These Halloween Pentagram pies are spooky and creepy-licious! Shortcrust pastry cases are filled with a delicious fruit mixture with apples and strawberries with a shortcrust pastry pentagram design on the top. Dare I say they're cute and creepy at the same time. Just beware of opening yourself up to the dark side!
I got the idea for these pentagram pies from a pentagram pizza I had seen. My Halloween party won't have an oven so I wanted to serve up something that didn't need to be hot. One of my most popular Halloween recipes is the Halloween eye pies which has been copied by so many (mostly without permission or credit!) so I thought that these single serve pies would be perfect for an outdoor Halloween picnic.
I was surprised at how easily these came together. I cooked the pie filling completely so that it just need a bit of time in the oven as I didn't want to burn the pentagram design with a longer cooking time. The pentagram shape was easy enough to do. I did a step by step below just to make it really clear but once you get the first few done it's a breeze after that.
The key to working with pastry is controlling the temperature. Mostly you want pastry to be a bit firmer in texture and not sloppy because it makes it easier to cut designs out of firmer pastry. Pastry that has just come out of the fridge and the 10 minutes after that is perfect. After 10 minutes it starts to become a bit too soft. The only time in which you'll want the pastry very pliable or soft is when you place it in the baking tin for the base. If it is too stiff it will break. Also generally avoid doing pastry work on really hot days or if I do, I make the air conditioning really cold. Luckily you can just pop the pastry back in the fridge if you need it firmer or if you need it more pliable leave it on the benchtop. Never microwave pastry to thaw it. Just place the covered pastry in the fridge a couple of hours beforehand to thaw it out. It's also a good idea to place unbaked pastry in the fridge or freezer to firm up before baking it to prevent shrinking but I find this mostly the case with home made pastry. If you buy pastry sheets then you can often skip this step (which is what we did with these).
I used small tin foil cases of which I have plenty as I bought a big box of 1,000 of them so I need to use these babies up. They're 7cms/2.7inches at the top and 5.5cms/2.2inches at the base. You can also use a cupcake tray if you don't have small foil tart tins. Just make sure to butter them well and place some parchment underneath the pastry so that they don't stick.
I am moderately superstitious and usually having pentagrams on pies wouldn't bother me but I wasn't sure if these would work out. You see a few things happened on the day that I was baking them. Long time readers may know that I'm a bit clumsy so this should not come as a surprise.
The first thing that happened was the pastry that I had cut up and placed in the fridge fell off the shelf and onto the ground.
Once I had baked the bases I placed it on top of the dish drying rack (our apartment is tiiiiny and my kitchen has no shelf space) and it all fell over. I caught it within a hair of a second. Some might say that was good luck but I was so lucky they didn't all smash into smithereens onto the floor.
My ramekin of egg wash tipped over. "Ok so back luck come in threes," I said to myself trying to dampen down any superstitious thoughts. I know that Pentagrams are mostly a symbol used by wiccans and pagans and have been mistakenly used to represent Satanism but really the thoughts started to come. And the world wasn't done with me yet. That afternoon we came within inches of having a tree branch fall on us (some might say very good luck in that case) and then that evening as I was sorting out the clothes from the washing line a cockroach hopped onto my hand. Screaming "Heeelp!!" and flailing around Mr NQN dispatched the cockroach swiftly and I retreated to the related safety of the bed and watching Ted Lasso. I did consider perhaps discarding the pentagram pies just in case but you know what? After I sealed them up in the freezer ready for Halloween the bad luck disappeared!
I also wanted to say thank you for your lovely feedback on our new podcast Your Cake Dealer! You've been so lovely and encouraging and it makes me and Nina so happy to hear that you've been loving it! A new episode is out today and it's where Nina interviews me about the crazy world of food blogging and this crazy life and asks me questions that only a friend has the balls to ask!
So tell me Dear Reader, are you superstitious? Are there some days where everything goes wrong? And do you think that trouble comes in threes?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 6
Serves: 16 pies
- 4 sheets/800g/28ozs. shortcrust pastry
- 400g/14ozs. apples, peeled and diced
- 400g/14ozs. strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup/250ml/8.8flozs water
- 2/3 cup/145g/5ozs. white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water to make eggwash
Step 1 - Place the frozen sheets of pastry in the fridge to thaw for a couple of hours before you get started. Make the filling. Place the apples, strawberries, water and sugar in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mash up the fruit. Strain the liquid (it makes a great cordial) and allow to cool.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Take your mini pie cases and cut out the thawed pastry to fit both the base and sides and press down to fit the tins. If the pastry isn't thawed enough the pastry will break so just make sure that it is soft enough to manipulate. Dock the pastry with a fork and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked.
Gently fold the pastry into the case
Then gently press down to fit against the tart cases and dock with fork
Bake until crisp
Step 3 - While it is baking cut the pastry into thin strips around 5mm/0.2inches thick using a knife or pizza cutter and a ruler. If it is too soft and hard to cut place it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up and then cut it.
Making the pentagram out of pastry strips
Step 4 - Fill the pastry cases with the fruit filling smoothing it over with a butter knife or angled spatula. Then take a strip of pastry and fashion a pentagram (see pics above). I find it easiest to draw a diagram showing the order of the pieces and then trim them to fit the edge of the tart. Brush the pentagram on top with eggwash and bake at 180C/350F for 18-20 minutes. These pies freeze well too - place in a container with parchment paper between each layer. These will freeze well for 2 months.