Bringing Hand Pies to Paradise!

by Lisa Atkinson, Guest Blogger and Hand Pie Queen

Growing up in rural Eastern Oregon, I was blessed to be blanketed by love, wisdom, and guidance of my two grandmothers and 3 of the 4 of my great grandmothers (sadly, my Native great grandmother passed away before I was born). All of these women were wonderful cooks, and patient teachers, despite my maternal grandmother having prohibited all of her children from being in the kitchen outside of dish-washing time. Her mother, my great grandma Jennie, cooked for the railroad men. Even at the age of 94, she was still teaching me to “put my back” into rolling out a pie crust.

When she passed away, I inherited all of her baking equipment, including the wooden roller and “vintage” Tupperware (TM) mat seen above. With it came the blessing and burden to malama her legacy, her tools, her recipes, and her memory.

So of course, all of that equipment sat in my cupboards in Seattle for the past 18 years. Then I got the news from my husband that we were finally realizing our dream of moving to Hawaii. Something rose up from deep within me- a sense of relief, fear, joy, and anxiety. And with it came the uncontrollable need to bake something. I’d read a book that included a simple and fabulous tart crust recipe while riding out the summer storms on Kaua’i last year. I grabbed the book and started making. At first, a quiche; then a caramel apple pie; and then I found my culinary fastball: hand pies. When I arrived on the island, I got really serious.


Hand pies have a long history, spanning many continents and centuries. My iterations of them are muffin sized packages of onoliciousness- both savory and sweet. To date, I’ve made them from buffalo, elk, venison, duck, turkey, chicken, kalua pork, pork roast, goat (yes, goat), lamb, char siu, Spam (TM), Portuguese sausage, lup cheong, and mixed veg for the savory; apple, strawberry, blueberry, mango, peach, calamansi lime, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate hazelnut for the sweet- still working on figuring out guava, lilikoi and haupia.

Every batch is slightly different- I’m working on perfecting combinations- and I’ve had more than 30 “taste testors” who’ve gotten to enjoy my research and development. I look forward to continuing my journey to make the perfect hand-held mini meal inside of the flakiest crust imaginable (spoiler alert: BUTTER).


Won’t you come with me on my journey? You can find me (and order your own!) at www.paradisehandpies.com. Check me out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Paradise-Hand-Pies-LLC-614728845703121/ .

What’s better than a hand pie? A hand pie in paradise. Using the freshest and highest quality ingredients, with as many local and seasonal products as possible, we create artisanal hand pies in a variety of savory and sweet flavors. www.paradisehandpies.com

(oh, I also do private chef and catering)

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