Tag Archives: spiced

Roasted Plum and Pumpkin Hand Pies

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Wow! A pumpkin recipe…very original this time of year. But how could I not? I’ve been bombarded with everything pumpkin for the past few weeks now. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice everything. I even saw a picture for pumpkin spice tampons, which I’m sure was a joke. There are pumpkins for sale at every store and every corner so naturally I had to pick a few up. I had never actually cooked a fresh pumpkin before but since the little pie pumpkins were only $1.29 each I really couldn’t have gone wrong.

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Since I had some blue plums left over I decided to roast them with a little sugar and make plum pumpkin hand pies. Maybe it sounds like a weird combination but since they’re both in season, why not? It seemed like a great idea to me and also I could’ve called them Plumkin Hand Pies. What a cute name, right? No…no that’s not right. I did a quick google search to see if the name “Plumkin” had been used before, because I was sure it must’ve. Nothing is ever original anymore, especially with the internet. So, my results were not what I was expecting. If you’d like, you can look it up yourself because I don’t think the definition of a “plumkin” is appropriate for a food blog. Unless you like throwing up while looking at pretty pictures of food.

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Um, so back to the food! These little pies are made with my one and only favourite pie crust, the salted butter pie crust. Which, I really do believe is the key to a good pie, no matter what the filling is. Without this crust all pies are mediocre, in my opinion. Each mini pie gets a dollop of spiced creamy pumpkin puree and half a beautifully dark roasted plum. The filling is a perfect offset to the salted butter crust and the size makes them great for a snack, plus they’re super cute.

Mini Roasted Plum Pumpkin Hand Pies with Salted Butter Crust
Makes 20 2×2″ pies filled with spiced pumpkin and roasted plum

Pumpkin Puree:
1 small pie pumpkin ( or 110g of canned pumpkin puree)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt
2 packed tablespoons of brown sugar

Roasted Plums:
10 small blue/damson plums, halved lengthwise and pitted
3 tbsp caster sugar

Salted Butter Crust:
250g all purpose flour
225g cold, salted butter, cut into small pieces
about 1/4 cup of cold water

1 egg and a little water for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375˚F

Cut off stem and halve pumpkin and scrape out seeds. Rub the inside of the pumpkin with a few drops of vegetable oil. Line a rimmed tray with foil and place pumpkin halves skin side up. Roast in oven for about an hour or until soft.

While the pumpkin is baking, prepare plums. Lay the halves skin side down in a roasting tray and sprinkle sugar evenly over top. Place into oven with the pumpkin and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until juices are bubbling and the plums have softened.

Make the crust by combining the flour and butter in a food processor then adding the water, a little at a time while the machine runs and until the dough starts to come together. Knead lightly by hand. If making by hand, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Add the water and mix and form into a dough. Flatten with the palms of your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Let plums and pumpkin cool to room temperature. Once the pumpkin has cooled, scrape it out of its skin. Puree in a food processor. I only used about half a cup of puree (110g). The rest of the pumpkin can be used in cakes, pies, cookies, stews, soups, etc. Blend the spices into your half a cup of puree.

Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and cut out squares with a cookie cutter or with your knife. I made mine with a 2×2″ cutter. Different shapes can be used as well. Gather the scraps and refrigerate while you fill the pies.

To fill the pies, first lay out half the squares and brush the edges with egg wash. Place about a tsp of pumpkin puree into the middle of the square and top with half a roasted plum. Take another square and gently press it between your fingers to make the surface larger. Place it on top of the filling and gently press it down on all sides. Using a fork, seal the edges, either with the tips of the fork or the whole side. Repeat with the rest of the squares. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with the leftover scraps of dough. Once all the hand pies are ready to be baked, brush with egg wash and bake at 375˚F for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Can be left at room temperature for a couple days in a sealed container and then refrigerated for about a week. Reheat in low oven.

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Clean Out The Fridge Tacos

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People talk. A lot. And when I say ‘talk’ I mean to say that everyone likes to talk about how they are going to do this and that and all the great things that they have planned ahead of them. More often than not most of these intentions don’t pan out or don’t even come close to fruition. That was me. For months and months and even more months I had been telling myself and everyone that I would get back to blogging. I would blame it on my job, that was sucking the life out of me or really I should have blamed it on sheer laziness. Now that I’m jobless I don’t have much of an excuse since being lazy isn’t really a legitimate reason.
 
Just don’t let me get lazy again when I find a new job.
 
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So, the past year has been interesting. I was working as an assistant pastry chef and moved twice into new apartments. What a change it has been since moving out of my parents’ place. So much cleaning and so many responsibilities! Who knew that vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom should be done more than once a month…or more than once a week if you’re living with a messy guy.
 
Being responsible for groceries and cooking has really opened my eyes to how much food waste I produce. I seem to have a really hard time with buying just what I need and always end up with half empty containers of food and half rotten vegetables that I had planned to use for some new recipe or other. It also doesn’t help that I tend to only shop when I’m hungry. But it actually makes me feel terrible that I waste so much.
 
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The recipe I have today is one of my ways to use up leftovers. Tacos, to me, are great because they can be super simple or as complicated as you want. You can use as little as 3 or 4 ingredients and end up with something that tastes delicious. Here, I wanted to use up some roasted chicken that we had for lunch a few days before as well as some vegetables I had lying around***. From the fridge I pulled out an avocado, some leftover red cabbage, cilantro, and vegan mayo. All that was left was to buy the tortillas and limes. Simple, and much better than wasting perfectly good food.
 
Now I just have to find a way to use up the tortillas and limes…
 
 
*** More often than not I use fake beef for the filling. Yves makes some really good meatless beef tenders that are delicious in tacos when shredded and pan fried.
 
 
Spiced Chicken Tacos with Creamy Lime Aioli  (Can easily be veganized) 
Makes enough for 2 people as a main
 
1 large roasted chicken breast
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 of a small head of red/purple cabbage, shredded
1 large avocado
8-10 small tortillas
powdered cayenne pepper
paprika
juice from 1/2 lime
1 lime sliced into quarters
salt
 
For the aioli:
2/3 cup vegan mayo
juice from 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped roughly
 
First make the Aioli:
In a small bowl, stir the lime juice into the vegan mayo and add the minced garlic. Stir until smooth and then add the cilantro. Let it sit while you make the rest of the tacos so that the garlic has time to flavour the dressing.
 
To make the tacos, start by prepping the cabbage, avocado, and limes, and place them into serving dishes or spread out on a large serving tray. Shred the chicken breast by hand. Heat a nonstick pan on medium and coat with the vegetable oil. Add in the chicken shreds and sprinkle the cayenne pepper and paprika over, about 1/2 tsp of each or to taste. Stir fry until the chicken is crisp. Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.
 
Wipe the pan with a paper towel and turn the heat up to high. Add one tortilla to the pan at a time and toast on each side, about 20 seconds per side or until the tortilla starts to scorch.
 
Serve each taco with some extra cilantro on top as well as a squeeze of lime if desired.
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