It’s that time of year when I get a little more homesick than usual. We haven’t lived in the U.S. for six years, and it’s been even longer since we’ve spent Thanksgiving with family. I miss that a lot – but we are cultivating our own Friendsgiving tradition that I also love. We host and make the staples: turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce; our friends bring sides, desserts and many bottles of wine. This past Sunday, we celebrated our third Thanksgiving since moving to Barcelona (a little early because tomorrow is just another Thursday here).
Our first year, we prepared a 5 kg. (11 lb.) turkey for a large crowd; it was the biggest bird we could find, and I don’t think we could have fit anything else in our modest stove. Everyone had enough to eat, but we had no leftovers… which made me very, very sad.
So last year we made two turkeys. One in the oven and one on the barbecue. Problem solved! (Also, grilled turkey is amazing). We did the same this year, and now we have an abundance of leftover turkey.
Which brings me to these leftover turkey pot pies. Aren’t they adorable?
You should make them with your leftover turkey this Thanksgiving. They are the definition of comfort food. They’re individually sized, so you don’t have to share. And the crust-to-filling ratio is so much better than a regular pot pie. Everyone wants more crust.
For this recipe, I used four ceramic baking dishes that hold 8 oz./1 cup. You could use ramekins or any other small, ovenproof dishes.
Pot pies with double crust always seem like a lot of work … until I take a bite and I remember that single-crust pot pies are not even worth your time. I use Joanne Chang’s easy and tasty pâte brisée recipe from her Flour, Too cookbook (do yourself a favor and buy it immediately); one batch is perfect for four mini pot pies. Or buy pre-made pie dough. Whatever it takes to get this deliciousness in your belly.
Leftover Turkey Mini Pot Pies
- Pie dough, enough for 2 regular pie crusts (store-bought or homemade)
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups diced veggies (I used a mix of carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms and leeks)
- 2 1/2 cups chopped leftover turkey
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- A few splashes of whole milk or cream
- Salt, pepper and herbs (poultry seasoning, thyme, oregano, etc.)
- 1 egg, beaten
Prepare the dough
- Roll out chilled pie dough and line each baking dish with a round of dough that extends about 1/4 inch beyond the rim. Press the dough gently onto the bottom and sides of the dish. Refrigerate the baking dishes for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line each of the pie shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool.
Make the filling
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add chopped veggies and cook until they start to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add leftover turkey.
- Stir in flour until everything is evenly coated. Gradually add broth while stirring; cook for a few minutes until the filling has a thick, stew-like consistency. Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste, as well as a few splashes of milk or cream.
Put it all together
- Divide the filling evenly among the baking dishes.
- Cover each dish with another round of pie dough, trimming any excess and crimping with your fingers around the rim to seal.
- Brush the top of the crust with the beaten egg. Poke a few small holes in the center to let steam escape.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly, and enjoy.
Unless I’m making chocolate-chip cookies or brownies, I find baking stressful. I like to experiment when I cook, even when I’m following a recipe. But apparently “winging it” and baking don’t mesh well.
Nevertheless, I want to bake around the holidays. You can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without a homemade pie, right? My mom always made amazing pies for holidays, and she insists it’s not that tricky. I can totally make a pie! All of the pies!
So my annual pattern is:
- Attempt a new and complicated recipe the day 15 people are coming over for dinner
- Fake confidence and refuse help
- Freak out when something goes wrong
- Swear profusely and insist the holiday/the dessert are ruined
- Halfheartedly eat the slightly mangled finished product anyway
It’s fun. For everyone. Happy Thanksgiving!
This year, we asked several other people to bring dessert so I could start step #1 without as much pressure. And with wonderful pep talks and troubleshooting advice from friends who are better bakers than I am, this pumpkin crumble tart experiment turned out surprisingly well. I wanted the creaminess of traditional pumpkin pie, along with the crunchy texture of a crumble, and this checked both boxes.
Before I dig into the recipe, here are some caveats:
- This is a quick and dirty recipe; I didn’t plan to write it up until I had made it a few times and had taken more photos. But tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and this is top of mind. (Just like I always say, “Better done than perfect.” Hahahaha, just kidding, I would never say that.) The picture above Brian snapped with his phone, and I’ll update once we’ve polished the recipe and made it a second time.
- I used David Leibovitz’s apricot crumble tart recipe (from My Paris Kitchen, which I love and highly recommend) and Sally’s Baking Addiction and The Kitchn‘s pumpkin pie recipes for inspiration.
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted cold butter (85g)
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 15 oz can (450g) pumpkin puree*
- 4 large eggs
- 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoon (30g) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (100g) pecans (or almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts)
- 1/4 cup (50g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in rough chunks
Make the dough
- Let butter soften out of the fridge for about 5 minutes before you use it. Add it to the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, then add the sugar. Mix until there are no large chunks of butter.
- Add the egg yolks, then flour and sugar. Pulse the mixer a few times until the dough is sticking together.
- Grease a 9 1/2-inch (24 cm) nonstick springform pan, and place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan (cut to fit). Use your fingers and the heel of your hand to press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan, and about halfway up the sides.
- Put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Line the chilled crust with parchment paper and cover with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove pie weights and set aside.
Make the filling*
- Whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs and brown sugar. Add the cornstarch, salt, spices, cream and milk. Mix well until everything is combined.
- Pour filling into the crust; it will likely go past the edge of the crust.
- Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes; it may jiggle slightly but appear mostly set.
Make the crumble
- Pulse the ingredients in food processor (or chop the nuts and mix ingredients by hand)
- Place the crumble ingredients in a thin layer in a second pan. When the tart has been baking for about 20 minutes, put the crumble pan in the oven alongside the tart to start browning. Add the crumble topping to the top of the tart toward the end of the tart's baking time, when the filling is almost set (about 10 minutes before it's done).
- Take the tart out of the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan. Let it rest for 30 minutes before removing the springform pan.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
* I had a difficult time working with the Trader Joe's organic pumpkin puree. It seemed to have a more watery consistency than Libby's, making the filling super thin, and I ended up using two cans of the TJ's puree – but it did set correctly in the end. If your filling seems very watery, use 1 1/2 to 2 cans of filling.