Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, Pears and Walnuts – The Perfect Hand Pie

Baked hand pies

When I was a kid I was an adventurous eater. As I pointed out in an earlier post, I loved pickles, spice, and all sorts of vegetables. I also loved zucchini, yellow squash (or summer squash as we called it), but the mashed squashes took me a bit to get used to. Later, when I had my first slice of squash pie, and later pumpkin and sweet potato, I started to realize, squash could have many personalities and many of them were good. So believe it or not, when I was reading a blog post about cabbage and mushroom pie, it made me think of butternut squash and walnuts, and why couldn’t I make THAT into a pie? And that’s the simple truth about where this inspiration for hand pies originated.

Toasty and smelling like a cross between lunch and dessert!

Butternut Squash, Walnut, Pear and Cranberry Goat Cheese Hand Pies

Ingredients for Crust:
note, all crust ingredients should be at room temperature. Take them out of the refrigerator at least an hour ahead of time.

  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups low fat/fat-free milk (I used fat free lactaid)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 7 – 8 cups flour (yes this is a big recipe, so you can cut it in half)
  • 4 1/2 TB (half a stick) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 2 TB milk

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 pear, cored and cubed
  • 2 cups squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into quarters
  • 3/4 cups rough chopped walnuts
  • 2 TB orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup flat leafed, baby spinach torn into small pieces
  • 2 TB basil olive oil (or lemon or orange)
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 TB honey salt
  • 1 TB curry powder
  • 4 – 6 oz cranberry cinnamon goat cheese
  • 1 egg


  • In a very large bowl, combine yeast with warm milk, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and stir til combined.
  • Slowly add the flour, kneading it as it starts to turn to dough.
  • Once it’s formed a good ball of dough, knead in the butter well, and it should easily come out of the bowl to shape into a ball.
  • Place the smooth dough ball back into the bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in warm spot to rise for an hour.
Dough ball
It really does double in size!
  • While it’s rising you can make the squash filling:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Place chopped walnuts on a baking pan and roast in the oven for 4 – 5 minutes until toasted. Watch them since they can easily burn.
  • Place squash pieces on the same tray and drizzle with oil, pepper, salt, and curry powder
Sliced Butternut Squash
I left the skin on and just scraped after it was roasted
  • Roast for 20 – 25 minutes. It may take up to 35, but you want the squash tender to a fork.
  • While the squash is cooking, steam the chopped pears for 3 minutes, then add the spinach and celery and steam for another 2 minutes.
  • When the squash is cooked, turn off the oven. Cut the squash into small pieces and place in a food processor along with the pears, celery, orange zest, and spinach. Blitz til it’s well blended and fairly creamy with no lumps. Add in the egg, and goat cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste and blitz a few more times to mix well.
  • Transfer to a bowl and fold in the walnuts.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, remove from the bowl and knead a bit, then form another ball, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to rise for 30 minutes more.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Pound down the dough and dive into smaller balls of about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dough each. I ended up with 19 balls.
  • Place them on a floured surface and cover with a towel.
  • One by one, stretch the balls out into a flat circle. You can use your hands, but I used a rolling pin to get my nice and thin.
1 ball of dough flattened into a rough circle
Not a perfect circle but it works
  • Place a TB or so of the squash filling in each circle, pinching it closed.
filling on center of dough
1 – 2 TB depending on how big your circles are
  • Place the pies on baking sheets with an inch or two between them.
  • Whisk the egg and milk until blended to use as a milk wash. Brush the wash over each pie covering all sides.
  • Cover the pies with a towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 15 – 20 minutes
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until fully cooked.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
The crimps weren’t perfect and they were very close together but they still came out fine.

They freeze well, and are great cold, or reheated for a few minutes in the microwave. I think it’s a tasty way to use up some leftover squash and get kids to eat vegetables they may not consider otherwise!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and come back for more! If you’d like to receive a notice every time I post something new, please share your email below and you’ll receive a note.

Wondering what else I’ve been up to? Check out these recent posts!