How to Make Simple Pumpkin Hand Pies

How to Make Simple Pumpkin Hand Pies | Writing Between Pauses

The other day as I left work, I got the idea in my head that I needed—absolutely, positively needed—pumpkin pie. Not just any pumpkin pie, but a hand pie.

Hand pies are, obviously, small, hand held pies. And pumpkin pie, traditionally, is not a great filling. The recipe that most people use for pumpkin pie is quite runny with a lot of egg and cream. The entire drive home from work, I found myself thinking of ways to make pumpkin pie filling without evaporated milk and 5 eggs. There had to be a way, right?

I ended up (of course) searching Pinterest and cobbling together 3 different recipes for pumpkin hand pies. They were super simple to make and even though I tried to keep the portions smile, I made 12 hand pies and have enough filling in my fridge for at least 12-24 more. (That’s… a lot of hand pies.)

Pumpkin Hand Pies

(I know this isn’t a great photo. Low light, what can I say?)

Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 rolls of refrigerated pie crust (you can make your own, but I had store bought in my fridge)

  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

  • Egg wash (1 egg + water)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, start by unrolling your pie crust and rolling it a bit with a rolling pin to flatten it completely and thin it out a bit more. Then, using a pumpkin cookie cutter, cut out pie shells. Arrange half the shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The other half, cut out jack-o-lantern faces or “pumpkin marks”. Put about 1-2 teaspoon of filling (it will depend on the size of your cookie cutter; my pumpkins were quite small, so 1 teaspoon was almost too much!) in the center of the bottom shells, brush with egg wash, then top with the decorated pie shell. Press around the edge with a fork. Repeat until you’re out of dough or filling*. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until browned.

*Extra filling can be stored for about a week or so. I ended up baking mine in muffin cups on top of graham crackers!

You can also sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar after brushing with egg wash; I am going to try that next time and see if it makes them just a bit prettier.

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies
Simple Pumpkin Hand Pies

That’s it! Simple, easy, delicious hand pies! I am actually going to try doubling the filling recipe and using it in an entire pie, as I like the taste of the filling a lot more than usual pumpkin pie. It is less sickly sweet and more nuanced, thanks to the Greek yogurt and maple syrup. Let me know if you try these—I’d love to know what you’d change to make them better!

Recipe: Gingerbread Scones with Mandarin Icing

A week before Christmas, I had all my baking done: cookies, pies, you name it, I'd baked it and I promised I wouldn't do anymore. But then, Christmas Eve rolled around, most of the cookies had been given as gifts, the pie was reserved for Christmas dinner and... it just didn't feel right to not have a little something in the evening. 

I didn't feel like baking more cookies. I didn't feel like a cake or another pie. I wanted something simple and easy to have with tea or coffee after dinner. 

Enter... the gingerbread scone. 

I'm a big scone fan because they tend to be a little less sweet than a cookie and, as a baked good, they have a bit more wiggle room than something like a cake. This is one of my favorite recipes that I thought I'd share. They are gingery, flakey, and oh-so-good. 

Gingerbread Scones with Mandarin Icing

For the scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of butter (or 1/4 cup) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup milk

For the icing

  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • the juice of 1 mandarin
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and sugar. Cut in butter using a paster cutter or a large fork, until you get large crumbs (almost like sand). In a cup, combine egg, molasses, and a few tablespoons of the milk. Add to the flour and butter mixture and combine. Add a bit more milk until you get a decent dough (it will be slightly sticky). Form into a ball and place on a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper lining it. Form into a flat disk and cut into 12 scones. Separate on the sheet about 1/2-1 inch apart. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. 

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and mandarin juice, as well as pumpkin pie spice. Add more powdered sugar and juice if you'd like more icing! Drizzle on top of scones and allow to dry. 

Absolutely one of my favorite scone recipes ever. It's super quick and easy and the pay off is pretty amazing. If you don't have mandarin oranges, you can use lemon juice as well; or, if you aren't in the mood for a little citrus, you can just use water or milk and add a dash of vanilla extract. 

5 Halloween Recipes to Try This Year

I love Halloween. I look forward to it every year. I love the candy, I love the desserts, I love scary movies, and I love costumes (even though I rarely have an opportunity to dress up). This year, since Halloween falls on a Saturday, it means everyone has a little more time to get into the spirit and make some Halloween magic. Why should Christmas get all the fun recipes? 

1. Pumpkin Cheesecake Mummies

Not only do these look really yummy, they are very easy to make. Personally, I think they'd be fine with just some Halloween sprinkles if you're not up to, um, making mummy faces. 

2. Monster Cookies 

Ok, I'm obsessed with these cookies and will absolutely be making them (if Forrest lets me). Normally, monster cookies are just chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with a bunch of other stuff added. These ones have eyeball candies. Tell me that's not awesome. 

3. Caramel Apple Bites

Caramel apples are hard to make and somewhat intimidating--all that caramel! However, little bites means you won't have to commit to eating an entire apple covered in roughly a cup of caramel. Follow the troubleshooting tips on this recipe for best results. 

4. Cheesy Breadstick "Bones"

You have to have one non-sweet treat at Halloween and cheesy breadsticks are always a good choice. These ones use packaged dough for minimum effort, but you could also use homemade pizza dough. 

5. Harvest Hash Trail Mix 

Mm, trail mix--with Bugles, candy corn, and more. This would make a great treat bag for your most special trick-or-treaters. 

Your New Holiday Cookie: Chewy Molasses & Cocoa Cookies

Molasses cookies and I have a complicated relationship. Mainly that I deeply love them and they are often really difficult to make. Molasses cookies walk a fine line between chewy and crisp. And you know what I don't like? Crisp cookies. I like soft, chewy, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. None of this crunchy stuff -- I reserve that sensation for popcorn and chips.