Despite what Instagram would have you believe, it is not particularly easy to make a beautiful pie with cute autumnal decorations that’s at once delicious and nice to look at. Making pies takes practice. A lot of it. And while a pie certainly doesn’t have to look picturesque to taste divine, the pressure to create a triumph of aesthetics and flavor peaks around Thanksgiving, the most pie-heavy holiday of the year. Even if you do succeed, pies tend to be persnickety to serve: they can be difficult to cut and mathematically challenging to divide, and their fillings tend to flood gloopily into the dish. And when have you ever felt like you got a big enough slice?
Well, guess what. This year you’re trying something different. You’re making hand pies.
Hand pies, turnovers, gourmet Pop Tarts — these are all, if you think about it, some category of pie. Bakers roll out flaky pie crust, laminated pastry, or shortcrust pastry and dollop fruit or cream fillings inside. Once folded into one of a few shapes — my preference is the half-moon, but that’s just me — they’re egg-washed and sprinkled with sugar, making what is ostensibly a slice of pie but with twice as much crust and half as much hassle. Not to mention even less fear that they’ll somehow look bad. Hand pies are meant to look a little rustic, a little wobbly around the edges, but they’re still a perfectly acceptable and much simpler delivery method for pie, for both the baker and the eater. And just like regular pie, they can be made a day or even two days before Thanksgiving (as long as they’re tightly stored in Tupperware).
When the big day comes, lay your hand pies all out on a doily-lined platter and let your guests take their pick. It’ll be exciting for your friends and family to learn that they can have their own individual pie — not some meager slice — to be carried around on their postprandial digestive lap around the kitchen. And if you’re not sure you’re up for making any pie at all? McDonald’s hand pies are an everlasting hit.
Heedayah Lockman is a Glasgow-based illustrator and designer.