Printed with permission of the Alpine Avalanche – Aug. 10, 2017
Erin and Jeff McClure fell in love with the Davis Mountains years ago. Living in Fort Worth, they would visit friends in Marfa and vacation at the Davis Mountains State Park. When a job became available at the Black Bear Restaurant at the Indian Lodge in the state park, Jeff applied, was hired, and they made the move from the big city to the mountains of Far West Texas.
Jeff has worked in restaurant kitchens all of his life, except for a few jobs that took him away from food… but he always returned to cooking. In his 20s, he discovered a love for preparing gourmet food. Erin earned her degree in nutrition, and has influenced Jeff’s cooking in a healthy way.
Several months ago, Jeff and Erin purchased a food trailer from Austin and began remodeling it. Two weeks ago, the dream of having their own bakery became a reality when Sweet and Savory Bakery opened in Fort Davis.
Dubbed, “The Smallest Bakery West of the Pecos” by locals, this little bakery is huge on taste, serving an assortment of hand-pies and muffins, both sweet and savory in ingredients, hence the food trailer name.
You might be reading this and wondering, “What the heck is a hand-pie?!” Most folks are familiar with Hostess brand hand pies – the fruit pies that have been sold in single-serve packages for many years. They are pastries that are made by placing a dollop of either a sweet and fruity filling or a savory filling onto a circular piece of biscuit-like dough, folded over, and crimped shut. Also known as “turnovers,” they can be baked, fried or deep-fried. Essentially, it’s a personal-sized pie you hold in your hand and eat without utensils.
Empanadas are the Latin American and Spanish version of the hand-pie, as it is a stuffed bread or pastry filled with beef and other savory ingredients that is baked or fried. Empanadas have origins in Spain and Portugal, first appearing sometime during the 5th and 15th centuries. In Italy, hand-pies are known as calzones.
The McClures pride themselves on using organic and locally grown produce and fruits, and organic flour in their baking. All of their beef and pork comes from a ranch in Grandview, Texas where the cattle are grass-fed and the pigs are raised in pastures.
A dramatic image of a Cow in a Blanket. (bear with me, I’m learning how to use the photography lightbox that I recently constructed 😊)
Jeff is the primary hand-pie baker and menu designer, and Erin bakes the muffins. The menu includes a variety of hand-pies that are either made with fruit or meats, muffins that are either egg-based omelet muffins or organic flour-based muffins, “cows in a blanket” that are beef sausage wrapped in a flaky “blanket”, and they offer a complimentary bakery dog biscuit made with leftover dough for your four-legged friends.
My husband and I shared a blueberry-peach-walnut hand-pie, an omelet muffin, a couple cows in a blanket, and a chicken-broccoli-cheese hand-pie. Everything was delicious and I can’t wait to try the picadillo hand-pie that everyone is raving about around town.
Open Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, the Sweet and Savory Bakery is located at 610 N. State Street in Fort Davis, next door to Uncle Buck’s. Find them on Facebook at “Sweet and Savory Bakery” to see more pictures and up-to-date menu offerings.
(inspired by Sweet and Savory Bakery)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1/3 c. raisins, chopped
1/4 c. green olives, chopped
1 (12 oz.) package of country-style biscuits
2 egg yolks, beaten to blend
1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. flour
1 3/4 tsp. ground Allspice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 c. fresh parsley
Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add beef, green pepper and garlic. Brown. Add raisins, green olives, red wine vinegar, flour, Allspice, and cumin. Cook until thick, approximately 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Brush 1/2 of dough edge with egg glaze. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of filling with dough. Fold dough over to create 1/2 circle, press edges to seal. Crimp with fork. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with all biscuits. Brush tops with glaze. Bake according to biscuit directions until golden brown, about 12 minutes.