Is it Halloween? – the son asked
No it’s few days more – The mother replied
This time please make me dress as a vampire – the son requested
We never had Halloween during our childhood. We never celebrated Halloween. A day which is celebrated on the eve of All Hallows Day or All Saint’s Day, celebrated on November 1. It’s trick or treat for kids where they dress up in their favourite character costume, some in spooky clothes and move around from door to door. Hence, each year, on the 31st of October, it is time to get spooky!
One of my recent experiences of Halloween was at HongKong Disneyland. It was around 7 PM in the evening when the lights of Disneyland were put out and all the famous Disney villains captured Disneyland and came out for a parade. It was an experience worth remembering when the scary villains with full costume walked on the streets.
pumpkin and prawn filling inside the rolled out pastry dough
making a smooth edge of the pie dough using a spoon
crimping the edges of the dough using the back of a spoon
pumpkin and prawn hand pie before going into the oven
making holes on the raw pastry for letting out steam
Is there any festival where food is not an essential part of it? Pumpkin is an integral part of these celebration and as folklore goes- a long time back in Ireland there was a man called Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil few times over the years. When Jack passed away, God would not allow such a soul to heaven and the Devil could not claim his soul as promised to Jack. Jack was sent off by the Devil to roam around only with a burning coal and since then Jack has been moving around with that burning coal placed inside a carved out turnip. Ireland in those days did not grow pumpkins, hence the turnip. But when Irish immigrants moved to America, they realised that pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. This is known as Jack o Lantern and since then people carve out various forms of Jack’s Lantern.
pumpkin and prawn hand pies with mustard aioli drizzled and on the side
bunch of pumpkin and prawn hand pies just out of the oven
Madhushree says- This pumpkin and Prawn Hand pie, like most other bakes is an aromatic experience. The entire house is filled with the smell of butter. The indulgence of butter in both the filling and the pastry is an added bonus. The pastry is your typical short crust pastry and the butter makes it flaky. As you bite into a pie, you first experience the buttery flaky pastry and then you are hit with the sweetness of the pumpkin along with small freshwater prawns. There is abundance of garlic and we all know how garlic tastes with prawns- heavenly!! And finally it ends with some heat from red dried chilies. I have used turmeric and red chili powder to give it a desi touch. And the love for mustard made me create some mustard aioli. I would have preferred making the aioli from scratch but the lack of time led me into using shop bought mayonnaise.
The filling inside the flaky short crust pastry
pumpkin and prawn hand pies
Pumpkin and prawn Hand pie Its Halloween time?
Small hand pies with flaky buttery short crust pastry with a filling of pumpkin and prawns cooked in garlic and butter is joyful jumble of flavours. The basic method is easy, however it is time consuming since making individual pies takes time. It is definitely worth the effort.
Recipe Author- Madhushree
2 1/2 hours including baking time as well as making individual pies
For making the pie dough
Sift the flour in a bowl and place the chilled and cubed (small ones) butter in it.
With your fingers, rub the butter with the flour till the butter mixes with all the flour and resembles a grainy crumbly texture.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix. Then add the chilled water. There should be just enough water to bring the dough together. You may or may not need another half a tbsp of water.
Now with your hands, bring the dough together into a ball. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
For making the filling
Chop the pumpkins into small pieces so that it is quicker to cook.
Remove the heads of the prawns, deshell and de vien them. Wash and clean thoroughly and then keep them aside.
In a frying pan, take a tbsp of butter and when it melts, add the prawns. Saute the prawns lightly (about a couple of minutes). Using a slotted spoon, take the prawns out and keep them aside.
In the same pan, add another tbsp of butter. When it melts, add 3 tbsp of chopped garlic. Lightly fry the garlic but don't burn them.
Add the chopped pumpkins. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, some salt and stir.
Fry the pumpkins for a while and then cover and cook. It takes about 20 minutes for the pumpkins to become soft.
When the pumpkins have become completely soft, add the sauteed prawns.
In another skillet, take a tbsp of butter and when it becomes a little hot, add a tbsp of chopped garlic and the chopped dried red chili. Watch the red chili turn to brown and then drizzle the entire thing on top of the pumpkin and prawns.
Mix it all together. Add more salt if required. Your filling is ready.
Let it cool down before you start using it.
For making the pies
Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees
Take the dough out of the fridge. You can make the dough in advance and keep. Only thing is you need to bring it to almost room temperature or pliable stage before rolling out.
Make small round balls of the dough. Roll them out in a slightly oval shape. The shape need not be perfect. Sprinkle extra flour for easy rolling.
Then use about a tbsp or a little more of the filling in the centre and spread it almost in the shape of a half moon.
Take one end of the rolled out dough and fold it over the filling.
With your fingers, press the dough around the filling.
Then using a knife or a spoon, make smooth edge of the pie leaving about a little less than a centimeter around the edge.
Use the back of a spoon or even your own finger to press the edges and make a design.
Place each pie on a baking sheet. Cut out small holes using a knife on top of each pie to let steam out.
Then beat an egg in a bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the pies which will give it a golden colour when baked.
Bake for about 35- 40 minutes or until the pies have become beautiful golden colour.
Take them out and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.
For the mustard aioli
Use all the ingredients listed under it in a bowl and whisk lightly. Change the quantities as per your taste.
Drizzle some aioli over the pies or serve them separately.
You can refrigerate and keep the aioli for about a week or two.