These Savory Squash & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies are about to become your new favorite fall side dish. They also make adorable and easily shareable appetizers or anytime snacks. Seal creamy roasted squash and sweet onion filling into pockets of flaky gluten-free pie crust. Sprinkle on a crunchy, slightly spicy, and colorful topping for a delightfully buttery and incredibly savory hand-held treat ideal for fall.
How to Make Gluten-Free Pastry for Hand Pies
It’s easier than you might think to make flaky and buttery pie crust with gluten-free flours. I love the combination of brown rice flour, all-purpose, and arrowroot flour. The brown rice flour adds a slightly nutty flavor to the dough. Arrowroot is especially absorbent, which helps the gluten-free dough hold together.
This crust comes together in minutes using a food processor. Simply pulse together the dry ingredients, then add in chunks of cold butter. Pulse again until the butter is just broken down into pea-sized balls. They should be fully coated in flour. These balls will melt and release steam while the crust bakes, resulting in a beautifully risen, crisp layered pie crust.
Finish the dough with ice water and an egg yolk for richness and to help tenderize the flour. It’s key here to only mix the dough in the food processor until it comes together into a ball. Overmixing can cause the crust to turn tough. Also, add only enough water so the dough is slightly sticky to the touch, not slimy.
Savory Squash & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies (Vegetarian, GF)
Flaky gluten-free pastry with puréed squash filling, roasted chickpeas, and a crunchy spice topping creates a marriage of savory flavors and textures perfect for fall. Serve homemade hand pies as an appetizer for a dinner party, alongside a hearty soup or stew, or as an anytime pick-me-up that will leave as big of a smile in your tummy as it does on your face. Vegetarian and gluten-free, these hand pies are almost too cute to eat. But let's not be crazy. Of course, we want you to eat them––just be sure to get a picture with one first. Share it with me by tagging @christiannkoepke on Instagram, we want to see what you create!
Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- 1⅓ cups brown rice flour
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I use King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour)
- ½ cup arrowroot flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
- 1 egg
- For roasted squash:
- 1 pound of your favorite squash (butternut, acorn, or kabocha squash all work great)
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil (or olive oil)
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- For roasted chickpeas:
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- For caramelized onions:
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, whisked
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black and white are beautiful!)
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon everything bagel seasoning
Prepare the crust
- In a food processor, pulse together the brown rice flour, all-purpose flour, arrowroot flour, and salt.
- Add the butter pieces and pulse a few times, until the butter is the size of peas and the ingredients start to clump together.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons ice water. Pour the egg mixture into the food processor slowly, pulsing as you go until the dough forms into a ball. Stop as soon as the dough begins to come together and there are nearly no flour bits left. Add more ice water only if needed to make a slightly sticky dough (this depends on elevation and humidity).
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Work it gently into a ball. Flatten into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
- After chilling, roll the dough into a rectangle about ⅛-inch thick and cut into your desired shapes for hand pies. You can rework the trimmings into more shapes. We love squares, circles, and crescents.
- Place the cut dough in the freezer while you make the filling. This will help keep its shape during baking. If you need to stack, be sure to separate each piece of dough with parchment to avoid sticking.
Prepare the filling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Peel, deseed, cube, and coat the squash in oil. Roast for 18 to 25 minutes (depending on size, smaller cubes less time, larger will need more time) or until golden and crispy. Allow to cool slightly then purée in a blender or food processor (some chunks are good). You can also use canned squash purée if you like.
- On a baking sheet, toss the chickpeas with the oil and spices. Roast in for 15 to 17 minutes.
- Reduce the oven to 375°F.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil for the onions. Add the onions and cook until brown and sweet, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the onions regularly and adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
- In a medium bowl, combine the squash, chickpeas, and caramelized onions.
- Remove the crust from the freezer. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of prepared filling into each pastry pouch. Once the dough is at a workable temperature, fold or layer the dough on top to closed. Crimp the edges of each pie with a fork to seal.
- In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, sumac, flaky salt, pepper, and everything bagel seasoning.
- Using a pastry brush or your finger, gently brush the top of each pie with the beaten egg. Use a sharp knife to score a few holes on the top of each pie for steam to escape and sprinkle with a generous pinch (or two) of the topping.
- Bake for 13 to 18 minutes, until the pies are golden on top and flaky. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze any leftover filling for up to 18 months.
How to Make the Savory Hand Pie Filling
The fall-inspired filling for your hand pies is made with creamy roasted squash, slightly sweet caramelized onions, and protein-packed roasted chickpeas. Together, these three components make a satisfying and seasonal filling for this delicious appetizer recipe.
You can use any squash you like for the filling. Just break it down into cubes and roast at the same time as the chickpeas to reduce your cooking time. On the stove, get the onions cooking until they’re meltingly tender and golden brown. Mix everything together and you’re ready to fill, shape, and bake your pies.
If you love these photo-worthy hand pies, then there’s plenty more in store for you! Be sure to follow along on Instagram for all of my comforting and seasonal recipes this fall.