maple honeynut squash hand pies

’tis the season! i won’t bore you all with my increasing excitement about the changing weather but let’s just all close our eyes, take a deep breath, and take in my fave season!

i already have a few different plans to visit pumpkin patches and apple orchards with friends and i could not be more excited! munching on fresh, warm apple cider donuts and strolling around the farm with a slight nip in the air is THE DREAM.

but before my visit to the farms, i knew i had to pick up some seasonally appropriate produce! this small local grocery store about 5 minutes from my house supports the local farms so it’s ALMOST like i’ve gone there to pick these gorgeous squashes and pumpkins out myself right?!

i’ve yet to dive into pumpkin pie territory (somehow it terrifies me because i’ve never made OR eaten pumpkin pie) but i knew i had to start somewhere close. the idea for these actually started with the cutest little pumpkin cookie cutter/stamp i’ve ever seen! i just couldn’t leave the store without it but i had no idea what i’d make with it! soon, the squash hand pie idea was born!

the BEST thing about these little pies?! i mean besides the amazing flaky crust. it’s the blend of flavors you get in the squash filling! after assembling the thin slices of honeynut squash in the center of the bottom pie crust, i brush a generous amount of the most yummy mixture made of maple syrup, vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon! striking a balance between sweet and savory is nothing new to me. i feel like asian dishes do that on the regular!

so for this recipe, we start with my favorite pie dough! if you’re new to pie dough, don’t stress– i always leave all my tips for successful pie dough in every post that includes it! and it’s actually SO EASY! and i usually like to make this ahead of time (up to 5 days ahead, stored in refrigerator) to give the pie dough time to mellow but also to save myself time when the actual baking day comes! so let’s get start!

INGREDIENTS:

for pie dough

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
8-9 tablespoons ice water

for filling

half of a honeynut squash (other similar squash like butternut work as well), peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt (less if using table salt)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

egg wash

1 egg
1/2 tablespoon
 water
raw turbinado sugar

DIRECTIONS:

make the pie dough. i usually make this a day before i need it.
in a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, very cold butter, and the chilled shortening. lightly toss everything around with your hands to coat the butter and shortening with flour. then, start flattening and breaking up the pieces of butter and shortening in your hands, between your thumbs and forefingers. you want to end up with some bigger flat pieces of butter, and other smaller varied pea sized pieces. work quickly because you want everything to stay cold. the mixture should resemble course meal.

add the ice water a couple tablespoons at a time. toss around lightly with a spoon to hydrate the flour and fully combine. dough should hold together when squeezed but not be overly wet or sticky. you can knead the dough to bring everything together but DO NOT over-knead it or your crust will be tough. knead about 5 times max. push dough into a single clump, divide into two equal pieces. form a disc with each piece and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. store in the fridge right away for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.

cut dough. flour work surface and rolling pin. take one disc of dough out of the fridge. dust a little flour on top of the disc and start gently flattening it into a circle with the rolling pin, picking the dough up and turning (rotate) it on the the surface every couple rolls. when disc is slightly flattened, start gently rolling it out into a rough rectangle shape until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.

cut pieces of dough that are either about 2in x 3in or 3x3in. using the edge of a clean ruler and pastry wheel cutter (or pizza cutter) makes this easier! gather the scraps and roll out and repeat with cutting. carefully place cut out pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the fridge to chill. repeat with other disc. make sure you have an even amount!

prepare the filling. while pie dough pieces are chilling in the fridge, peel and slice the squash. set aside.
in a small bowl, mix together maple syrup, oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. set aside.

assemble. for half of the pie dough pieces, using a small cookie cutter of your choice, cut out the centers.
arrange about 5 slices of squash on each of the other half dough pieces. brush each one generously with the maple syrup mixture. place the cut out dough pieces on top and seal all the way around with the prongs of a small fork.
place entire tray of assembled pies into the fridge for 15 minutes.

preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

brush hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. bake for 28-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

serve warm and ENJOY!

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