Butternut Squash Hand Pies

Butternut Squash Hand Pies

Fruit pie. Meat Pie. Veg Pie. It’s easy to love pie and it’s pastry that makes pie so lovable. Sure, pastry is good when pressed neatly into a fluted tart pan. In fact a tart is the most elegant form of pie I know. However, pastry is just as delicious when treated casually – draped over a pot pie and gently crimped, glazed and scored. But, in my opinion, the best pastries are the little hand pies that verge on messiness. The kind of pie that toys with falling apart in your hands. These Butternut Squash Hand Pies have just the right crumble to defy the knife and fork.

So pick one up and see why the best pies are the handheld sort. You can buy them on a street corner wrapped in brown paper and eat them on the run, or make them at home to serve with a special wine. Either way hand pies are a treat. Fragrant and savory, these Butternut Squash Hand Pies have just the right ratio of crust to filling. They define that magic moment when tender crust meets sumptuous filling. The kind of pie that automatically leaves buttery fingers reaching for napkins and slick lips begging for more. Butternut Squash Hand Pies.

Butternut Squash Hand Pies

Wine Pairing

Hilliard Bruce Moon 2012 

Hilliard Bruce Moon 2012
In the final lines of Now Voyager, Bette Davis says, “Don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the stars.” (Romantics, reach for a tissue.) I had heard tell about the Moon – an enigmatic wine from Hilliard Bruce, comprising of their most exquisite five barrels of Pinot Noir, with standards so exacting, some vintages don’t […]
Helen Melville

Price $80

Pairs well with lamb, lentil soup, all root vegetables, mushroom risotto, most vegan dishes, spicy dark chocolate truffles, or all on its own.

Of course a savory hand pie can be filled with almost anything. I’m taking my cues from the season and choosing a mash of simply seasoned butternut squash. Butternut squash can be steamed, sautéed, or microwaved. All these methods will result in a perfectly fine mash. However, I prefer to roast butternut squash whenever possible. Roasting will reduce the moisture (winter squash is 89% water) and intensify the flavor. You don’t want a wet, bland mash when you’re making a hand pie. Besides, roasting is also one of the easiest cooking methods I know.

So why are you still reading? What’s stopping you from making these Butternut Squash Hand Pies? I’ve pulled out as many rhetorical flourishes as I can in order to whet your appetite. I’ve invoked buttery lips and aural delights. I’ve kept the filling as simple as possible. My good friend Helen has even provided a wine of inspirational greatness and still you hesitate. I just have to assume that the culinary logjam is created by the pastry itself. I am told that pastry sometimes prevents folks from making pie at home. But I have to ask, what’s so difficult about rubbing butter and flour through your fingertips or pulsing these ingredients together in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs? After that good pastry is as simple as adding a little (teeny, tiny) bit of water to bring the mixture into jagged ball of softly sumptuous dough? You can use my recipe or any other recipe you fancy, though I prefer you use an all butter recipe. After all, it’s hard to get buttery lips eating Crisco.  GREG

PS Did you know I wrote a whole book on Savory Pies?

Butternut Squash Butternut Squash Hand Pies

Butternut Squash Hand PiesButternut Squash Hand Pies

Savory Butternut Squash Hand Pies with Taleggio Cheese 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 10Published

You can make the filling up to two days ahead of time. Keep covered and refrigerated.

Butternut Squash Hand Pies


  • all-butter pie pastry of your choice (enough to to make 1 double-crust 10-Inch pie)
  • 3/4 pound peeled butternut squash (cut into 3/4‑inch dice)
  • 2 carrots sliced into ½‑inch rounds)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper (as needed)
  • 3 clove garlic (peeled)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed, finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoon lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 ounce taleggio cheese (cut into twelve ¼ oz slices) or more to taste
  • egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water (as egg wash)


Prepare Pie Pastry recipe of your choice. Divide dough in half, shape into 2 discs about 5‑inches in diameter and 3/4‑inch thick. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze up to 1 month.

Make the squash filling: Preheat oven to 400 F.

Toss squash, carrots, garlic, olive oil and a generous pinch each salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Spread vegetables out on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet in as close to a single layer as possible. Roast, stirring halfway through, until squash mixture is very tender and beginning to color on the edges, 35–40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool somewhat then scrape the squash mixture along with any accumulated liquids into a food processor, add Parmesan cheese and process until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl, stir in the pine nuts, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and additional salt and pepper if necessary; set aside. 

Make the hand pies: On a lightly floured surface use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one disc of chilled dough to a 12 or 13-inch round, a generous 1/8‑inch thick. Cut out six 4‑inch rounds, using a round cutter or appropriately-sized saucer and knife. Gather scraps and re-roll as needed so you can get six rounds. Repeat with second disc of dough. Lay the 12 rounds out evenly spaced onto 1 or 2 parchment-lined baking sheets (as needed depending on size).

Bring the oven temperature to 425 F. 

Dollop about 2 tablespoons squash filling onto each round mounding in the center, leaving a 3/4‑inch border all around. Don’t overfill or they will be difficult to seal. Lay 1 slice of cheese on top of filling, nestling it into mixture. Brush edges lightly with egg wash. Carefully bring both sides up and towards center so they meet at top forming a football shape. Pinch edges together to seal. Then decoratively crimp or scallop edges as you like. Leave hand pie sitting with decorative edge facing up or lay it on its side, whichever you prefer. Brush with more egg wash. Sprinkle with salt. Make 2 tiny slashes in crust with the point of a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Refrigerate on baking sheets until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Bake in the 425 degree F oven, rotating sheets halfway through, until pies are golden brown; about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.