Australian Meat Pies
Australian meat pies are iconic — sometimes even called Australia's "national dish" and often served to students for school lunch. These are hand pies, typically consisting of a baked pastry crust filled with beef and gravy, topped with more pastry crust. They're such an important cultural dish, in fact, that the country's Food Standard Code requires that they "must contain a minimum of 25% of meat flesh."
Originally from Liguria, torta pasqualina is now enjoyed throughout Italy, primarily around Easter. Spring greens — think artichoke leaves, Swiss chard, or spinach — are mixed with ricotta inside a puff pastry crust. Most importantly, whole eggs are baked inside. Historically, it was a cake with religious significance and featured 33 layers of thin pastry, one for each year Jesus was alive. But, religious or not, it's delicious and savory and vegetarian!
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Another iconic hand pie, Cornish pasties originated from Cornwall, U.K. They're another one that is so iconic that there is now a legal definition, by way of a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) as of 2011. Legally now, a genuine Cornish pasty must contain "roughly diced or minced beef, sliced or diced potato, swede (turnip), onion, and seasoning to taste (mainly salt & pepper)." It also must "be crimped into a D shape, with the crimp towards one side." Cornish pasties were particularly popular with the tin miners of Cornwall beginning in the 19th century as the hearty, all-in-one meals could be easily carried down into the mines for sustenance.
Recipe: The Spruce Eats
Jamaican Beef Patties
Jamaican beef patties, tinged yellow by fragrant turmeric, are hand pies filled with ground beef flavored with allspice, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, onion, and garlic. It takes its roots from a Cornish pasty, brought to Jamaica by British colonizers.
Recipe: Serious Eats
Colombian empanadas are also half-moon hand pies, and they consist of a cornmeal dough crust encompassing ground beef or pork, potatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro. In Colombia, they're served with ají picante, a hot sauce made of chiles, lime juice, and scallions for some acidity and spice.
Bisteeya — also known as pastilla, bastilla, b'stilla or bstilla — is a cozy Moroccan pie in a phyllo dough crust, featuring eggs and chicken (more traditionally squab), flavored with turmeric, cilantro cinnamon, and fresh almonds. Perfect for a dinner party on a winter's night.
Recipe: Bon Appetit
Part pot-sticker, part hand pie, xian bing is one of China's beloved street foods. Originally hailing from the north, it features beef, green onions, five spice powder, and soy sauce or oyster sauce. Fry it up and enjoy.
Recipe: China Sichuan Food
Coulibiac, which can be the shape of a pot pie, a meat loaf, or even a loaf of bread, is a traditional Russian pie with a brioche or puff pastry crust. Stuffed with salmon or sturgeon, it also contains rice or buckwheat, onions, hard-boiled eggs, and some dill.
Recipe: BBC Good Food
Nigerian Meat Pies
Nigerian meat pies are another hearty hand pie featuring ground meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions. What makes these uniquely Nigerian, though, is African curry powder (though other kinds of curry can be subbed in) and green bell peppers.
You likely already know and love quiche. But did you ever realize that it was a savory custard pie? The most historic quiche is quiche Lorraine, typically consisting of eggs, cream, and bacon or lardons, but you can find almost infinite variations, all of which are delicious.
Recipe: Southern Living
Bobotie pie, hailing from South Africa, is a sweet and savory frittata-like pie featuring ground meat (sometimes beef, sometimes lamb), curry powder, dried and sometimes fresh fruit, and sometimes nuts. It's been documented since the 1700s when Malay slaves were brought to the Cape of Good Hope. The pie is often garnished with chutney, walnuts, and bananas. It offers wonderfully autumnal flavors.
Quebecois Tourtière is meaty, rich, and filling — the perfect dish for Christmas or New Year's, when it is typically made. There are many different filling options — ground beef, lamb, pork, wild game, and sometimes even fish. Often, some cozy autumnal spices such as cloves or nutmeg will be added, as will garlic, potatoes, and onions.
Recipe: King Arthur Flour
Sweet and salty Chilean empanadas start with ground beef, raisins, black olives, onions, and hard boiled eggs. While there are variations, this combination — called pino — is the most traditional.
Recipe: The Spruce Eats
Piroshki, from Russia and the Balkans, can be savory or sweet. They are puffy, yeasted buns stuffed with any number of tasty fillings. Savory versions can contain dill-flavored braised cabbage, ground beef with onion and hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, cheese and onion, or more. Serve as a main, perhaps with a soup or salad on the side. Dip in sour cream for extra decadence!
Recipe: Valentina's Corner
Salvadoran empanadas can also be sweet or savory, but when they're savory, they are in a corn or plantain crust-based crust, tinged orange thanks to annatto seeds. The filling consists of ground beef or pork, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, cabbage, and more.
Recipe: Hispanic Kitchen
Ah yes, the famed pizza pie. You've likely heard of this one. While the term "pizza" was first recorded in the 10th century in the Lazio region, modern pizza was born in Naples. Supposedly, the famed Margherita pizza was invented in 1889 when Queen Margherita visited and the famed Pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito was charged with creating a pizza for her. She preferred the one with the colors of the Italian flag (green basil, red tomatoes, while mozzarella) and the Margherita pizza was born.
Recipe: Food & Wine
Greek spanakopita encases cooked cooked spinach, onions, feta cheese, eggs, and seasoning in a phyllo dough crust. It can be packaged as a little triangle-shaped hand pie, or as one large pie.
Recipe: The Guardian
Steak and Kidney Pie
There's perhaps no food more famously British than a steak and kidney pie. The long-cooked filling features beef steak, beef kidney, potatoes, butter, carrots, and black pepper. A proper stodgy meal that's been nourishing Britain for centuries.
Recipe: The Spruce Eats