Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spontaneous Pumpkin Cream Cheese Hand Pies

The plan was to make soup and salad for dinner tonight.  Then I went to Trader Joe's and this happened*.

No. Wait.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Hand Pie | Cheesy Pennies

Hand Pies. I meant Hand Pies happened.

Spur of the Moment Pumpkin Cream Cheese Hand Pies

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
These are made almost entirely from ready-to-go ingredients from Trader Joe's.  I saw the jar of pumpkin butter and my brain just started churning. With the cream cheese, the filling picks up on the lemony tang of the pumpkin butter, and the brown sugar and pie spice add that warm, sugary Fall flavor. It's a bit of work to create the individual pies, but it pays off big time with flaky crust in every bite.  
  • 1 package Trader Joe's pie crusts (or your own recipe for 2 9 inch crusts)
  • 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 jar of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. molasses (optional)
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
  • Trader Joe's Pumpkin Caramel sauce, optional for serving

Working with one pie crust at a time, place between two sheets of waxed paper and roll out so the crust is a little thinner than when it was in the package, is more rectangular shaped, and larger. Use a round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut circles about 2 1/2 or 3 inches in diameter, re-rolling and cutting dough as you go. Transfer the circles from the first pie crust to two large baking sheets covered with Silpats or parchment paper. You should get about 20 circles. If there's room in your fridge, place the trays in there while you roll out the next pie crust.

Repeat with the second crust, but use a smaller cookie cutter or a knife to create a hole in each circle. Transfer these top circles to racks or trays, and place in the fridge, too, if you can.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin butter, brown sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl, then blend with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes, until smooth and light.

Take the trays with the pie bottoms out of the fridge. Place a spoonful of the filling mixture onto each circle, leaving plenty of room around the edge. Place one of the top circles over each one. Gently press down around the filling with your fingers to seal, then go around again using a fork to add a decorative edge to the little pies.

Whip the egg, and the molasses if you are using it, in a small bowl using a fork. Brush the crusts of the little pies with the egg mixture, avoiding the creamy center holes so you don't get your brush all clumpy! Sprinkle generously with raw sugar.

Bake one tray at a time in the center rack of the oven for 18-22 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown. If you use molasses in your egg wash, you'll get deeply burnished flecks on your pies, so be sure to check the color of the actual crusts underneath.

The filling will bubble up a bit over the center holes as it cooks, forming yummy brown caramelized parts, too. Once the pies cool, the filling will flatten out, but will still be completely delicious, kind of like the most awesome PopTart you've ever had.

Cool on racks before serving warm or at room temperature.

If you really want to go crazy, warm up and drizzle a little Trader Joe's pumpkin caramel sauce on each plate, then top with a pie.

* That Cha Cha DeGregorio still, to this day, makes me so mad! Honestly, Danny. She was seriously like 48 years old. What were you thinking????

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