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Hi! My name is Shelly and I usually blog over at Vegetarian ‘Ventures. I am so excited to be here today and talk to you about THANKSGIVING. I know, I know – you are probably wondering what in the world a vegetarian could have to say about this turkey-centric holiday. But I love a big feast as much as the meat lover next to me and am not going to let tradition get in the way of enjoying a stellar meal.

We usually host a potluck-style Friendsgiving every year where an array of side dishes are the main focus of the night. Whipped potatoes, pumpkin cheesecakes, brie crostinis, cranberry margaritas and squash casseroles quickly make us forget that turkey was even supposed to steal the show. Although I’ve been known to bring a mean Cranberry Mojito to the gathering every year, this year I’m branching out and bringing hand pies! And not those apple hand pies you get at the orchard every fall – I’m talking about savory hand pies with enough filling that you won’t even need to buy a tofurkey this year.

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 These little hand pies are so versatile. Hearty enough to be served as a vegetarian main dish and petite enough to be a side or appetizer at your next holiday feast. They are filled with seasonal ingredients and are easy to adapt to whatever you have on hand. Feel free to substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash and the kale for swiss chard.

Also, another aspect that makes these perfect for your holiday meal is that they can be made weeks ahead of time! Feel free to make these up to 3 weeks before your dinner and freeze them.

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Savory Pumpkin Hand Pies

For the crust:

  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour (+more for rolling the dough out)
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the filling:

  • 1 small pie pumpkin, seeds removed and diced very small
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (homemade is on hand), divided
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, chopped & with stems removed)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the chopped pumpkin with a little olive oil and salt/ pepper. Transfer pumpkin to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes (stir halfway through). Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the dough: Use a mixer or food processor to cream together the butter, cream cheese, and milk. Next, add in the salt and flour and process until just combined. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until the dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or foil and stick in the fridge until ready to use (preferably, at least a half an hour).

To make the filling: In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add in the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Next, add in the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add cooled pumpkin, peas, chickpeas, and a half a cup of broth and let simmer while you make the roux.

To make the roux: melt the butter in a small saucepan and mix in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. Next, pour a little big of vegetable broth (just splash in a 1/8 cup or a few tablespoon) and whisk until thick. Repeat by adding a little more broth 2 or 3 more times until a thick roux has formed (you may not need all of the broth and that is a-okay). Add the roux to the filling and mix thoroughly. If the filling seems dry, add a little more vegetable broth but remember that you want it pretty thick so it stays in the hand pies. Lastly, fold in the chopped pieces of kale.

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 On a floured surface, roll out the pastry dough (I divided the dough in 1/3 and did this in 3 rounds) and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut desired size of rectangles (make smaller ones for appetizers and large ones if this is going to be a main). Put 1-2 tablespoons of filling (depending on the size of your rectangles) in the center of the dough and line the edge of the dough with egg wash. Place another rectangle dough piece on top and seal by pressing a fork around the edges until all sides are sealed. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Transfer pastries to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops of the hand pies with your remaining egg wash. Baked at 375 for 15 to 25 minutes (15 for small ones and larger will require more time) or until the tops have browned.

Enjoy right away or freeze for later! To freeze, stick hand pies in the freezer on baking sheet until completely frozen through. Then transfer to an airtight ziploc and store for up to 3 weeks.

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