It’s fall in the kitchen as well as in the woods. Have you noticed that many of the fall vegetables and fruit – squash, pumpkin, beets, turnip, apples, pears – match the warm oranges, reds, wines, rusts and yellows of autumn leaves?
Last week I found that two of those fall favourites, butternut squash and apples, make a delicious filling for hand pies, or turnovers. Both squash and apples are sweet, but the tart acidity of the apples keeps the mellow sweetness of the squash from being cloying, and the earthiness of thyme adds depth to both flavours.
The turnovers go well with soup; we had them with Leek and Potato soup, featuring other fall produce. They are also good with a side of tossed salad, or even served cold as a snack.
Butternut Squash and Apple Turnovers
Adapted from Hession, Julie Anne: “175 Best Mini Pie Recipes”. Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, 2013
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 500 g (1 lb) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm (½ inch) cubes
- 2 apples, peeled and chopped (Hession recommends tart apples; I used Courtlands)
- 10 mL (2 tsp) chopped thyme leaves
- 5 mL (1 tsp) salt
- 2 mL (½ tsp) freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Hand Pie Dough (recipe follows; I used 2 discs of all-butter pie dough scraps that I had left from another project.)
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 15 mL (1 tbsp) cold water
250 mL (1 cup) crumbled blue cheese, optional
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and squash; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apples, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat. Cook until squash and apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to slightly thicker than 2 mm (1/16 inch). Using a 15 cm (6 inch) round cutter, or substituting a similar sized dish or cup, cut pie dough into rounds, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing apart. Reroll scraps as necessary.
Brush edges of rounds with egg wash. Place about 60 mL (¼ cup) filling in centre of each round and top with 15 mL (1 tbsp) blue cheese, if using. (I used less than 60 mL filling in each, to make them easier to seal.) Fold in half, enclosing filling. Pinch edges together to seal, and crimp with the tines of a fork. Brush tops with egg wash.
Place pies, on baking sheets, in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 slits in top of each pie. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden brown. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 turnovers, with extra filling to make additional pies or enjoy on its own.
Hand Pie Dough
Adapted from Hession, Julie Anne: 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes, Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, 2013
- 750 mL (3 cups) all purpose flour
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
- 2 mL (½ tsp) salt
- 210 g (7 oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 150 mL (⅔ cup) cold buttermilk, divided
In food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine.
Scatter butter over top and pulse several times, until pieces are the size of peas. (You can do this with a pastry blender instead.)
Drizzle half the buttermilk over flour mixture and pulse 4 to 5 times to combine. Add more buttermilk 15 mL (1 tbsp) at a time, pulsing after each addition, just until dough begins to hold together in moist clumps (you might not need all the buttermilk.)
Transfer to a large piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Makes enough for 12 to 16 hand pies.
Margaret Prouse, a home economist, writes this column for The Guardian every Friday. She can be reached by email at [email protected].