Pumpkin Hand Pies

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Hand pies. Mini pies. Pop tarts. Toaster strudels.

I wasn’t sure what to call these little gems of pastry stuffed with pumpkin and spice. Hand pies seemed most appropriate because they’re mini pies that you can most definitely hold in your hand. They’re flakier than pop tarts, and while they do remind me a little of toaster strudels, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable putting one in the toaster. However, you most certainly should eat one of these hand pies for breakfast, alongside a strong cup of coffee or tea, because no day that starts with pie is going to be a bad one. It’s just science.

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

You guys, these hand pies are so flaky! Their flakiness is owed to the all-butter crust that has become my go-to crust recipe ever since I first tried it. The dough is so manageable and easy to work with. We have Deb from Smitten Kitchen to thank for that. Don’t fear the dough, it’s friendly and won’t give you a hard time. Oh, and there’s no need to be perfectionists here. I mean, take a peek at the photo below. The perfectionist in me was having a near meltdown, but I just had to tell her shut her face. The good news is that the crust layers will melt into each other and puff up a little during their stint in the oven and no one will be the wiser. Magic!

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Now that we are really truly into Fall, a pumpkin filling felt like a must. However, I don’t doubt that these hand pies would taste delicious filled with whatever your little heart desires. So if pumpkin isn’t your thing, change it up. Do what you want!

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

I made these pies a couple of weeks ago when my cousin was visiting from Ontario. She’s kind of a pie crust junkie – meaning, she’d gladly eat the pie crust and leave the pie filling on her plate. I figured the crust to filling ratio of these pies would really float her boat and I was definitely right. In fact, everyone loved them. Sharing food that you made with your own two hands with people is super fun and amazing, but when they really love what you share, it’s kind of the best.

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Pumpkin Hand Pies (crust from Smitten Kitchen, filling and process from Joy the Baker)

This recipe will make 9 pies. However, you may have some dough left over, in which case you can try to make a couple of extra pies, or bake up the pie scraps with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar. (Totally delicious). Feel free to change up the filling if pumpkin isn’t your jam. I think any fruit would work well here, and I’ve kind of been dreaming about a banana/Nutella combination.

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 TBSP. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter (cut into cubes)

Cold water

For the filling:

3/4 cup pure pumpkin

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

+1 egg (beaten) for sealing the pies

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 TBSP. milk

To make the crust: Fill a one-cup liquid measuring cup with cold water and add a few ice cubes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and whisk together. Add the butter and start cutting it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender. Once you have a coarse meal, add about 1/2 a cup of cold water. Using a spatula, start to bring the dough together. Add more water as needed – you’ll probably need at least another 1/4 cup, and gently knead the dough to bring it together. The goal here is to minimize the hands-on time on the dough, so as not to melt those lovely little chunks of butter that are dispersed throughout (they are going to make the dough deliciously flaky). Divide the dough in half, press into two discs, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or two, but preferably overnight.

To make the filling: In a small saucepan, heat the pumpkin and spices over medium heat, just until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg, salt and sugar and refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

To assemble the pies: On a well-floured surface, roll each disc of dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. I used a measuring tape to make sure I had a uniform rectangle. Cut each side into thirds, creating 9 (3 x 4-inch) squares. Refrigerate the first set of squares while you roll out the second disc of dough. We gotta keep that dough cold!

Brush the first set of squares with the beaten egg. Spoon about 1 TBSP. of the pumpkin mixture into the centre of each square. Top with another square of dough, and seal the edges with a floured fork. Use the fork to create vent holes in the tops of each pie. Place the pies on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Put the pies back in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Combine the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over the pies once they have cooled. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner! | Chicken Pot Pie.

With the colder weather over the past few days (hello Winter!), I was craving something hearty and warm for dinner last night. I came across this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, from Ina Garten (also known as Barefoot Contessa). I have a complete fear of pastry, and have never, ever in my life attempted to make a pie crust from scratch. What better way to start the new venture of a blog than by attempting to conquer a culinary fear? Call me crazy, but this recipe was therapy. The finished product was incredible, resulting in some oohs and aahs in the lunchroom at work today when I brought leftovers. A few shared tastes led to further compliments and requests for the recipe. Here it is ladies! These pot pies would also make a fabulous meal for guests, as the individual servings make for quite a delightful presentation. Imagine being able to dig in to your own little pie, made just for you! Either way, give these a try, you won’t regret it. Happy eating!

Chicken Pot Pie (adapted from Ina Garten)

6 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 TBSP. olive oil

Salt and pepper (preferably sea salt and freshly ground pepper)

5 cups chicken stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 4 tsp. of bouillon powder)

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups of chopped yellow onions

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup half & half cream (or heavy cream if you like it really rich)

2 cups medium-diced carrots

2 cups frozen peas

Glug of white wine (optional)

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)

For the pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water

1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP. water, for egg wash

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the diced chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the chicken is cooked through, set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick (this will only take a couple of minutes). Add 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, parsley, and the white wine, if you’re using it. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas. Slowly add in the ice water; you only want to add enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes (or you can make it a day in advance).

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls (I think it would work equally well to make two large pies, if that is your preference – I only had one ovenproof small bowl, so I made one small and one very large). Divide the dough into quarters (or in half if making two large pies), and then roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with the egg wash and make 3 slits in the top with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot. Then try not to burn yourself as you proceed to start shoveling this goodness into your mouth. Enjoy!

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