Everywhere you look it seems there is all kinds of buzz about Thanksgivukkah. What is Thanskgivukkah? It is the once in a lifetime confluence of the holidays of Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukkah. Due to the intricacies of the calendar this won’t happen again for more than 70,000 years, hence all the buzz and excitement. In addition to ordering our very own Menurky, the way we are planning to celebrate this holiday is through the food. My husband already likes to deep fry the turkey so that is the first step in fusing the two holidays, but I thought it would be fun to come up with some Thanksgivikkuah desserts as well.
When one thinks of Thanksgiving desserts the first thing to come to mind is, of course, pie. Pumpkin, pecan, apple cranberry, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving in our house without a good assortment of pies. These dreidel shaped hand pies are a fun and delicious way to throw a bit of Chanukkah into the mix. Hand pies are also a great way to serve assorted pies without having way too much pie (like the year I made 3 pies for our small 8 person Thanksgiving). I made these hand pies cranberry apple because that is one of my favorite flavor combinations but if thats not your thing feel free to use this pecan pie filling or pumpkin butter instead.
Something that is important when making hand pies is to use a tasty crust. Since hand pies have a much higher ratio of crust to filling than standard pies a flavorless crust will make the whole thing taste less than stellar. This is not the place to take a shortcut with refrigerated pie crust, it is well worth it to make it homemade. I added a bit of extra sugar to my standard pie crust recipe and that helps enhance the flavor.
Now that I have started playing around with fun Thanksgivukkah foods my mind is spinning with fun possibilities. Check back next week for pumpkin pie filed sufganiot!
1 ¼ cups flour (5.6 oz)
¼ teaspoon salt (1.5 g)*
1/4 cup (2 oz) sugar
10 tablespoons (5 oz) earth balance buttery sticks, cut into one inch pieces and well chilled.
1 egg yolk (.7 oz)
up to 2 tablespoons (1 oz) ice water
*if making this recipe with unsalted margarine instead of the buttery sticks increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
2 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored and minced (about 4 ounces)
3 ounces cranberries, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) dark brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fit with a metal blade and pulse to combine.
Add the buttery sticks and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (There should be pieces of margarine the size of peas and some slightly larger pieces as well). Add the egg yolk and process until the egg yolk is combined and the dough just starts to come together.
Transfer the dough to a bowl. If you can press it into a smooth ball do not add any water. If the dough is still crumbly add the water 1/2 tablespoon at a time until it you can press it into a smooth ball.
Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten the dough into a disk one inch thick. Wrap well and refrigerate for one hour. (If you are in a real hurry you can freeze it for 15 minutes.) The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to five days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to a month.
While the dough is chilling make the filling. Combine the apples, cranberries, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small sauce pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cranberries have burst and the apples are soft. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 375.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Top with an additional sheet of parchment and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Peel off the top piece of parchment and cut out dreidels from the dough using a three inch dreidel cookie cutter. Transfer half the dreidels to a parchment lined cookie sheet. If the dough is too soft to transfer without messing up the dreidel shape place the parchment with the dough on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. Top the dreidels on the cookie sheet with a generous tablespoon of filing, making sure to leave a half inch border around the edges. Do not fill the stem of the dreidel, just the middle section. Top with the remaining dough dreidels. Gently stretch the edges of the dough on top and seal them with the edges of the bottom dough. Re-roll the scraps and repeat with the remaining dough.
Brush the top of the dreiedels with egg or water and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. (If using pumpkin butter for filling substitute granulated sugar mixed with pumpkin pie spice for the coarse sugar). Using a sharp knife cut a steam vent in the shape of one of the letters on the dreidel.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the top feels set and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove the pies from the oven. They will have spread some and the shape will not be as sharp. Immediately use the same cookie cutter to recut the still hot pies. This will both seal the edges and make sure the shape has clean edges. Let cool slightly and enjoy!