Bitten pumpkin hand pie
Individual Desserts,  Pies and Pastries,  Seasonal

Pumpkin Hand Pies

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These pumpkin hand pies have an easy and delicious pumpkin pie filling in a super flaky all-butter crust. They have a crunchy bakery style top that is just so delicious! The pies are way faster and less stressful to whip up than a full size pumpkin pie. The pastry is so delicious that you won’t mind the greater crust to filling ratio.

I’ve included my favourite recipe for a flaky pie crust in this recipe. For a shortcut, use a premade store bought pie crust – no one will ever know! This recipe makes a flaky tender crust every time. I love adding apple cider vinegar in my pie crust because it helps balance the intense rich butter flavour. 

The pumpkin hand pie filling is super easy to make – just combine everything in a bowl and stir well. The yolk helps hold it all together and the cream adds a bit of richness.

stack of pumpkin hand pies

Why you will LOVE this recipe:

  • Flaky: When I say flaky, I mean FLAKY. The crust is folded a few times before chilling to create the best crispy-tender layers. 
  • Easy: The filling could not be easier to make. Just stir everything together and you’re all set. You can also buy premade pie crust for a delicious shortcut.
  • Pumpkin: The pumpkin hand pies are packed full of pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavour. You can sub the spice with just cinnamon or your favourite seasonal spice mix.

How to get a flaky tender pie crust every time

The butter has to be super cold so that it doesn’t blend into the dough as much. You need it to be a bit chunky because that butter will melt in the oven to create the flakiest layers. Freeze it in little cubes before working with it so that it stays cold for as long as possible!

Make sure you leave some pea sized pieces of butter. You want some larger pieces for extra flakiness.

Don’t add too much vinegar water mixture to the dough. You only want to add enough to have it come together. Adding too much will create a tough dough!

Folding the pie dough before chilling helps laminate it, creating layers of butter and dough that will create lots of flakes. Kind of like a rough puff pastry! This will make the pastry puff up and get extra crispy in the oven. 

Chilling the pumpkin hand pies before baking and keeping the dough as cool as possible throughout the whole process is key to preventing the butter from melting before it hits the oven. The sudden oven heat will cause it to puff up and create beautiful crisp and flaky layers. 

pumpkin mini hand pies on marble slab

Key ingredients

Full ingredients and recipe are in the recipe card below. Read through this section for all the ingredients substitution and baking tips!

Butter: use a good quality real butter for best results and flavour. It needs to be cut into small cubes and frozen for about 10 minutes. This ensures that the butter stays cold for extra flaky layers. I also add a bit of butter into the filling to make it velvety smooth.

Vinegar: vinegar gives the pie crust a bit of tang (barely noticeable don’t worry) but it really does deepen the flavour and help balance the richness. I used apple cider vinegar but you can use white vinegar or lemon juice.

Ice water: make sure that you have ice cubes floating in the water for ice cold water. 

Heavy cream: don’t substitute with milk or half and half cream. If you don’t do well with dairy you can use coconut or cashew cream. 

Pumpkin puree: You can use a canned pumpkin puree or a thick homemade puree. You want it to be as thick as greek yogurt. Strain through a cheesecloth or reduce it in a pan on medium low heat until you get that thick consistency.

Pumpkin spice: If you don’t like pumpkin spice you can use cinnamon instead. Or make your own pumpkin spice.

Bitten hand pie

Step by step

Step 1 – Freeze butter. 10 minutes before making the crust, cut the butter into small cubes (⅓”). Spread on a plate in a single layer and freeze. Add vinegar to ice water and stir.

Step 2 – Mix crust. Mix together flour and salt with a whisk to break up lumps. Add frozen butter and cut with a knife or pastry cutter (or food processor) until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with larger pea size pieces. 

Step 3 – Make dough. Add vinegar water a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing well in between. Stop adding when the mixture forms clumps and starts to come together. Don’t add too much or the crust will be tough. Working quickly, press dough into a disk, fold in half, press, and fold in half again. Cut in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap each disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Step 4 – Filling. Combine filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside until assembly. 

Step 5 – Bottom Crust. Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to ⅛” thickness. Cut out ten 4″ round circles (rerolling any scraps) and place on a parchment lined sheet. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each round. Brush the edges with eggwash. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Step 6 – Top crust. Roll out the second dough disk and cut ten more circles. Place them on top of the filled circles and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. It’s ok if some filling leaks out while crimping. Place in fridge for 20 minutes or in freezer for 10 minutes to chill. 

Step 7 – Bake. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Brush the chilled pumpkin hand pies with eggwash and sprinkle sugar on top. Using a sharp knife, cut an “x” on top of each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. 

FAQ

Do I need to chill my pie crust so many times?

Yes, you do. Don’t try to skip the chilling! The first chill helps relax the gluten and resolidify the butter before rolling out. The second chilling ensures that the pies go into the oven as cold as possible. This will shock the pastry in the oven creating a beautiful flaky-crisp pastry. Chilling throughout the process helps ensure the dough stays as cool as possible!

Why should I freeze butter before making pie crust?

Freezing the butter helps ensure that it stays as cold as possible while you work with it. Refrigerated butter will soften too quickly and the crusts won’t be as flaky. I cut them into small cubes before freezing so that they are easier to work into the flour.

Can I use homemade pumpkin puree?

You definitely can! I used store bought pumpkin puree in a can for convenience. If your pumpkin puree is thin, make sure that you strain it in a cheesecloth or cook it down to get a thick greek yogurt type consistency.

Can I use milk or lighter cream instead of heavy cream?

I really recommend using heavy cream. Anything lighter than heavy cream will cause the filling to be too thin and leak through the crust. Also cream instead of milk in the eggwash helps the pies bake to a deeper golden colour with a crunchier crust.

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Happy baking!

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Bitten pumpkin hand pie

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Mary
These pumpkin hand pies have an easy and delicious pumpkin pie filling in a super flaky all-butter crust. They have a crunchy bakery style top that is just so delicious! The pies are way faster and less stressful to whip up than a full size pumpkin pie. The crust is so delicious that you won’t mind the greater crust to filling ratio!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chill Time 40 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Baking, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 hand pies

Equipment

  • Baking sheet

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon juice
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 2 ½ cup all purpose flour 300g
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Filling

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon sea salt

Assembly

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Instructions
 

Crust

  • 10 minutes before making the crust, cut the butter into small cubes (⅓"). Spread on a plate in a single layer and freeze. Add vinegar to ice water and stir.
    1 cup unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 cup ice water
  • Mix together flour and salt with a whisk to break up lumps. Add frozen butter and cut with a knife or pastry cutter (or food processor) until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with larger pea size pieces.
    2 ½ cup all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Add vinegar water a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing well in between. Stop adding when the mixture forms clumps and starts to come together. Don’t add too much or the crust will be tough.
  • Working quickly, press dough into a disk, fold in half, press, and fold in half again. Cut in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap each disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

  • Combine filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Set aside until assembly.
    1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 large egg yolk, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon heavy cream, 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Assembly

  • Whisk together egg and cream for the eggwash.
    1 egg, 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to ⅛" thickness. Cut out ten 4" round circles (rerolling any scraps) and place on a parchment lined sheet. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each round. Brush the edges with eggwash. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Roll out the second dough disk and cut ten more circles. Place them on top of the filled circles and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or in freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Brush the chilled pies with eggwash and sprinkle sugar on top. Using a sharp knife, cut an “x” on top of each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Let the pies cool on the baking tray before digging in.
    1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Notes

The hand pies are best served the day they are baked.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Heat up any leftovers in the oven to make them taste as if they were just baked.
Make ahead: Make the pie crust the day before and keep it wrapped tightly in the fridge overnight. Assemble the pies the day of. You can bake them up to 4 hours after assembly (keep them refrigerated).
You can also make them way in advance and keep them in the freezer. Assemble the pies like the recipe describes, but stop right before putting them in the oven. Freeze the pies in a single layer on parchment paper before transferring them to an airtight, freezer safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Bake the pies from frozen, adding 5-10 minutes to the bake time. 
 
Keyword all butter crust, blueberry hand pies, mini pies, pumpkin filling, pumpkin spice

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