Saturday, October 1, 2011

Harvest Pies

I am actually on the ball this year and posting a Thanksgiving recipe a full week before Thanksgiving!  Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving is October 10.  So for you American readers I am really on the ball.  This recipe is a slight variation on the Winter Pies I posted a while back.  If you are pressed for time you could make these pies like the winter pies (i.e. like a tasty Hot Pocket) rather than going through all the fuss of making mini pies.  Also, you can probably get 12 pies out of this recipe buy adding another two cups total of veggies, but I have given you some wiggle room with the pastry dough.  The two things that make these superior to the Winter Pies are the roasted cranberries (awesome!) and the roasted squash (equally awesome!).  The crust, as always, remains my favourite.  It is easy to work with and durable, yet still flaky and tender.  Don't worry if the top crust does not totally bond with the bottom--we enjoyed taking off the tops, pouring in some gravy, and putting the tops back on.

Makes 10
Pie Crust
- 1 lb (3.5 cups) all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10.5 oz (1 1/4 cup + 1tbsp cup) cold Earth Balance margarine, or vegetable shortening
- 5 oz (scant 2/3 cup) ice cold water
- 2 tsp ground flax seed

1. Whisk dry ingredients together, then cut margarine into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
2. Whisk flax seed into the water, then add to dry ingredients. Work into a soft dough with a fork and then your hands.
3. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

- 4 cups butternut squash, small dice
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper

- 4 cups total diced veggies (I used potato, carrot, and onion)
- 2 cups cooked white kidney beans
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp margarine
- 1 tsp sage
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tsp poultry spice (or a mix of thyme, sage, marjoram, and savoury)
- salt and pepper

- you also need some gravy

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Toss butternut squash, cranberries, and shallots in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 30-40 mins, or until golden brown. 
2. While squash is roasting, heat olive oil and margarine in a large saucepan over medium-hi heat.  Add veggies, beans, and garlic and the 1 tsp sage and turn to coat all the veggies with the oil.  Season with salt and pepper, then reduce heat to medium and cover.  Cook for 15-20 mins, stirring regularly, until veggies are cooked and golden.  Remove lid, add wine, and cook until reduced.   
3.  Add braised veggies to the pan of roasted squash.  Sprinkle poultry spice over top and gently toss together.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Set aside to cool.
Reduce oven to 375 degrees
4. Remove pastry from the fridge and cut off 2/3rds.  Return 1/3 to the fridge.  Roll out dough on a well-floured surface to between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut the dough into circles, big enough to fit your muffin tin with some hang over.  For example, my muffin tins have sections with a 3.25 inch diameter, and I found that a circle of pastry dough with a 5 inch diameter fit perfectly.  Make sure there is a lip of dough so you can attach the top crust on.

5. Mould the pastry into the muffin tin, making sure it is an equal thickness.  Fill with cooled veggie filling, mounding it up as much as you can.  
6. Roll out the remaining pastry dough and cut to the right size to make a top crust for each pie.  Press the top crust on to the lip of dough from the bottom crust.  Cut venting holes/slits in the top and bake for 35-40 mins, until golden.  
7.  Let cool for 5 mins, then gently remove from the muffin tins.  I found it easiest to gently place a cooling rack upside on top of the pies, then invert the rack and the muffin tin at once (like getting a cake out of a pan).  Once out of the tin, serve the pies (right side up) with gravy.