Along with Star Wars Day (May the 4th), Pi day (3.14) is one of the more popular geeky “holidays.” My chemistry teacher in high school preferred Mole Day (10-23) while others are devout observers of Free Comic Book Day (the first Saturday in May), and although my anniversary falls on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, my personal favorites may be Tolkien Reading Day (March 25th – the day the Ring was destroyed) and Hobbit Day (September 22 – Bilbo and Frodo’s shared birthday.) The big perk of Pi Day is, of course, getting to lean into the obvious pun and eat a lot of pie. Perhaps a round pie is more appropriate – you can calculate the circumference of your pie using pi! But this year on Pi Day I happened to make hand pies.
These hand pies are filled with a rich and flavorful mixture. The sweet butternut squash and red onions, earthy sage, nutty Parmesan, and toasty pine nuts all blend together and complement each other. I had this recipe bookmarked for years before I was finally was a confident enough cook to make them, but they are actually quite simple to make! Once I had finally made them, I was sure to make them again, soon. These will be a new favorite at home for me.
Butternut Squash, Sage, and Parmesan Pasties – adapted from TheKitchn
Yield 4 pasties
For the dough:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
8 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 medium red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or knife, cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time, gently tossing between additions, until the dough just holds together. Shape dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
To toast the pine nuts, put them in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Spread the nuts out over the surface and let them sit for 10 seconds or so, then stir them again. Keep stirring them in this manner for a few minutes until they become fragrant and slightly “tanned” but NOT burned.
In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, onion, garlic, sage, parsley, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion out to 1/8-inch thick circle.
Spoon the filling mixture over half of each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.
Moisten the edges of the dough with beaten egg. Fold the pastry over and crimp the edges. Make sure it is well sealed. Place the pasties on a baking sheet. Cut a small slit in the top of each pasty. Brush all over with beaten egg.
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm.