Sweet Potato Hand Pies (Or Lollipies)

Recipe and Photography by Karen Gerard

Yields 12 hand pies or 24 lollipies

This recipe is made with a flaky and tender empanada-like crust. To make a pie instead, mix up a more firm and substantial crust and bake it in an 8-inch pan.

Filling:

1/4 tsp salt

2 large orange sweet potatoes

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1/8 cup half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Crust: 16 oz (4 sticks) butter

2-2 1/2 cups flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup ice water

Glaze:

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of water

To prepare filling:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add the sweet potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork, 30 minutes or more. Drain the potatoes and pull the skins off under cold running water. Use an electric mixer or blender to turn the softened potatoes into a smooth puree. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, beaten eggs, half and half, and cinnamon and nutmeg to the sweet potatoes. Beat or blend until incorporated.

To make crust:

Cube the butter and place in freezer for at least 1 hour. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal with pea-sized butter pieces. Slowly drizzle the water into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape out bowl onto a clean, lightly floured surface and gather dough into a flat disc. Wrap tightly with plastic and rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Divide chilled dough into 12 balls. Gently flatten each ball with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thickness.

If making hand pies cut a 5-6 inch round and place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center. Use water or egg wash to close and seal. Press the edges with the tines of a fork or a paring knife.

If making lollipies cut two 3 inch discs and press a lollipop stick into the center of one disc before topping with a heaping teaspoon of filling. Cover with second disc, use egg wash or water and press to seal.

Cut vents into the tops and arrange your pies on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until glossy and brown. Cool slightly before removing pies from baking sheet.

While pies are cooling whisk powdered sugar and water to create a smooth, thick glaze. Add more sugar or water to achieve desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle cooled pies with glaze. Serve at room temperature.

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