Zainab Storms of Blahnik Baker is a baking enthusiast, food photographer, shoe addict, neuroscience PhD student and food blogger. Unlike most people, she didn’t grow up baking with her grandmother or mother – she taught herself after attempting a cake for her husband on Valentine’s Day. Zainab lives in New York with her husband and can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
One of my favorite things about the fall, besides the beautiful foliage and instant need to wear boots, is the return of comfort foods and pies. I love baking pies, and they are one of the best comfort foods. I love the way they make my kitchen smell when they are in the oven. It gets the whole house excited!
To capture the essence of fall and ensure I saved up (ahem, bottled up) some of the best parts, I made homemade pumpkin butter in my slow cooker this year. It’s the easiest recipe you will find and so delicious. Spiced pumpkin puree (fresh or canned) is combined with brown sugar and apple cider. Simmer on low for 5 hours and viola! Lovely pumpkin butter that you can bottle up to enjoy during the predicted long winter.
Pumpkin butter is very versatile. You can enjoy it as a spread on your morning toast, a dip for your snacking apples or butter for dinner rolls. Or in my case, use it as pie filling!
For these pumpkin hand pies I am sharing today, I used my homemade pumpkin butter as filling instead of traditional pumpkin pie filling. These hand pies are made of a buttery, flaky crust and are filled with a lightly spiced and sweet pumpkin butter filling to give you the perfect bite-sized pie. I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
- ½ cup apple cider (or apple juice)
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch ground cloves
- Pie Crust
- Ice cold water
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash
- Cinnamon and Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Set your slow cooker to LOW. Combine all the ingredients in your slow cooker and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook for 5 hours, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin butter is thick.
- Transfer pumpkin butter to a mason jar and let cool. Store in refrigerator.
- Prepare ½ cup ice-cold water and keep in fridge. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar and salt. Add in half of the butter and pulse for 30 seconds. Add in the rest of butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Sprinkle about 6 tablespoons cold water over mixture and pulse until dough comes together in clumps. If dry, add a little bit more water (1 teaspoon at a time) until dough comes together.
- Remove dough from processor and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour or overnight. The dough can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature a few minutes before rolling out.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a large circle. Using a 2 or 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out at least 24 circles. You will need to roll the extra dough to cut out more circles.
- Place 6 dough circles on each prepared baking sheet. Add about a tablespoon of pumpkin butter to the center of each circle. Place another dough circle on top and using your fingers press together to seal. Use a fork to crimp the edges.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and one tablespoon of milk. Brush the top of dough with egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon and turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a serving platter.
For the cook who is busy all day but wants a home-cooked dinner at night, a slow cooker is the answer. And with the Set & Forget® Programmable Slow Cooker, technology takes a big leap forward from the outdated slow cookers found in yesterday’s kitchens.