Although I absolutely adore full-time blogging and working from home, it felt a little isolating when I first began. (Those of you with blogs of your own are probably nodding your heads right now!) Working on the internet, most of my readers and fellow bloggers were spread out across the country, if not the entire world, so the chances of bumping into another blogger “in real life,” especially a food blogger, and hanging out were almost zero.
But as luck would have it, I eventually discovered that there are seven other food bloggers that live within a 30-minute radius of my home! Two of them even share my same zip code. There’s also another sweet lady a little further away but incredibly close to my parents’ place. Even better, we all get along and laugh until our bellies ache every time we get together. It’s truly a miracle to find friends like that!
This past week, I headed over to Karen’s house to drop off a new ingredient, and she insisted that I stayed for dinner. She and her husband set another place at their table while I read books to their little daughter; then we all sat down for soup, toast, and conversation.
Yet the real reason I drove across town in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic was because Karen promised me two of her Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies she had just perfected. She knows I can’t resist dessert!
She fed me one before dinner, and even with a bowl of her butternut squash soup in front of me, full of my favorite sweet onions… I couldn’t stop thinking about that second pie! Karen packed it up and sent it home with me, and I immediately devoured every last flaky crumb as soon as I walked in my front door.
I really wish she had more!
Ironically enough, I had just baked these Easy Pecan Hand Pies the day before! (Great minds think alike Karen!) These rich nutty treats have only 5 ingredients, and they’re absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving.
Let’s start with the easy stuff first. The filling is just pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup. You could easily use all brown sugar instead, but I added the maple for that hint of sweet earthiness. It also turned the filling into a paste, which was much easier to fold into the pies!
For the crust, I turned to filo (phyllo) dough. I polled Facebook a little while ago, and it seemed as if most of you mainly used it for savory recipes, but it makes the perfect flaky crusts for these sweet treats!
Filo dough is tissue paper thin, so we’ll layer a couple of sheets together the build up the “crust” and help prevent tearing. Most recipes call for brushing on melted butter as the “glue” holding the sheets together, but we’re going to save lots of calories today and use cooking spray instead. It’s okay if one of the sheets tears a tiny bit; just continue on and try not to rip it any further.
Each sheet should be about 10×18”, so after “gluing” two together, we’ll cut the long edge into six 3”-wide pieces. Each strip forms a pie. You’ll put some of the filling in the bottom right corner; then start folding it up like a flag according to the diagram above. If any filling falls out, slip it back in just before the third fold. After sealing up all of the pies, mist them one last time with cooking spray and bake!
Although not the biggest fan of nuts in my desserts, I couldn’t keep my hands off of these Easy Pecan Hand Pies! They’re so easy, so cinnamony, so flaky… And they stayed that way for at least five days! That makes them an ideal make-ahead treat for Thanksgiving and Christmas… If you can keep yourself from sneaking them off the counter for that long!