Serves: Makes 12 hand piesTotal time: 90 minutes[ratings]

Dirty Gourmet is three women—Aimee Trudeau, Emily Nielson, and Mai-Yan Kwan—who came together after a bike tour across Canada. They put together a big variety of camp meals, many of which can be found in their cookbook of the same name, with lots of different cultural and taste influences. While many of their recipes can be made at camp, this one, from Mai-Yan, for sweet potato and sausage hand pies, can be made at home and brought into the backcountry as an easy-to-carry lunch. Or snack.

I took the lead for lunch on the trail recently with a very loose idea of a “packet meal” – an all-in-one savory hand-held wrapped item filled with deliciousness. With no real plan or recipe in hand, the experiment yielded a pie crust wrapped pocket filled with a mixture of sweet potatoes, leeks, jalapeños, sausage, and goat cheese.

Because I’m not a baker, I struggled with the pie dough rolling and folding. The sweet potato and sausage savory pie bombs started out blobby but eventually found their shape, which is a little reminiscent of Asian dumplings or baos.

The great thing about this kind of snack is that you can use pretty much anything you like for the filling; just make sure the consistency is not too liquid. For the shell, I used store-bought frozen pie crust that you can roll out flat (no pie tin). You can also use puff pastry for the shell.

The next big challenge for me is the 8000-meter challenge—Southern California’s Mount Baldy, San Gorgonio, and San Jacinto all in one day. Most likely, I will have one of these pie bombs stashed in my pocket.



  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled, and drained
  • 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 3 sausages, chopped
  • 12 teaspoons of goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt, or to taste
  • Dash of thyme
  • Dash of cumin
  • Spray oil
  • 2 frozen pie crusts (no pie tin)
  • Flour



1. While potatoes are boiling, heat up oil in a skillet and add leeks and jalapeños at medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until leeks and jalapeños are soft.

2. Add sausage to skillet and brown. I used sausages that were already cooked so this was just to get a sear on them and blend in flavors.

3. Once potatoes are ready, drain and put back in the pot. Add salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin and mash.

4. Add leek and sausage mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray your muffin tin generously with spray oil.

2. Make sure your pie crust is almost at room temperature – slightly chilled will make it easier to work with. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the dough.

3. Using a knife, roughly cut out a 6″- 7″ circle. Place it into one of the muffin tin openings making sure not to poke holes in the dough as you lightly press it down into the shape. You should have enough extra dough flapping over the edge of the opening so that it reaches the middle point of the pocket pie when folded.

4. Fill the dough with 3 tablespoons of filling. It should go the top edge of the muffin tin. Make a hole in the middle of the filling and add 1 teaspoon of goat cheese.

5. Now for the folding. Feel free to experiment with your own technique but here’s where I landed after trial and error. Gently fold the dough over so one point meets the center of the filling. Don’t pull the dough as it probably is getting soft and will likely tear if you do. Create a pleat by pinching the dough to the left of the area that is already touching the dough. Take the pleat and fold it down. Repeat this step going clockwise. You should end up with overlapping pleats that eventually close up the pocket pie. Here’s a bao folding tutorial that has step by step photos.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 per pocket pie.

7. Put muffin tin in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and flaky.

8. Use a butter knife to gently dislodge the pocket pies from the muffin tin. They should rotate and come out easily if the dough is ready and no filling spilled out.

9. Let cool and wrap in foil.

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