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an overhead shot of 9 puff pastry rectangular hand pies resting on a wire cooling rack

tuna melt hand pies

Rebecca
These flaky puff pastry hand pies are filled with creamy tuna and lots of melty cheddar cheese. perfect for lunch or a quick snack break. I've included instructions for making your own puff pastry, but, as the great Ina Garten says, "store bought is fine."
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
puff pastry time 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs
Course Main Course, Snack
Servings 8 pies

Ingredients
  

puff pastry

  • 375 grams all-purpose flour (a little more than 3 cups)
  • 225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks, 16 tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 60 grams apple cider vinegar (¼ cup)

tuna filling

  • 1 can tuna, drained (5.5 oz)
  • cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup red onion (small dice)
  • 1 stalk celery (small dice)
  • teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt (use a scant ½ teaspoon of another brand)
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper

egg wash & topping

Instructions
 

puff pastry

  • Cut cold butter into chunks then let them chill in the fridge at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix with your hand to incorporate.
  • Add the chilled butter cubes to the flour and toss to coat. Working quickly so the butter doesn't melt too much, squish the butter cubes between your fingers, rubbing the flour into the butter. The goal here is just to flatten all the cubes, it's ok if there are still some big chunks. Try not to handle the butter too much with your hands or it will melt.
  • Combine water, ice cubes, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Splash 3-4 tablespoons of liquid into the flour and butter mixture. Use your hands or a bowl scraper to mix well. Continue adding liquid 1-2 tablespoon at a time (in Erin's recipe she says she usually ends up adding 8-10 additional tablespoons, I've found I usually end up more around 6-8 additional tablespoons of liquid) mixing well between each addition.
    What you're looking for: When you squeeze the dough it should hold together without crumbling but it shouldn't be too wet. The flour will have plenty of time to fully hydrate when the dough rests, so if you aren't sure, err on the side of a slightly drier dough that.
    Squeeze the dough together and shape into a rough rectangle shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • On a clean surface lightly dusted with flour unwrap the chilled dough. Roll the dough into a rough rectangle shape (I like to use a bench scraper to square it off as I go, but it doesn't have to be perfect). Dust on extra flour if you need it, but don't use too much or it'll prevent the dough from sticking together in the next step (a process called lamination).
    Dust off any excess flour on the surface of the dough, then fold the rectangle in thirds (like you'd fold a letter). Roll it the folded dough out again into a rectangle shape, then repeat the folding process, this time in the opposite direction (fold the rough edges in). Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, repeat the rolling and folding process. Do this two more times — a 30 minute rest followed by two sets of letter folds.
    The entire rolling and folding process should take about 2 hours, with folds every 30 minutes. After the final set of folds, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight. It is now ready to be used.
    It will stay good in the freezer for several months or in the fridge for a couple weeks.

tuna filling

  • Combine drained tuna, mayo, red onion, celery, paprika, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a mini food processor. Run the food processor on the puree setting until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.
  • Add dill and cherry tomatoes and pulse several times, just until the cherry tomatoes have been decently chopped to pieces. Finally, add the shredded cheddar and pulse just a few times to combine, or stir it in by hand — you want bigger pieces of cheese to give that "tuna melt" vibe. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to use (it will stay good in the fridge up to a week).

assembly & baking

  • Remove chilled dough from fridge and roll into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Use a bench scraper to square off the edges of the dough as you go, but it's ok if the edges are a little rough or misshapen. You can trim any rough edges off, but you do want to be able to cut at least a 16x16" square with straight edges all the way around in the middle of the dough.
    Work quickly to keep the dough chilled — the thinner it gets, the warmer it will become and you don't want the butter to melt.
  • Divide the dough in half so that each half is 8x16". Place one sheet of dough on a parchment or silicone mat lined sheet pan in the fridge to chill while you work with the other half.
  • Cut the remaining sheet of dough in half so that you have two 8x8" squares. On one of the sheets of dough, use a ruler to lightly divide the dough into quarters without cutting through it. So each 8x8" square will have lines dividing it into 4x4" squares. This sheet of dough will be the bottom of your tuna melt hand pies.
  • Brush the egg wash along the outer edges of the dough and down the center lines. Spoon the chilled tuna filling into the center of each square, maybe 2-3 tablespoon per square.
  • Then, take the other 8x8" square of dough and gently drape it over the tuna. Start in the center of the dough and use the sides of your hands and flat fingers to press it down around the tuna filling, pushing out any air bubbles and being sure not to squish out any of the tuna.
    You should have about 1-1½" of flat dough running around each of the tuna pockets.
  • Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into quarters, separating the tuna pockets.
  • Use the tines of a fork to tightly seal the two sheets of pastry together by pressing down all around the edges of the dough right up to where the tuna filling starts. Trim away any excess dough around the edges.
    Place the four tuna hand pies on a silicone or parchment lined sheet pan and chill in the freezer for 30-40 minutes before baking. Repeat with the remaining dough and tuna filling.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F while the hand pies are in the freezer. Right before baking, cut one or two slits in the surface of the pastry (be careful not to cut into the bottom sheet of dough!), brush the hand pies with an egg wash and top with salt or everything bagel topping.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown and flaky. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm, room temp, or right out of the fridge. Store extras wrapped tightly in foil or saran wrap in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Video

Notes

  • If you don't want to make your own puff pastry, store bought will work fine.
  • You can freeze unbaked hand pies pies after cutting the slit in them on a sheet pan. Transfer the frozen pies to an airtight container. Before baking, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. You can bake them from frozen, but they may need an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven.
  • When working with puff pastry you always want to keep the butter as cold as possible. Try not to touch it with your hands too much. If at any point the dough seems too warm and malleable you can pause and stick it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before continuing.
  • This recipe was inspired by Erin Clarkson's (aka Cloudy Kitchen's) recipe for smoked salmon and cream cheese hand pies.
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let us how it was!