Everyone will enjoy eating these fun pumpkin hand pies that are filled with pumpkin purée, apples, maple, and a blend of inviting pumpkin pie spices.
During the busy holiday season, I like making small individual pies. They make great gifts, and they are easy to serve with all the guests coming and going during the holiday season.
WHAT IS A HAND PIE?
Hand pies are made with a pie dough type pastry with either a sweet or savory filling. They are made by placing a dollop of filling onto a circular piece of dough and then folding it over and crimping it shut. They can be baked or fried and can have a sweet frosting drizzled across the top.
WHERE DO HAND PIES COME FROM?
According to Wikipedia, historically in the American South, fried pies were known as “Crab Lanterns”, a term that dates back to at least 1770, and may originate from crab apple pies that had slits for ventilation, thus resembling a lantern.
HOW TO MAKE A HAND PIE
WHAT KIND OF DOUGH TO USE
To make these hand pies, well-chilled pie dough is best. It will roll out and cut easily in a variety of shapes.
HOW TO CUT THE DOUGH
First, be sure your dough is chilled well. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick, which is about two quarters stacked on top of each other. I have used a variety of cookie cutters to make my pies. Here is a tip I found helpful, spritz your cookie cutter with a bit of nonstick cooking spray before using.
HOW TO FILL THE PASTRY
I found it easier to lay the bottom sheet of pie dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Then I used a spoon to place my filling onto the center of the dough.
SEALING A HAND PIE
I like to do all my assembly of the hand pies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. To seal, dip your finger in a dish of egg wash and tap all around the edges of the dough to moisten. Next, I lay the top on and use a fork to press around the sides to seal.
Another hint is to roll slightly 1/2 of the shapes with a rolling pin to make them just a bit bigger, these will be the tops of your pies
- Egg wash: Beat one egg with a tablespoon of water. You can use an egg wash to seal edges together, add shine, or enhance baked goods’ golden color.
- Cream wash: Beat one egg with a tablespoon of whipping cream. Use the wash to glaze your pies for a golden color or seal the edges together.
TIPS FOR GLAZING
Whisk together in a bowl the following ingredients to form a creamy glaze. Then drizzle over your hand pies.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
WHAT KIND OF PUMPKIN TO USE
It is best to use organic pumpkin puree from a can. Using fresh pumpkin will make your pie filling running and hard to seal.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN HAND PIES FILLING
- Place apple pieces, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Cover with lid and cook on medium for 5 minutes or until the apples are soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Add pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice to apples, stirring gently.
HOW TO KEEP HAND PIES FROM LEAKING
Be sure to seal your pies well and that your pie filling is not running out to the edges before you seal. To seal, dip your finger in a dish of egg wash and tap all around the edges of the dough to moisten. Lay the top on and use a fork to press around the sides to seal tightly.
HOW TO KEEP HAND PIES BOTTOMS FROM GETTING SOGGY ON THE BOTTOM
- Don’t poke holes in your bottom crust. Some recipes suggest you poke holes in the crust to stop it from puffing up. The danger with this is the liquid from your filling can seep down into these holes.
- Don’t skimp with the cornstarch. It helps to thicken the liquid in the filling, so it doesn’t seep into the pie crust and make it soggy.
- Don’t use too much water when making your pie crust. Use the liquid amount as a guideline and sprinkle it on a tablespoon at a time just until your dough comes together. The pastry should still be shaggy but stay together when you press it.
ADD INS FOR PUMPKIN HAND PIE RECIPE
This recipe is very flexible, you could add raisins, cranberries or finely chopped nuts if you so desire.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN POP TARTS
You can use this recipe to make pumpkin pop tarts. Cut the pie dough into 4×5 rectangles. Spread the filling evenly over the middle of the rectangle, about 1/4 inch in thickness. Brush an egg wash around the edges, place the top on and seal with the tips of a fork all the way around. Bake allow to cool and then spread with a glaze.
HOW TO MAKE AHEAD
These pumpkin hand pies can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to three days.
You could also make your pie dough and filling ahead of time. Keep them chilled in the refrigerator for up to three days. When you are ready to make the hand pies fresh, it will only take a few minutes to roll out the dough and bake.
HOW TO STORE HAND PIES
The hand pies will be ok to sit out on the counter for a few hours after baking. However, it would be best to store in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
SHOULD YOU REFRIGERATE HAND PIES
It is safest to store fruit filled hand pies in the refrigerator. Be sure and place them in an airtight container for up to three days.
TIPS FOR SERVING PUMPKIN HAND PIES
You can cut your hand pies into any shape that will fit the season by using a cookie cutter.
- Fall or Thanksgiving a pumpkin would look really cute. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top before serving.
- Valentine’s Day use a heart-shaped cookie cutter and sprinkle with powder sugar and some pink color sugar.
- Christmas you could use a Christmas tree as I did and sprinkle powdered sugar like snow.
For more pumpkin recipes be sure and try these
Pumpkin Hand Pies
- 2 granny smith apples medium size, peeled, cored and diced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 4 pie dough sheets homemade or store bought
- Flour for dusting dough
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Place apple, sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Cover with lid and cook on medium for 5 minutes or until the apples are soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Add pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice to apples, stirring gently.
- NOTE* This recipe is very flexible, you could add raisins, cranberries, or finely chopped nuts if you so desire.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together maple syrup and cornstarch until creamy smooth. Stir into apple and pumpkin mixture.
- Unroll your pastry onto a flour dusted surface. Cut the desired shape with a cookie cutter. Roll slightly 1/2 of the shapes with a rolling pin to make them just a bit bigger, these will be the tops of your pies.
- Spoon apple and pumpkin filling onto half of your pastry shapes, being sure to leave about a 1/3 inch around the edges. Place the slightly larger pieces on top and seal all around the edges with a fork. Poke a steam hole on top of pastry with a tong of your fork. Place the pan of pies into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pies for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.