Confession time: I’m not a pumpkin pie fan. There’s just not enough crust per slice, and the filling is often bland and watery — not exactly my dream Thanksgiving dessert.
Now, consider the pint-sized hand pie: It’s got an ample, buttery crust that gets evenly browned in the oven, and each pie comes pre-portioned with its own adorable cutout decoration — no slicing necessary. And the rum cream-spiked, roasted sweet potato filling offers more flavor per bite than plain old pumpkin. Convinced yet?
Make these in lieu of the traditional pumpkin pie, or whip up leftover sweet potatoes for a post-Thanksgiving snack.
Spiced Sweet Potato Hand Pies
Adapted from Handheld Pies
Makes 12 3-inch hand pies
Cream Cheese Crust
4 oz. cold butter (1 stick)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup whole milk, plus 2-3 tablespoons
Cut the butter and cream cheese into 1/2-inch cubes; store in the freezer while you prep other ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients in the food processor, pulse to combine. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas. Add the milk and pulse 3-4 times. If the mixture still looks dry, add 2-3 more tablespoons milk, pulsing after each addition until the mixture just begins to come together.
Fold dough onto a clean board and knead a few times to form a ball. Separate dough in half and form each half into a flat disc shape. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Sweet Potato Filling
1 lb roasted sweet potato flesh, cooled completely
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup rum cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a food processor, puree the roasted sweet potatoes. Add the egg and mix until just combined. Add the milk, rum cream, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
1/4 cup water
3-inch biscuit cutter
Fall-shaped mini cookie cutters (available at craft stores)
Orange sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with half of the dough on a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out rounds with the 3-inch biscuit cutter (you’ll need 2 for every pie.) Spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling onto half of the crusts. Using a spoon, smooth the top of the filling, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edge of the crust.
Whisk the egg in a small bowl, then add about 1/4 cup water. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the exposed edge of the bottom crust with egg wash.
Make a cutout in the center of the remaining dough rounds with your favorite fall-shaped mini cookie cutter. Set the leaf, turkey or acorn shapes aside. Place the other half of the rounds atop the filled ones to form a round pie. Seal the edges using a fork.
Brush the reserved fall shapes with egg wash, then sprinkle with the orange sanding sugar. Place atop the cutout back atop the pie; there should be a small space where the filling is exposed. Brush the rest of the top crusts evenly with more egg wash.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Enjoy!