Mozzarella, tomato and basil handheld pies


I had a lovely Sunday. I woke up late, lazed around, made Chinese for lunch, watched a movie (at home) that Pavan has been insisting we watch, blended with the furniture again and went for a run in the evening. We came back, I made sautéed veggies with pesto and mozzarella for dinner, we ate as we watched Julie and Julia and then I slept, like a baby.

I don’t mean to sound stereotypical  when I say this  but I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t a voice in my head that goes on and on about how parts of our lives are so similar every time I watch the film. I know I’m not the first food blogger in the world to feel the same emotion and I think it’s amazing how thousands of closet cooks came out and showed us what they can do through their blogs after the film.


At times I feel like I am spilling out my emotions about food and baking to this giant void just like Julie. When I have a disaster in the kitchen and things don’t go well like they should’ve, my exhibit is Pavan and I should confess, I am worse than Julie. I complain about the noise level around my building and whine about my kitchen, even though it is spacious and self-sufficient by Bombay standards.


But more importantly, what I really relate to in the film, with Julie, is her unconditional love for cooking and eating – after a horrible day at work, Julie returns home and makes a lovely chocolate pie and she says to her husband “You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.”  There is a tear drop that trickles down my face after that scene, every single time (yes, I’m a drama queen).

I begin this week with a savoury dish – Mozzarella, tomatoes and basil handheld pies. I never knew I could use cream cheese to make a pie crust before chancing upon this recipe. The cheese lends the pie a biscuity texture and you already know what a winning combination mozzarella, tomatoes and basil is.



For cream cheese crust pie crust

  • 55 g (4 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter
  • 115 g cream cheese
  • 225 g (2cups) all-purpose flour
  •  1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cold milk

For filing

  • 115 g mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, cut in strips

Makes 8 handheld pies


  • Cut the butter and cream cheese into little chunks when they are cold. Place them in the freezer.
  • Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times to combine. Add the cold butter and cream cheese to the flour mixture. Combine till you obtain a sand-like texture. Now, pour the milk in one steady stream as the flour is still processing. Combine till the mixture is combined into a ball of dough. If that doesn’t happen, add another tablespoon of milk.
  • Topple the dough on a flour work surface and bring it together. Pat the dough and wrap in cling film. Place in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Take the dough out from the refrigerator and place on a floured work surface or a parchment paper. Roll the dough out into a circle or square of 1 inch thickness. Using a 4 inch pastry cutter of your choice cut out rounds (see pic).
  • Add some mozzarella, couple of cherry tomato halves and a few basil strips to each circle. Cover the circle with another pastry circle and seal the edges. If you like, press the edges with the end of a work to make it look old fashioned and pretty.
  • Chill the pies in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  • Once the pies are chilled, bake them in the oven for 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy: Handheld Pies by Sarah Billingsley & Rachel Warton





Filed under Pies

6 responses to “Mozzarella, tomato and basil handheld pies

  1. Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe and a beautifully written post 😀

  2. Thanks for an awesome savoury dish… One ques.. Can we leave the pies more than 30 min… I m thinking from a party point of view.. If I make in afternoon n bake in evening sort.

  3. sonika

    Great blog! Fabulous recipes and inviting pics!
    Would love to make these pies. I was wondering if one could substitute the cream cheese with greek yogurt?

    • Hi Sonika. Thanks do stopping by. I don’t think the Greek yoghurt will work. It might make the dough wet and gluggy. What you could try and do is experiment with hung curd so that you take out all that water from the curd. Use it in lesser proportion and tell me how it turns out 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s