The holiday party outfit selection process is an extensive one.
It requires at least five changes of attire, one round of tears because nothing fits quite right, six roommate consultations. And a partridge in a pear tree.
All before deciding to just go back to our first choice.
Yeah, this is totally supposed to be “fun”.
Word to the wise.
Just like Thanksgiving is all about the dessert side dishes. Fashion is all about the accessories.
Pants, skirts, halter tops, whatever.
No one cares so long as you’re the girl walking in with the hand pies.
(And cute dangly earrings.)
They’re the new designer dog. Soon Paris Hilton is going to be walking around with them peeking out of her handbag and you can be all “been there, done that”.
Man, we are such trendsetters. I love it.
After all, you can win people over faster with an ooey gooey delicious caramel pecan filling and flaky buttery pastry dough than you can with leopard print leggings. That’s just a fact.
So let’s stress about caramelizing sugar instead of what pumps we should wear with what fingernail color, mmkay? Trust me. The payoff. Is way better.
Caramel Pecan Hand Pies
Makes 16, adapted from Food and Wine
- 4 cups AP flour
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
- 3/4 cup ice water
- 1 1/2 cups pecans (6 oz)
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup honey
- 5 large eggs, 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- In a large (preferably 12-cup) food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle the ice water over the dough and pulse in 1-second bursts until it just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into 2 disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- On a floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of the dough to a 16-inch square, a scant 1/4 inch thick. Using a small pot lid or plate (5 1/2 to 6 inches) as a template, cut out as many dough rounds as possible. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Reroll the scraps, chilling if necessary, for a total of 12-16 dough rounds. Transfer the pastry rounds to parchment paper–lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of water. Cook over moderate heat, swirling the pan gently once the caramel begins to form, until the caramel is medium-amber, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, cream, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Transfer 1 cup of the caramel to a large bowl and let cool slightly. (Save any remaining caramel for later use.) Whisk the remaining 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the corn syrup, honey and maple syrup into the caramel in the bowl. Whisk in the 4 unbeaten eggs until smooth. Add the pecans and a generous pinch of salt.
- Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Pour the pecan filling into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until set. Let cool slightly, then scrape the pecan filling into a bowl and gently stir to recombine. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Working with one baking sheet at a time, brush the pastry surfaces lightly with some of the beaten egg. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup of the pecan filling onto each round and fold the pastry over to make a turnover. Press the edges to seal and crimp with the tines of a floured fork. Refrigerate the hand pies while you prepare the rest.
- Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Using a sharp knife, make a small slit in the top of each pie. Bake the pies in the middle and lower thirds of the oven for 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the pies cool on the baking sheets before serving.