Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkin pie with fresh whip cream, but why not give the traditional recipe a holiday boost by making pumpkin hand pies? Hand pies make life easier when it comes to clean-up. No plates, no forks, no knives to messy up when slicing. Just a grab and go snack to help celebrate the season. And just in case you need a little soundtrack for inspiration, allow me to introduce you this gem!
Debi Smith and Doc Watson actually have a song called “Pie”. Ugh… ok! Don’t ask how I came across this but it couldn't be more fitting, especially if we are talking about my Dad. It’s difficult at times posting recipes because he is increasingly picky and often refuses to eat what I make. But... not when it comes to hand pies! I'm honestly not surprised given his tendency towards sweets and their hand-held convenience. As his dementia's been worsening, he's slowly losing his mobility and competency with utensils.
As for making these pies, just know you have options. I used this recipe for the dough. It utilizes cream cheese which compliments pumpkin but also contributed to a soft pastry crust that I knew would be easily eaten. As with many seniors, aging teeth or dentures can be a real deterrent when it comes to food so the softer the better. You can however use store bought crust if you are short on time or seek out a basic pie crust recipe. Like I said, you have options!
As for the filling... I roasted a Fairytale Pumpkin earlier in the week and wanted to use it up. You can absolutely use canned pumpkin which might allow you to skip over pre-baking the filling (see below). Using the fresh pumpkin was much too runny in my case and if it's too wet, it will damage the dough. Don't be afraid to bake the filling first if necessary.
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- splash of cream
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. (If your filling is thick then you can immediately fill your hand pies. I used fresh pumpkin and the filling was very wet. I pre-baked the filling in mini muffin cups for 15 minutes until the custard solidified and used that as my filling.)
- Roll-out your dough and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter if you have one. (I used a pint glass to cut-out circles.)
- Roll out each circular cut-out to about 1/8 inch thickness and top one side with some filling.
- Wet the outer edges of the dough with a little water, fold over, and seal the edges by pressing down with a fork.
- Brush tops with an egg wash and poke a few holes to vent steam in each one.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-40 minutes or until the dough becomes a golden brown.
- After baking, cool on a rack.
When it comes to the fresh whip cream just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of powdered sugar to some heavy whipping cream and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Then dip the hand pies in it until your hearts content!