Butternut squash, spinach and mushrooms in an incredibly flaky crust. My first try at hand pies was a complete success. Last year, my daughter gave me this adorable little gadget for making pumpkin shaped hand pies. I’ve been waiting for pumpkin pie season to use it, and that time has come. Filling the pastry with pumpkin pie filling is the obvious choice but I went a different way and made savory vegetable hand pies for dinner instead.
Below are pictures of the gadget. This side is used for cutting the dough. It has built in vent cutters.
The other side is used for crimping the two halves together.
I started with two cups of spinach, a small butternut squash and a dozen mushrooms.
After I made the filling, I made the crust. I adapted a recipe from Cooks Illustrated’s America’s Test Kitchen, which is my new favorite TV show. I love that they test everything 10 different ways until they figure out the best way to make something or the best gadget to make it with. This crust recipe is the one that uses Vodka in place of some of the water, and works wonderfully. It’s the most flaky crust I’ve ever made. I did replace the butter with Earth Balance and the vegetable shortening with non hydrogenated Palm Shortening. Because the Earth Balance is very salty, I eliminated the salt altogether.
After you cut out the shapes, you put the solid half in the pumpkin press and add two heaping tablespoons of filling.
Then, you put the vented side over the filling....
.....and press the two sides together.....
The only problem I had was getting the hand pie out of the press. I think next time I’ll cut a little round piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of the press. Then, it will slide right out. If you brush the top with a little melted Earth Balance before baking, they get a really nicely browned crust.
I fully intend to make these again with a pumpkin pie filling. To make a dessert version, I would add two tablespoons of sugar to the dough and sprinkle a little sugar on top before baking.
You don’t need to buy this pumpkin shaped gadget to make these, I checked out the Williams-Sonoma website and they no longer make them. They do offer an apple shaped “pocket” pie mold. You can use anything with a four inch diameter to cut round hand pies, just remember to cut some vents.
Vegetable Hand Pies
Makes 8 - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose white flour
Optional: 2 tablespoons sugar (if making a dessert hand pie)
12 tablespoons Earth Balance whipped buttery spread
1/2 cup Palm shortening, cut into little pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
(non dairy milk for fusing the sides together and a tablespoon of melted EB for brushing on the tops)
Put the Earth Balance and shortening pieces on a plate and put them in your freezer for 20 minutes.
Put 1 1/2 cups of the flour into a food processor. (if using sugar add it here)
Add the chilled butter substitute and shortening, and process for 15 seconds.
(it should resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour)
Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse 4 to 6 times, or until the the mass of dough has broken up.
Empty the mixture into a bowl.
Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture.
With a rubber spatula, using a folding motion, press down on the dough until it sticks together.
Divide the dough into two even balls and flatten each into a 4 inch disk.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
For the Filling:
3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, diced finely
1 clove garlic, diced finely
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
2 tablespoons red miso paste
2 tablespoons water
Steam the cubed squash until it’s very soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and uncover the pot.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mushrooms.
Saute until the mushrooms until they’re starting to brown.
Add the shallot and garlic and saute for a few minutes longer.
Add the spinach and cover the pan and cook until the spinach is wilted.
Dissolve the miso paste in the water and pour over the spinach mixture.
Stir in the cooked squash.
Remove from heat and let cool a little before filling pastry.
Preheat your oven to 400°
Roll out the dough, one disk at a time, on a well floured surface until it’s about 11 inched across.
Cut 8 four inch circles. (you made need cut some circles and roll the scraps a 2nd time to cut the rest)
Cut vents into 4 of the circles.
Put 2 heaping tablespoons of filling onto the center of the uncut circles.
Brush around the outer edge with non dairy milk.
Put the vented circle on top and using a fork, press down around the edges to fuse them together.
Put the hand pies on a cookie sheet.
Brush the top with a little melted Earth Balance
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.
Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
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