It’s hard to believe that I last posted in early November, and now the month is almost over. I imagine that—like me—you are probably thinking about Thanksgiving. If you’re really organized, you’ve probably got your menu planned already. But if not, I hope a few holiday baking ideas on the blog will help inspire you.
Last year, one of my clients was invited to a Thanksgiving brunch for about 20 people, with the instructions that everyone was supposed to bring pie.
I suggested to her that instead of doing a traditional pie—pumpkin or pecan, for example—it might be fun to try something a little different. I had recently come across a recipe for hand pies in a magazine, and I was happy that my client was open to being creative.
I like that you don’t have to deal with cutting up the pie—people can just grab one and go.
Spiced Sweet Potato Hand Pies with Cream Cheese Crust
Makes 12 3-inch pies
4 oz. cold butter (1 stick)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup whole milk, plus 2-3 tablespoons
Cut the butter and cream cheese into ½-inch cubes; store in the freezer while you prep other ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients in the food processor, pulse to combine. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas. Add the milk and pulse 3-4 times. If the mixture still looks dry, add 2-3 more tablespoons milk, pulsing after each addition until the mixture just begins to come together.
Fold dough onto a clean board and knead a few times to form a ball. Separate dough in half and form each half into a flat disc shape. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
1 lb roasted sweet potato flesh, cooled completely
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup rum cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
In a food processor, purée the roasted sweet potatoes. Add the egg, and mix until just combined. Add the milk, rum cream, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt and blend until smooth. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
¼ cup water
3-inch biscuit cutter
Fall-shaped mini cookie cutters (available at craft stores)
Orange sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with half of the dough on a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out rounds with the 3-inch biscuit cutter (you’ll need 2 for each pie.) Spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling onto half of the crusts. Using a spoon, smooth the top of the filling, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edge of the crust.
Make a cutout in the center of the remaining dough rounds with your favorite fall-shaped mini cookie cutter. Set the leaf, turkey or acorn shapes aside. Place the other half of the rounds atop the filled ones to form a round pie. Seal the edges using a fork.
Brush the reserved fall shapes with egg wash, then sprinkle with the orange sanding sugar. Place the cutout back on top of the pie; there should be a small space where the filling is exposed. Brush the rest of the top crusts evenly with more egg wash.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
I made these a day ahead and kept them in an airtight container in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator). Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 250°F oven for 10-15 minutes. They taste great on their own or with whipped cream.