LESS THAN 10 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! let the christmas joy and festive fun (and crazy rush to get everything done) begin!
on monday, i finallllly finished my second to last semester on nursing school! i’ve been waiting to get my final exam out of the way so i could finally start celebrating the festive month for REAL. so now i’m in full holiday mode– all the cookies, blasting christmas music, christmas movies, and the mad dash to finish christmas shopping! why does december have to fly by soo quickly every year?! it’s the one time each year that i wish time would stand a little more still, so we take it all in!
so even though it’s currently 3am as i’m typing this, i wanted to get this recipe out there for ya’ll so you can join me in the festive baking too!
if you’ve been around for a while, you know that i’m allll about the pies! something about making pie dough. it’s like therapy to me! and it’s soo satisfying to make! that fact that a small handful of the simplest ingredients (that you probably already have on hand!) can turn into golden, flaky, tender, buttery rich goodness, is beyond me! but it works!! so when this idea of a pie version of a gingerbread house can to me months ago, i couldn’t waitttt to share with you guys! it’s soo much simpler to make than an actual gingerbread house, it’s ADORABLE, and it’s probably tastier ;). and because we all know about my mini hand pie obsession, we had to include that variation as well!
so turn up the christmas music, grab your butter, and follow along for festive fun and yum!
makes 1 12-14inch gingerbread house slab pie OR about 15 hand pies
for pie dough
2 1/2 (315g) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tb ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground all spice
1 tb granulated sugar
1 c (2 sticks, 227g) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
8 tbs ice water (about 1/2 c)
for cranberry filling
16 oz (about 4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
juice of 1 medium to large orange
1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c granulated sugar
4 tb unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
egg wash + topping
1 tb milk
powdered sugar (optional)
make the pie dough. i usually make this a day before i need it.
in a large bowl, combine flour, spices, salt, 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. work quickly because you want everything to stay cold.
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. alternatively, you can dump the dough onto a clean work surface and use a bench scraper to fold and lightly knead the dough into itself. it may seem dry at first, but it will start to come together! form one big clump of dough, divide into two equal pieces. form a 1 inch flat disc with each piece and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. store in the fridge right away for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
prepare the filling. you can prepare this ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
in a medium saucepan, combine all filling ingredients. stir occasionally over a medium heat. cranberries will split. keep stirring and cooking. the cranberries will start to break out of their skin. lower the heat and continue stirring as the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. this will take about 7-10 minutes. remove from heat and pour into a heat proof plate or bowl. cool completely.
FOR GINGERBREAD HOUSE!
1. using a large piece of parchment paper at least 12 sq inches, draw a gingerbread house outline about 12-14 inches tall. cut your shape out and set aside.
2. bring one disc of pie dough out of refrigerator to rest on counter for 5-7 minutes. preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
3. on a well floured surface, start rolling out the pie dough. pick up the dough and rotate it every couple rolls to keep it from sticking. add more flour to your counter if necessary. roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.
4. place your house cutout paper on top and with a small knife, score the dough around the cutout. remove the cutout and now you have a guide to follow. cut the dough following the score lines. place cutout dough onto a plate or baking sheet and place into refrigerator to chill. repeat with second disc of dough and make window cutouts. knead all excess dough together lightly, re-roll it, and use for door and decorative cutouts (trees, gingerbread people, snowy roof sides, wreath).
5. place all small cutouts onto a parchment lined baking pan. lightly brush egg wash over each piece and optionally sprinkle some sugar on top. bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. keep a close eye on these because they will burn easily!
6. spread filling evenly over the bottom pie dough cutout, leaving at least a 1/4 inch border all around. layer the top cutout (with windows) on top, lightly pressing the edges down. with the prongs of a fork, seal all around the edges. brush egg wash all over, sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and bake for 15 minutes, then lower temp to 375F and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until deep golden brown.
7. when cooled, place decorative pie pieces on top and dust with powdered sugar if desired. enjoy!
FOR FESTIVE HAND PIES!
1. bring one disc of pie dough out of refrigerator to rest on counter for 5-7 minutes. preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. on a well floured surface, start rolling out the pie dough. pick up the dough and rotate it every couple rolls to keep it from sticking. add more flour to your counter if necessary. roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.
3. with cookie cutter shape of choice, cut out as many shapes as possible. stack the excess dough, flatten, and re-roll to cut out more shapes. (i generally only re-roll pie dough ONCE). place all shapes onto a large plate or baking pan and chill in refrigerator as you repeat this process with the second disc of dough.
4. for half of the cutouts, create a “vent” by cutting slits or smaller heart or star cut outs. these will be your top pieces for each hand pie.
5. spread about 1 tablespoon of filling onto the pie cutout bottoms. top with vented piece and seal all over the edges with the prongs of a fork. place assembled hand pies onto a large parchment lined baking pan at least 1 inch apart. Place in refrigerator or freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
6. beat egg and milk together. lightly brush each pie with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
7. bake for 25-30 minutes, until deep golden brown.
8. let cool and enjoy!