OK--hand pastries, commercially sold as poptarts. They are basically little flat pies.
|They aren't really bluish and weird looking, I promise.|
Pithy instructions for those who need to hit and run:
- Roll out a pie crust and cut it into even numbers of rectangles.
- Put some pie filling on half the rectangles and smooth it out.
- Cover these rectangles with the remaining ones, seal the edges with a fork, poke holes in the tops so they vent.
- Bake 350º until they are as brown as you prefer.
- Cool. Finish with powdered sugar glaze, or just powdered sugar.
Overly-wordy instructions with aforementioned poor-quality phone camera pictures:
Pie crust: Use purchased pre-made, purchased boxed mix, or homemade. It just doesn't matter. Use what you like or have. I make pie crusts by the dozens and stash them in the freezer. I also keep a container of homemade pie crust mix ready to go on the pantry shelf in case I need a pie crust on short notice.
Anywho, roll it out and make a pretty rectangle with it. If you use a baking mat, it goes faster but only use plastic or nylon utensils on it or you will have a sad. Put the rectangles in the fridge to cool and firm up while you make the filling.
|Pre-made dough ball, thawed in the fridge. Baking mat! Rolling pin (not shown).|
|Roll out the dough till it is almost at the edge. See that red thingy? It's a nylon bench scraper for Dollar-Tree-I-Love-That-Place. It is even endorsed by my friend and colleague, Betty Crocker.|
|Trim the dough when it crosses the line. Show it who's boss.|
|Put the trimmings wherever they are needed and continue rolling until you get a full sheet of dough.|
|Use Betty's cute little bench scraper to nudge the edges into shape.|
|When you have a full sheet, cut it into even numbers of rectangles.|
In today’s case, I made faux pumpkin pie filling--faux because I used butternut squash, my BFF in the winter squash kingdom. I almost always have at least one or two at all times in the fall and winter, whereas i almost never have a pumpkin.
Anywho, roast or pressure cook a squash, scoop it out of the shell, and mash. To this add one egg, a pinch of salt, some sugar, and as much pumpkin pie spice as you like. How much do you like? I go by smell.
|Squished squash--egg--salt--spice--"sugar". You'll see.|
BONUS! When your child begs you for a box of breakfast dessert, justify it as a pantry staple, thusly: when you are at the end of the box, sift the last few spoonsful into a bowl--that is almost pure sugar. That is what I used tonight to make these pastries. Tiny flavor boost, and no waste.
|Tuna can sieve makes a dandy bowl-size sifter.|
|Behold! Cereal sugar. Even the bowl likes it.|
Back to the filling: Put a little on half of the rectangles, then smooth it out so it is an even layer. Leave a margin around the edges. Cover those rectangles with the remaining rectangles, then seal the edges with a fork. Be neat, but not anal--if a little leaks out, call it “rustic”.
|About 1/4 cup filling per pastry--give or take.|
|Betty's cute red bench scraper makes a handy little filling smoother.|
|It also makes a handy little dough flipper.|
|SEE? Rustic. Yum.|
|Wouldn't it be neat if they made teeny-tiny pie birds, say, the size of a hand pastry?|
If you happen to have made two trays of four hand pastries each, you will now have two trays that are only half full. You will feel the urge to consolidate, but don’t be a hero--moving them will just ruin them. Put both trays in the oven, side by side, and rotate them halfway thru so they bake evenly.
|I'm not saying I've ever tried to be a hero, but I am writing a step-by-step, fully-photographed food tutorial on the night before Thanksgiving.|
While they are baking, make the glaze, thusly: Put some powdered sugar in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Spill a TINY splash of milk in the well and stir. Once the sugar is dissolved, add some maple syrup and continue to stir. GOOD NEWS! There are no eggs in this, so feel free to taste it and adjust the amount of sugar or maple syrup to suit you.
|Should I have blurred the brand names on these ingredients?|
|"Make a well" sounds so much more photographable than it turned out to be.|
|SEE? Tiny splash of milk.|
|SEE? That was enough milk.|
|Here is where I would I thought to myself, "Hmmm, I wonder if bourbon would work instead?".|
|This was not enough syrup, but this is where I got tired of taking pictures of glaze.|
When the pastries are done, let them cool on the trays for a little while, then when they are cool enough to handle, remove them to racks to finish cooling. If you are in a hurry, you can do as we often do and use a fan.
|Aren't they pretty?|
|Aren't they pretty?|
|Pan in sink--tray on pan--fan clipped to shelf under cabinet. If I lived a truly scenic life, I'd have made them in the afternoon, and put them on the windowsill to cool--you know, where all the flies and cats could get to them.|
Bag, tag, and hide these babies until you are ready to serve. They are delicious warm, or at room temp.
What did I forget to tell you???
Oh, right--the glaze--don’t put it on until the pastries are kind of cool. If you put it on while they are really hot, it will become very runny, and it will make the crust soggy too.
BONUS! The above procedure is exactly how you make every single hand pastry known or unknown to man. Just pick a filling, and pick a glaze. The next time I make these, I intend to glaze them with chocolate ganache. You’re welcome.