it’s officially less than a week until halloween! and just because the holidays are a little different this year, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make them incredibly special!
early last month, i got the spontaneous idea of throwing a fancy real-life tea party for my little nieces. everything was dainty in all things purple and pink, heart and star shaped everything. we had finger sandwiches and scones, and the yummiest fresh squeezed strawberry limemade. the sheer joy that such a simple gesture brought to my nieces made me realize that i just had to make this into a tradition! so with halloween coming up in a week, i decided we’d have the spookiest little halloween themed tea party ever! our table was covered by the funnest halloween table cloth, adorned with tiny pumpkins and gourds, their favorite candy corn, and an assortment of yummy booo-tiful finger foods!
we had the crowd favorite mummy crescent hot dogs, amazing scary monster meatball subs, pumpkin deviled eggs, cutie clementine “pumpkins”, and these berrrrry spooky mummy hand pies! to top it all off, i served them a ghoulish green-colored “tea” made with sprite and kool-aid mixes. needless to say, the girls were all giggles and joy!
so i thought it was the perfect time to share this simple recipe with you all, so you can host your own little halloween party at home, or hand them out safely to family and friends to remind your loved ones that you’re thinking of them!
this recipe is half intermediate, half easy. i only say this because homemade pie dough is involved, and it can seem a little daunting a task to take on if you’re a beginner. but if you follow my instructions exactly, pie dough will be your new favorite thing to whip up in your kitchen! this all butter pie dough results in the dreamiest flaky and tender pie crust, using the simplest of ingredients!
for the filling, we’re using a berry jam or berry preserve or a mix of the two. this time around, i had strawberry jam and raspberry preserves on hand, so i mixed the two together. but whatever you can find will work perfectly! how easy it that?! it is halloween after all!
makes 10-12 3-inch hand pies (easily doubled)
for pie dough
1 1/4 c (160g) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tb granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
4 tb (about 1/4 c) ice water
1/2 c strawberry jam
1/2 c raspberry preserve
lemon zest of 1 lemon, optional
1 tb milk
2 tb sugar for sprinkling
Make the pie dough.
I usually make this a day before I need it.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and very cold butter. Lightly toss everything around with your hands to coat the butter with flour. Then, start flattening and breaking up the pieces of butter 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, almost working the butter into the flour a bit by rubbing and smooshing the mixture together. work quickly because you want everything to stay cold. The mixture should resemble course meal. If the mixture is starting to get too warm, stick it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before moving on. it should not be greasy at all.
Add the ice water. Toss around lightly with a spoon to hydrate the flour and fully combine. Mixture may seem dry at first, but resist the temptation to add more water– it will make the crust tough. Toss mixture around and squeeze dough together lightly. dump the dough onto a clean work surface. lightly pat down the dough and form into a long rectangle. With the blade of a bench scraper, shovel under the dough and fold up and over the middle of the dough, pressing down with the bench scraper. This kneading technique ensures that you don’t warm the dough too much and that you don’t overwork the dough. Continue flattening the dough and folding the edges up, over, and on top of the middle of the dough to bring everything together. Dough should hold together but not be overly wet or sticky. Form dough into a rectangle and cut it in half, with one half being slightly bigger, about a 2 to 3 ratio. Form the doughs into flat circular discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge right away for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
prep a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. bring out the larger piece of dough from the fridge to let rest on counter for about 5-10 minutes, so it will soften slightly and not crack while rolling out.
roll out pie dough.
on a heavily floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, start flattening the disc of dough, rotating it as you go along to make sure it’s not sticking to the surface. add more flour if needed. roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. with a 3-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out as many gingerbread men as possible. stack the scraps, kneading and flattening it gently in your hands to bring into a single mass. flour surface and rolling pin, re-roll and cut gingerbread men out. lay the cutouts onto the lined baking sheet and place flat into the refrigerator.
roll out smaller piece of dough with the same technique, except aiming for a long rectangle instead. about 3 inches wide. with a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut strips about 1/4-1/3 inch wide. these will be used as the “bandages”. place on a medium plate and chill in refrigerator.
fill and assemble pies
in a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients and break up any big clumps or lumps in the jam.
take tray of gingerbread men cutouts out of the refrigerator. spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of the filling onto one cutout and spread slightly towards the extremities. lay strips in overlapping and criss-cross fashion over the filling, leaving space for candy eyeballs. press down slightly on all of the edges where the bandages meet the bottom dough. tap the gingerbread man cookie cutter in flour and re-cut the bandaged hand pie so the excess bandages are cut off. repeat with rest of the mummies.
place entire tray of completed mummies in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
in a small bowl, beat egg and milk together until smooth. lightly brush tops of pies and sprinkle with sugar.
bake pies for 18-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. once cooled, place candy eyeballs in reserved face area.
now go have allll the special fun!
HAPPY ALMOST HALLOWEEN!