The Wheel turns to the dark half of the year; celebrate the final harvest with delectable savory pumpkin hand pies and a magical cheese platter!
Samhain Savories with Elya
Pumpkin Pentacles - pumpkin curry hand pies
1 package premade pie crust (2 roll-out crusts will yield approximately 16 hand pies), at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin purée, either prepared from fresh pumpkin (see the end of this page) or canned
2-3 cloves roasted garlic, smooshed
2 tablespoons of your choice of curry powder (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten
All-purpose flour for dusting work surface
Pastry mat or cutting board for rolling out dough
3-inch round cookie cutter
Star-shaped cookie cutter and/or sharp paring knife
Baking sheets with parchment paper
Mixing bowl and spoon
Small bowl with water
Pastry brush for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 350°F. For each pie crust (8 hand pies), line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll out dough about 1/8-inch thick.
Using a floured 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 16 circles from each pie crust, rerolling dough as needed. If doing an overlay star, keep some dough aside to cut strips.
Place 8 circles on each of the prepared baking sheets. Keep the remaining circles aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin purée, smooshed garlic, and curry powder until well blended.
Working on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spoon a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling into the center of an uncut dough circle; brush edges with water. Top with another dough circle and press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining filling and dough circles.
On each filled pie, either gently press the star cookie cutter into the top crust of the pie, -or- Using a sharp paring knife, cut a five-pointed star design into the top crust, -or- Using a sharp paring knife, cut 5 strips of dough per pie, each about 1/8 to 1/4-inch wide and 2-1/2-inch long. Brush the top crust with water, then lay the strips in a five-pointed star pattern over the top of the pie, pressing gently to stick the strips to the crust.
Brush the top of each pie with beaten egg.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly on the baking sheets before serving.
Hand pies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for a week or so. You can also freeze the pies before baking, and bake them up fresh (about 25 minutes from frozen in a 350°F oven).
These also work well with gluten-free prepared pie crust; be sure to note the defrosting instructions and use a GF 1:1 AP flour substitute for generously dusting your work surface and rolling pin.
White Cheddar Onion Candle
2 cups white cheddar, grated
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. dry mustard ]
1 tsp. onion powder ] -or- total about 1 tablespoon onion-y herb blend, to taste
¼ tsp. white pepper ]
2 slices white cheese wraps (mozzarella or parmesan)
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
2 ½-inch and 1 ½-inch round cookie cutters
Tea light candle (or LED tea light)
Mix the cheddar, cream cheese, and onion-herb powder in a food processor and blend until smooth. (Definitely use a food processor - a hand mixer will not have enough torque to properly blend this mixture!)
Scoop out onto a parchment lined baking sheet, flatten out to about ½-inch thickness, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Cut out 2½-inch circles of cheese mixture using a cookie cutter and stack. Use scraps to cut out additional circles. For the last two circles, use a 1½-inch cookie cutter to cut out the center to make room for your tealight. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill to firm up a bit before wrapping.
Cut one end of the cheese wrap to create a straight edge. Lay the cream cheese “candle” along the straight edge of the mozzarella slice and roll up. Add a second slice, overlapping the rounded sides. Use a knife to cut through the overlapping slices to create a seam. Remove sliced pieces and then press together a perfect seam, pressing it into the cream cheese glue. Use a sharp knife to trim the top of the mozzarella cheese and press into cream cheese. Add more cream cheese as needed to get a good seal. Wrap and chill until ready to serve.
Add tealights and arrange on a platter and serve with assorted blackberries, grapes, blueberries, and figs. Serve with baguettes or crackers.
The remaining cheese mixture is fantastic on a bagel, as an ingredient in egg bites, tea sandwiches, or anything else you’d use an onion-flavored cream cheese with. The mixture and the “candle” will keep a week or so in the fridge or longer in the freezer.
Enjoy your Samhain savory snacks!
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again! Blessed be!
How to prepare fresh pumpkin purée!
You will need:
A small to medium/large whole pumpkin (“pie” pumpkin up to jack-o-lantern pumpkin; not so big that it won’t fit on your baking sheet)
Baking sheet lined with foil
A scoop for the pumpkin guts (either from a carving kit, or a simple metal ice cream scoop works well)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
Wash your pumpkin (scrub off any decoration) and cut it in half. Scoop out the guts and seeds (discard, or separate and roast the seeds; you can even use the stringy guts much like grated zucchini in a quick bread recipe).
Add about a cup of water to the sheet pan and place the halves of the pumpkin open-side-down on the sheet. Roast the pumpkin in the oven until it resembles a deflated basketball, about 50 minutes for a small “pie” pumpkin or up to 90 minutes or more for a large pumpkin. Carefully lift the pan from the oven and let the pumpkin cool for a while.
Once your pumpkin is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin (it should separate fairly easily) and discard. Add the squishy roasted pumpkin to a food processor and purée until smooth. If you’re going to use the pumpkin purée in a recipe that doesn’t call for extra liquid, you can drain the purée in a paper-towel-lined colander over a bowl in the fridge for a few hours before packaging it.
I recommend measuring the pumpkin purée into freezer storage bags in recipe-sized increments and labeling them accordingly, then freezing the bags flat on a baking sheet so they stack easily. Pumpkin freezes VERY well for later use. Enjoy!