, you don’t even think that you’re eating leftovers 😛

    They are really nice, I always use too much or too little filling in pastry.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 23 January 2014

      Yes, things change a bit when you become a mother … you become a lot like your own mother! It’s rather scary sometimes, LOL!

      I think what annoys me most about leftovers is being restricted with what I can cook next, especially if I have to buy lots of new ingredients just to use up some leftovers. It sort of defeats the purpose, no? Admittedly, some meals are better suited to leftovers than others. But I’m happy to make a Béchamel sauce – I always have the ingredients on hand and it makes everything taste better 🙂

      Reply
  4. Rushi 23 January 2014

    Such beautiful presentation Thanh and I must say that’s such a handy recipe to have up your sleeve. I’ve made a similar version but minus the béchamel sauce. This might sound stupid but did you put the pastry in a little mould before you baked ’em to get that pretty star print on it.

    I’m hopeless when it comes to leftovers, I just make enough for myself & hubby. I’d get bored with leftovers, I guess I inherited that from my mom 😀

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 23 January 2014

      Hi Rushi,
      I simply cut out a star from some scrap pieces of pastry and stuck it on top of each parcel with some egg wash 🙂 I stole the idea from Rachel Khoo’s book as her pastry puffs were also decorated with stars. Normally I wouldn’t bother but they do look prettier! Hope you are well 🙂

      Reply
      • Rushi 6 February 2014

        That’s such a clever idea. You could do hearts for Valentine’s… Anyway I found the pâte feuilletée so I’m all lined up to make ’em this afternoon. I have some cold roast chicken which I’ll be using up instead of ham. Hope all’s well on your end. 😀

        Reply
        • eat, little bird 11 February 2014

          Hearts are a lovely idea! Glad you found the pâte feuilletée (sorry, meant to respond to your email sooner!). Roast chicken would be great in a dish like this. Hope you enjoyed it!

          Reply
  5. Yead 23 January 2014

    This looking so beautiful. i love this food. Great idea/

    Reply
  6. The Food Sage 25 January 2014

    Now i know what to do with the last of the Christmas ham – which is begging to be used up in something other than pasta salad! Lovely work – thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  7. Anna's Kitchen Table 29 January 2014

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. Really, who could possibly turn these gorgeous little things down.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 29 January 2014

      Thanks, Anna! And I agree … even our little one couldn’t resist these pastry puffs 🙂 In fact, I’m making them again tonight! Slightly different filling this time, though.

      Reply
  8. Cecilia 30 January 2014

    I understand your dilemma! I have it threefold(the youngest is 5 and the oldest is 9), Mealtimes are often a minefield each child and their dad with their own preferences. Sadly, one finds the things that they will all eat and the menus can get a bit monotonous. In frustration, I do serve new things and not always with great success. However, I will say it does get better as they get older and more adventurous. School dinners help, they are served a wide variety of foods that they must try and that they would turn their noses up when at home. We live in the south-west of France so the school dinners are usually quite good. I will try these just for the fun of it and to use up those pesky leftovers! BTW, your photos make the food very inviting. Well done!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 31 January 2014

      It’s good to know that things will get better as the kids get older. I used to feel frustrated when our son would ignore most of the food on his plate, but I now quietly feel that he’s smart enough not to starve himself 🙂 At most meals, he will eat the same food as us, but sometimes he will just eat very little. I’m hoping that, once he goes to playgroup or daycare and sees other children eating, he will also be more curious about food. I know I was a picky eater when I was a child …

      Hope you will enjoy this recipe 🙂

      Reply
  9. ginger and scotch 28 March 2016

    My first child is a lover of vegetables from his first bite. My second subsists on a diet of Cheerios, bread, and dessert. So now I find myself for the first time contemplating how to hide vegetables in her food. Thank you for the inspiration from your recipe – we have some frozen puff pastry in the freezer so may try this tonight.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 31 March 2016

      LOL!! Isn’t it interesting how your own children can be so different from each other? My 1 year old is in the process of eating more solid food and she seems to love absolutely everything. She surprised everyone today by eating a good portion of sautéed leeks! But my son also surprised us by eating a plateful of salad without us even offering it to him!! There is light at the end of the tunnel after all ? Hope you will enjoy this recipe!

      Reply
  10. Madeleine 10 April 2018

    What a delicious recipe! I made this with leftover roast chicken and used some frozen vegetables. My family want me to make this again soon!

    Reply
  11. Julia 12 April 2018

    This looks sooooo good! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST!!

    Reply