Savory, moderately spicy Mexican picadillo varies slightly in the details—here, we cook ground beef with onion, sweet peppers, oregano, and spices. Pimiento-stuffed green olives and dried currants give it salty-sweet undertones, the perfect filling to find in a flaky, buttery shell.
Game plan: You can prepare the picadillo filling up to 2 days before you assemble the pies. You can make the dough and refrigerate it for up to 1 day, or store it in the freezer for up to a month (transfer it to the fridge for thawing the day before you plan to make the pies).
- Yield: 8 to 10 individual pies
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr 10 mins, plus at least 45 mins chilling time
- Active: 40 mins
For the flaky pie dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup very cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), in small cubes
- 8 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) red bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1/4 cup tomato purée
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Crystal
- 1/2 cup sliced pimiento-filled green olives
- 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Flour, for dusting the work surface
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon warm water
To make the dough:
- In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour and salt. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Evenly sprinkle the water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface, press it together, then divide it in half. Press each half into a disk, then place the disks in a large zipper-top plastic bag. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes or as long as 1 day.
To make the filling:
- In large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until starting to brown. Add the green and red bell pepper and sauté until the vegetables are caramelized and brown. Increase the heat to high and add the beef. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the cumin and oregano and cook for another minute. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomatoes, hot sauce, olives, currants or raisins, honey, and salt. Cover and simmer gently until the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes. Cool the mixture completely before using.
To assemble and bake:
- Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 8 to 10 evenly sized pieces. On a floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Place the circles on the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
- Brush a thin layer of the egg mixture across half of each circle. Divide the filling among the dough circles, placing it in the middle of the circle. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half moon. Trim off the excess dough, leaving enough of a border to seal the pies. Press the edges with a fork to seal. Place the pies on the prepared baking sheet, arranging them evenly. Pop the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes. Brush the tops of the pies with the remaining egg mixture. Cut 3 slits in the top of each pie so steam can escape during baking.
- Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.