Holiday traditions are a huge deal for me. Growing up, Halloween always meant creating that perfect costume, trick-or-treating with my sisters and the neighbor kid across the street, and visiting the school’s Halloween carnival before going home and passing out in a sugar coma. In the days leading up to the holiday itself, it meant carving pumpkins and watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the Garfield Halloween special (“I’ll have you know, Halloween is my middle name! Gar-Halloween-field….”) from the video tapes my mom had recorded many years before.
Every year when Halloween rolls around, I still look forward to watching those silly cartoon specials of my childhood, carving jack-o-lanterns and admiring their flickering candlelight in the dark outside my house, and my new tradition — making tasty things to eat. These adorable Fall flavor-packed pot pies are everything a Halloween meal should be, complete with festive orange sweet potato, autumn-appropriate sage and sausage, and the perfect jack-o-lantern face grinning up at you as you eat. Can your Halloween meal get any cuter? I submit that it cannot.
sweet potato, sausage + apple pot pies
makes 8 individual pies
3 c (15 oz) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter (2 sticks / 8 oz), cold and chopped small
6 Tbs cold water
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
6 Tbs (50 g) butter
3 1/2 Tbs (50 g) all purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 1/2 c – 4 c chicken stock
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp dried sage leaves
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 large Golden Delicious apple
1 – 19.5 oz package Jenny-O sweet Italian turkey sausage links
To make the pie dough: Place the flour into a medium sized bowl. Work the cold chopped butter into the flour by hand or with a pastry cutter until there are no chunks of butter left, the mixture looks damp and crumbly, and it clumps when squeezed in your hand. Stir the salt into the water until it is dissolved, and pour into the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon until large pieces form, and then mix together by hand until a uniform ball of dough forms.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Grab 8 disposable 5 inch aluminum pie tins and turn them over on top of the dough and trace around the tops of the pie tins with a paring knife, marking about 1/2 inch beyond the edges of the tins. Place the dough rounds onto a sheet pan and set in the fridge to chill.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set aside 2 sheet pans.
To make the filling: In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and diced onion and let cook until the onion has softened. Whisk in the flour until there are no lumps, and let cook over medium heat until bubbly and lightly golden brown. Pour in the chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Add the apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and sage. Turn heat to low and let simmer.
Place the sweet potato and Yukon gold potato into a shallow microwave safe container. Add water until the potatoes are just submerged, and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Stir, heat 6 minutes more. The potatoes should be fork tender but not mushy. Drain well and set aside.
Remove the sausage from its casing, and in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until no longer pink. Break apart into small chunks with a spatula as it cooks, and drain off any liquid once the sausage has cooked fully. Turn up to high heat and cook until the sausage starts to brown, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Stir the cooked potatoes and sausage into the thickened stock mixture. Slice the apple in half and remove the core and seeds. Leaving the skin on, dice the apple into small pieces and add to the rest of the filling. Stir to combine everything, taste to adjust seasoning if desired.
To assemble: Take pie dough rounds from the fridge and with a sharp paring knife, cut out jack-o-lantern faces from each round. Divide the filling between the 8 pie tins and set a pie dough round on top of each filled tin. If the dough is too firm to work with, allow to sit briefly to soften. Fold the overhang of crust over the edge of the tin and press lightly to seal to the underside edge of the pie tin. Press firmly with your thumb all around the top edge of the crust to seal well. Beat the egg yolk and milk together until smooth, and brush the egg wash over the pie dough.
Bake the pot pies in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Allow the pies to rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.
The great thing about these little pot pies (aside from how yummy they are) is that you can carve any face into them! I went with my old standard jagged-mouthed face, but you could get as spooky or as silly as you want. Let the kids pitch in with designing their perfect jack-o-lantern face! They’ll be rewarded with their own piping hot, delicious pot pie full of Fall goodness, complete with their own edible jack-o-lantern — great for warming little bellies before donning costumes and snagging lots of candycandycandy! Happy Halloween, everyone!