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Pumpkin Hand Pies
Makes one dozen hand pies. Pumpkin purees vary wildly in consistency, from super runny to quite thick. For this recipe, I used Libby's 100 Percent Pure Pumpkin. Don't toss unused egg whites after separating the eggs needed for this recipe -- the amount is perfect for making meringues.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup ice water strained, plus more as needed
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
- 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- To prepare the pastry dough, whirl flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor with the blade attachment. Add about half of the butter and whirl until no chunks remain. Add remaining slices and whirl briefly to chop them into pea sized pieces.
- Whisk together the egg yolk and strained ice water. Turn food processor on again and quickly begin drizzling yolk/water mixture through the feed tube, stopping before the dough comes together. Pinch some crumbs together between your fingers; if they don’t stick together, add a bit more water and whirl briefly.
- Turn the mixture out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to help you bring the dough together; fold the edges of the dough toward the center and press down until it holds together, taking care not to overwork the dough. Divide it in half and shape into two flat disks wrapped tightly in plastic. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- For the filling, combine pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, and spices in a 2 1/2 quart saucepan and mix well. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to steam and bubble. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for about 20 minutes to achieve a mashed-potato like consistency, stirring more regularly as the mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and mix in yogurt. Add egg yolk, stirring vigorously to combine. Transfer the filling to a small bowl and put it in the refrigerator to cool while you roll out the pastry dough. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
- Preheat oven to 375º F. Whisk together yolk and heavy cream. Set aside.
- Remove one of the chilled pastry disks from the refrigerator and, on a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut as many 3 1/2 to 3/4-inch circles, as you can. Roll out remaining dough and cut additional circles to make 24 total, re-rolling the scraps as necessary. Reserve remaining scraps for pumpkin stems.
- On 12 of the rounds, use a sharp knife to score shallow lines that radiate from a center point near the upper edge of the circle (later, you will place stems atop the center point). Create faces on each scored round using miniature cookie cutters, the pointed ends of decorating tips, or free handing with a sharp knife.
- Using dough scraps, shape 12 small rectangles to use as stems. Set aside.
- Place the the remaining 12 rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add about 2 tablespoons of the thick filling to the center of each round (a 2 tablespoon cookie dough scoop works especially well for this).
- Working one at a time, spread egg wash around the the outer 1/4-inch edge of the pastry dough. Flatten and spread the thick filling with the back of a spoon within the circle of egg wash.
- Gently place a prepared top over the filling, lining up the edges carefully. Lightly press to the edges together with your fingers and then seal with a fork.
- Apply egg wash lightly to the entire surface, avoiding the holes as best you can. Attach a prepared stem where the scored lines meet near the top of the round, pressing it to adhere. Brush egg wash on the stem. Repeat with with remaining pies.
- Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.