Sunday, October 14, 2012


"Pumpkin" Pies

This is so dumb easy that I'm ashamed I didn't think of it before.

A few weeks ago, in the run-up to the annual ritual I've established of absolutely losing my mind over Halloween, I bought a set of three Wilton cookie cutters: a pumpkin, a bat, and a candy corn. I really only bought it for the bat, but the set of three was cheaper than the single bat option the store had and I liked the cut of the Wilton bat's jib better. I figured I could just pitch the other two or whatever. But then I was looking at the pumpkin cookie cutter and thinking about how I had a package of refrigerated pie crust in my fridge and was like, "I could make a darling hand pie with that thing. And, like, fill it with jam? Because I've got 30 blasted jars of jam in my fridge even though I don't eat jam and right. I shall do this!"

Then I mentioned the idea to a certain editrix and she threatened me with murder if I didn't write it for the internet and she wants the police to know she's just kidding but I'm not so sure about that SO HERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS.

Tools and Such:

1 pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter
Pie crust, rolled out
A teaspoon measuring spoon
A fork
A cookie sheet
An oven

Egg or milk wash glaze
Food coloring
Festive sanding sugars and/or other decorations
Pastry brush

Instructions and Such:

If you're using homemade pie dough — and by all means you should do so if you are into that sort of thing! — roll out your dough to about a ½" thickness. If you're using refrigerated pie dough — which is what I do because I am rolling pin-challenged and so even though I'm a baking-type person I made a lifestyle choice to not ever go there with homemade dough, the judgement of others be damned. I guess that's one nice thing about being olden: I feel that I've reached an age and level of accomplishment such that I don't give a fig, really, what others have to say about things like the fact that I don't make homemade pie crust. — let it come up to cooler-than-room-temp-but-warmer-than-refrigerator-temp and unroll it into a flat disc.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out an even number of pumpkins. My roll of Pillsbury pie crust yielded 8 pumpkins, enough for four "pumpkin" pies. The optional flour is there in case you want/need to dip your cookie cutter in to create a cleaner cut. This mostly depends on how sticky your dough is. I used the flour but probably didn't really need to.

Once you have your even number of pumpkins, go ahead and remove the excess dough, form it into a ball, cover it in plastic wrap and toss it in the fridge; you can probably get another hand pie or two out of it.

Hand pie. That's a funny thing to say, isn't it?

Now take half of your pumpkins and put about a teaspoon of jam in the center of each. You'll be tempted to put more in, but resist that urge. You don't want to overfill the pies, which will cause the filling to ooze out during baking. So just, like, a blurt of jam will do it.

A blurt. I SAID A BLURT.

Next you'll top each jam-blurted pumpkin with an un-blurted pumpkin. Then, using your fingers, sort of gently pinch the outer edges together, followed by tamping them down with the tines of a fork. Crimping — that's the term I should be using here but that just makes me think of the ugly hairstyles we wore in the '80s and scaaaaary.



Here's where the optional fun comes in: you can do as I did with one of the "pumpkins" and brush a little food coloring on to make the dough appear orange. If you're using homemade pie dough you can add food coloring right in while you're mixing it so your dough is orange from the get-go. You could also do a little egg or milk wash to make the dough shiny. This is a very neat and helpful tutorial on the effect different dough washes have on the finished product that you should certainly check out! You could also use sanding sugar or decorative jimmies to adorn your pies. The sky, she is the limit!

You can, of course, also fill your pies with just about anything! Do you want them to be actual pumpkin pies? Use pumpkin jam, pumpkin butter or pumpkin pie filling. Do you prefer a savory pie? How about some gorgonzola and fig-stuffed "pumpkin" pies? Or spicy mustard and Gruyere "pumpkin" pies? Or diced pepperoni and mozzarella "pumpkin" pies? Literally "pumpkin" pizza rolls and wow, I just died a little bit of joy at that thought. There are so many combinations and things that would be awesome in these babies.

One thing to note is that because you have to use your filling sparingly, these pies really and truly benefit from a dusting of something over the top to give the dough a little flavor. So either a sugar sanding or, if you've gone the savory route, a dusting of cheese or sesame seeds or some such will make an enormous difference in the relative deliciousness of your hand pies.

The last step is to transfer your hand pies to a cookie sheet, and put them in the oven. Bake 'em at 400 degrees for 15 or so minutes; that ought to do it for you.

And the best part is that people will think you're sooooooo clever that they probably won't even take the time to shame you for using refrigerated pie crust. And if they do, you send them my way. I've got some razor blade-filled hand pies just waiting for their sort.

91 Comments / Post A Comment

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

This is brilliant.

I am totally not a baking-type person, but I may have to make these, if only just to surprise and confuse all my friends with my apparent secret baking skills that don't actually exist.

Thanks, Jolie!

The Lady of Shalott


The Lady of Shalott

Oooh or what if you filled them with a tiny blurt of pumpkin pie filling???

Jolie Kerr

@The Lady of Shalott You didn't read the whole thing, did you :,(

Jolie Kerr

Oh oh but also I'm so glad you're here because you need to know about this!!!

The Lady of Shalott

@Jolie Kerr Oh nooo, I did but I think I got too excited over the concept of SPICY MUSTARD AND GRUYERE PIES OMG and then the idea of making pumpkin pizza pies??? And then I started thinking about what I could dust on top of a tiny pizza pie, like maybe some parmesan??? I got distracted obvs.


Jolie Kerr

@The Lady of Shalott I'll forgive you if you make me a spicy mustard and gruyere hand pie. (Mostly I'm just miffed that I put that sentence in because I KNEW if I didn't someone would be like, "Or you could make real pumpkin pies with pumpkin pie filling." and then it happened anyway and MIFF MIFF MIFF. Okay so right, good talk! What was that about nail varnish again?!?)

The Lady of Shalott

@Jolie Kerr Ohhh nooooo, now I feel shame for not reading carefully enough :(

Jolie Kerr

@The Lady of Shalott Oh now, don't feel shame! We go back so far I knew I could yank your chain a bit.

The Lady of Shalott

@Jolie Kerr In a strange coincidence, I was trolling about your columns earlier today because my boyfriend requested that I clean the microwave (after CERTAIN PEOPLE microwaved tomato-based products without covering them, which may have CONTRIBUTED to the filthy microwave problem, AHEM) and I was hunting about looking for the right water-to-vinegar ratio to microwave.

But I really am going to a Halloween party and I really am debating what kind of hand pies to make--fancy Gruyere-involving ones, or pizza pies.


@The Lady of Shalott BOTH MAKE BOTH why is this even a debate. I am, even as we speak, contemplating pies with a sliver of brie and some jam/possibly a wee bit of apple with some sort of cheesy goodness on top.

The Lady of Shalott

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Cause I'm lazy, yo.


@Jolie Kerr You follow Vampy Varnish, too?
I thought exactly the same thing as you when I saw her post!


@The Lady of Shalott I can attest to the tastiest of tiiiiiiiiiny pies with pumpkin in. I made pumpkin pasties for a friend's Harry Potter themed B-Day, and just baked the custard first and then stuck in dough like Jolie describes here. They were good!

But grainy mustard Gruyere! I, who am not a sweets person as much as I am a savory person just died a little on the inside that I have gone this long without trying this, woe, alas!

Thankfully, I can always give it a shot this weekend!

Mushroom caramelized onion
Apple onion cheddar chutney
Mince meat! (Home made mince meat!) and cheddar.

Sooo many things in tiiiiiny pies.



I love this idea! I have a bunch of frozen pie dough and pumpkin butter!


These look quite nice, but will you do a followup post on how you cleaned your dishes and countertops? I miss you, cleanie!


@yup. me tooo! also, right now I have no oven, but as I am living alone for the next few weeks until I go home, I somehow have many dirty dishes.


Oh lord, I have a cleaning question. A disgusting cleaning question that I have put off because I don't want to do it because it's not my mess, and OH GOD roomates.


@hotdog yet rid of your roommates, seriously, they are revolting. (/been there, it is annoying)

Jolie Kerr

@hotdog Talk to me. How can I help? (Also this month's AaCP is running this week I think.)


@Jolie Kerr Ah, thank you!! Ok, so, I moved into an apt with a lady who has lived here for 2 years with a different roommate. One of the burners on the (gas) stove is not working, so I lifted up the stove cover to fuss with the pilot light. THE HORROR.

I do not know how to describe the mess, but I will just say that there is much food under there that is unidentifiable at this point. It stinks. Like it ACTUALLY stinks, and is a bummer. I really, really want my roommate to take care of this, but she is not what I could consider clean, and she has taken no initiative to do anything about the muck other places, so that is just not going to happen.

What do I do to clean this stove without throwing up?! I'm slightly scared of oven cleaner because of it's horribleness. I'm also slightly afraid of using any chemicals around a fire-source. HELP?

Jolie Kerr

@hotdog Oh eew that sounds gross. And I think you're right to just bite the bullet and take matters into your own hands.

I like this video by way of good instructions for cleaning the interior of a gas range. For the badly stuck on food, try making a baking soda paste with water, glopping it on, letting it sit and then wiping it away. You may also want to try scraping as much up as you can using a metal spatula or scraping tool. Vinegar is another good non-chemical option for cleaning. Regardless of what you're using, turn off the gas and unplug the stove before you go mucking about in there!


@hotdog When I moved in to my current apartment, a few of the burners were fussy so I also lifted the range top to clean out the gas ducts or whatever, and lo and behold, so many mouse droppings. I was horrified -- obviously the previous tenants (somewhere along the line) didn't so much cook so the miceys figured out that it was a warm place to run around, I guess? Anyway, I used the nozzle attachment on our vacuum cleaner for the first round of gunk-getting, and I recommend that if you have chunks of food (or anything) under there. You can kind of scrape the pieces off with it, too, so you don't have to use your hands. And that's all I did -- there wasn't anything that needed a degreaser, but I'm sure if you needed to you could blow out the range pilot and then relight after cleaning. (I guess that depends on the design of the stove. I refer you to The Internet for further pilot light information.)


@Jolie Kerr THANK YOU. This week is stove-cleaning week. This weekend was freezer-cleaning weekend; I don't even know who I am anymore (a not-disgusting person, probably).

up cubed

@Stevie Maybe also wear a mask, if there are mouse poops? I imagine there is stuff in them that you don't want to breathe.


To keep the filling from oozing out, dip a finger in a dish of water and run it around the edge of one of the pumpkins before squishing them together and crimping. It helps the doughs meld together.


also, can I just say (again) that I love hairpin sunday postings! now I can look at this AND postsecret. and watch tv on the internet and never leave my room.


Alt text, alt text, alllt text.

Jolie Kerr

@laurel BLESS YOU MY CHILD. There is alt text on the tights post too and I think no one noticed it.


@Jolie Kerr some of us noticed it! and giggled to ourselves as we contemplated buying the spider web tights! (I work for The Government and I kind of want to blow everyone's dome in two weeks with my spidery, spidery legs.)

The Frozen Head of Dorothy Zbornak

@Jolie Kerr

I noticed it, and I loved it. You are all things brilliant, m'lady.


This is a really nice break from what I'm doing today!

Jolie Kerr

@melis But what you're doing is so great!

You guys, you know that Our Mallory is blogging on Gawker this weekend, right? Go go go! (But then come back here and click a few more times thanks.)


I love you, melis.


@melis You're doing gawker a service this weekend. Also haters gonna complain in a weekend comment section only because they are not intelligent enough to understand humor. I mean, 'hate'.


@hotdog yeah, they really do not understand they're humourous pieces AT ALL over there. Oy vey.


@Megano! Seriously. I knew there was a reason I stopped checking Gawker.

maybe partying will help

Oh fuck yeah. DAMN. Bless you, Jolie.

get it?

Someone needs to have a Harry potter party because these ARE pumpkin pasties.


@get it? Technically, they are not pasties. But party on!


@get it? Here are some delicious pumpkin pasties my friend made for a Harry Potter premiere!


@get it? I made them and put them on MY boobs. QED, pumpkin pasties.


Hand pie. Hand pie. Handpiehandpiehandpie.


Damn you Jolie I JUST got back from the grocery!!!!!!!



And awesome baking ideas.


Please send me extra jam.

Valley Girl

Big ups for using a "blurt" as a unit of measurement.

I've had some luck making pie dough in my food processor, but I love the store-bought stuff for convenience. As far as I know nobody's ever even noticed a difference, despite my using all the ~gotta use cold butter and ice water~ tips I could find.


@Valley Girl: With olive oil, my favorite unit of measure is 'a glurg'.

Christina @twitter

I used to do something similar growing up using premade croissant ("crescent roll") dough. This idea seems equally delicious.

Valley Girl

Aight Jolie, you got me.


@Valley Girl
OMG, they look DELECTABLE! Nomnomnomnomnom!

My partner and I are moving house soon and I think maybe we're going to be having a Halloween Themed House Warming and now I think this will be all of the party food.

Jolie Kerr

@Valley Girl !!!!!!!!

Why are yours so much prettier than mine? Is it because you used homemade dough? Or did you use a fancy glaze? Or both? AND OH MY GOD YOUR THEMATIC PLATE AHHHHHHHHHHHH

Valley Girl

@Jolie Kerr It's totally stale store-bought dough, in fact I think that's why they cracked a little bit. But I brushed them with beaten egg a couple of times to glaze them. Then after I took the photo I also remembered to brush them with a little simple syrup and sugar so they got all sparkly :)


@Valley Girl OMG they look amazing :X Yummyyyyy link mobila


Crimping just makes me think of the Mighty Boosh


Your username and comedic taste are relevant to my interests.


@TARDIStime see also: penguins wearing tiny jumpers. Are you me?


@TARDIStime Based on YOUR username, we could be older/younger versions of each other




@melis I am gazpatchio oh! I am a summer soup oh!

Inspector Tiger

@melis Croutons! Croutons! Crunchy friends in a liquid broth.


I appreciate all you have done for myself and my family. My name is harry and after contacting so many fake spell casters that only played with my heart you´d got what I wanted: my family back. Your sincere kindness and thoughtfulness inspires me. You have touched my heart deeply and I will forever be grateful that you got rid of all the negative influences that surrounded my wife and I. Now we are back and my son is very happy again, with his parents together... Thanks ANTOGAI antogaispelltemple@yahoo.com all my gratefulness

Tuna Surprise

It was just little pumpkin pies but we're doing all we can!

Diaphanous Gown

I TOTALLY HAVE A PUMPKIN SHAPED COOKIE CUTTER. But I live in England and now have to wait two weeks until actual halloween because we don't get as excited about it as you guys and if I made them now people would think I was weird. But SO making them in two weeks.


@Diaphanous Gown I think the reason us Yanks get as excited about Halloween is because it's the only thing keeping stores from putting up Christmas decorations even more ridiculously early than they already do.

Tuna Surprise

@Diaphanous Gown

This is my first Halloween in England and I can tell you, as a yank, I'm shocked by all the Christmas stuff I've seen already. Let's import Thanksgiving solely as a way to hold off Christmas a bit longer.

Diaphanous Gown

@Tuna Surprise I am 100% behind this idea.

RK Fire

No one should give you shit, Jolie, because Pillsbury dough is one of the best pie doughs ever and I will fight people over this!

[I am doing a lifestyle/diet challenge thingy though so I'm now thinking about whether or not I could do this with some sort of walnut crust dealie.. o_O]


When people judge me for using pre-made pie dough, I judge them for having too much time on their hands.

(also if you're eating my family's chocolate pecan pie recipe and you're focusing on the dang dough, you're doing it wrong)


Related: I've been making homemade pop-tarts recently, both sweet and savory, and it is the BEST. Wholewheat/rosemary/olive oil crush + apricot filling is my current favorite, with apple-honey butter in a graham cracker crust is close second. It makes eating breakfast standing up feel so fancy!



Jolie Kerr

@cherrispryte I MADE/WROTE ABOUT THESE PIES WELL BEFORE YOU ASKED FOR THE BRIE NAAN IT'S COMING IT'S COMING. Not sure when though. Naan is kind of a pain to make, I'm thinking about Frankensteining it with pre-made naan and daring someone to shame me for it since that little game seemed to work pretty well with the pre-made pie crust.


FYI: “This year is on track to be one of the most active years for seasonal pumpkin menuing” according to some weirdo who says stuff like that in a NYMag article I just read. (insert "The More you Know Graphic here).


Oh my gooooooood yes yes yes


Jam Blurt. Jam. Blurt. Jam blurted. Improv team name or new favorite thing to call people? Jolie, you are my Jam Blurt.




@mayonegg cookie butter.

Jolie Kerr

@PistolPackinMama What is this cookie butter you keep talking about, lady? SHARE WITH THE REST OF THE CLASS.


@Jolie Kerr You know those windmill cookies you get on KLM airplanes (maybe? Or one of those international carriers?)? Evidently those are a brand name of a Traditional Dutch/Belgian biscuit. The general name for them is Speculoos (I try and avoid thinking about the OBGyn-sounding-ness of that name.)

So, a couple of years ago, some baking contest enthusiast in Belgium used those cookies to make a peanut-butter like consistency spread, and then used them in a recipe, and then it became a Thing.

Trader Joe's has a TJ-brand version of Biscoff-the-airplane-cookie's branded cookie butter. And it is delicious straight out of the jar. But spread on warm CRACK BROWNIES or dropped in a mug chocolate cake, or spread on apple slices it is heaven.


Valley Girl

@PistolPackinMama "whatsgoodattraderjoes.com" This sounds like an excellent substitute/supplement to surfing and drooling over things tagged Trader Joe's on tumblr. Which I may have been doing the other night.

I am so making cookie butter pies next time!

Charismatic Megafauna

Yessssss, this is a lifesaver. I made 8 pounds of pie dough last weekend, saying to myself, "Everyone's getting an apple pie this year!" Then immediately thereafter saying to myself, "Oh, lordy, that is all going to waste in January, isn't it . . . " But now I have a plan! THANK YOU

Also- thanks for that great link to the dough wash tutorial! So fascinating!


There aren't enough nutsack-shaped treats.


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Amir Khatri@facebook

This looks amazing - does the oat flour make a particular difference? I have normal flour and gluten-free flour (which may or may not be oat) instead...text your ex back pdf


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