Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties

Greetings gracious geeks! You look famished. But do not worry, I solemnly swear I have something special up my sleeve. In today’s blogpost, I share with you my recipe and my story behind J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter inspired pumpkin pasties I conjured from my kitchen recently. It is almost Halloween, which of course shall not be celebrated without our favorite orange squash of the season. I shall tell you a little bit about the reason for writing this post, how I became a huge Harry Potter fan, the nutritional ‘stats’ for pumpkins and of course how you can make one of the most famous sweet goods from the Harry Potter universe yourself. Pumpkin pasties are vegetarian and can easily be made vegan by swapping out some of the ingredients. As a dietitian’s disclaimer, it should be said that because we are talking about pasties, this recipe falls under the ‘fun projects’ category. They are to be enjoyed for reasons of taste only and should not be considered a health food in any way, despite the extra nutritional info about pumpkins. Let’s jump right in.

Picture of Harry Potter pumpkin pasties in an old-fashioned study setting

I think my letter from Hogwarts is late

When I was six years old, my friend in the neighborhood asked me quite the peculiar question. “Would you like to play pretend Harry Potter?” he asked. I had never heard about it at the time and was eager to procure all the details. What I had not known yet, is that this would become the favorite franchise of my childhood. I am pretty sure I have ruined the VHS tapes of the first two movies from watching them so often. I have read the book series about four times, three times in Dutch and once in English. I have collected some merch and took many quizzes on which House I would belong to (the outcome was always Ravenclaw). I have also played through all of the videogames that were available for the Playstation 2 back in the day. I recently replayed the first game for nostalgia’s sake. In this game, you find a lot of pumpkin pasties in chests. They are baked goods that will bring back a small amount of health points so you can continue your adventures unscathed. After finding pumpkin pasties in the videogames so often, I came up with the idea to make some myself. After all, when one has enjoyed a franchise so much for the majority of their life, it only makes sense to try to honor it with something homemade and delicious.

Harry Potter pumpkin pasties with Hedwig

Jack O’ Lanterns

Pumpkins seem to be an important feature in the Wizarding World, used not only to make pumpkin pasties, but also pumpkin juice, pumpkin fizz, pumpkin tart and decorative pumpkins large enough for three men to sit in. In the Harry Potter Universe, Halloween is also extravagantly celebrated, with Hagrid growing and providing the pumpkins for the feast. Of course, this is a common tradition and not only unique to the Harry Potter Universe. People all over the world decorate their homes with carved pumpkins for the spooky season. But how did this tradition take hold?

There are many different forms of folklore around the origins of the Jack O’ Lantern. They are all slightly different depending on the region in Europe, but most of them seem to revolve around the Will-o’-the-wisp, also known as ignis fatuus. Will-o’-the-wisp is a light that was seen in swamps or bogs at night, caused by gasses from decaying plants. Travelers would see this light at night and be misled and disorientated, often resulting in the travelers losing their way. The lights apparently had a somewhat ghostly appearance. This is why Jack-o’-lanterns in the form of carved pumpkins or turnips with a burning candle inside them, represented the supernatural or spirits. In some customs they are meant for protection, such us against devils, vampires or the undead. Quite fitting for Halloween or a fantasy universe such as that of Harry Potter.

Decorative picture of pumpkins

‘Tis the season of the pumpkin seasoning

Besides creating Halloween decoration, pumpkins make for a great fall flavor that people have popularized a lot in recent years. There are pumpkin spice varieties of all sorts of imaginable foods. We put pumpkin in our soups, in our drinks, in our salads… the list goes on. We have been consuming pumpkins for thousands of years. Pumpkins originate from North-America and are one of the oldest domesticated plants. In archaeological sites in the North of Mexico, fragments of pumpkins have been found that date back to as far as 7,000 BCE to 5,500 BCE. Besides decoration, warding off evil spirits and human consumption, humans have also put pumpkins to other uses. One example is the use of pumpkins as fodder for livestock, but most notably people have also applied them for medicinal purposes. Pumpkin is believed to treat burns, de-worm and in Ayurvedic medicine pumpkins are considered to have an astringent and cooling effect.

Decorative picture of pumpkins

My mother started growing pumpkins and squashes in her garden this year. There has been a wonderful yield of butternut squash and Hokkaido pumpkins. For my recipe I used the Hokkaido pumpkins. These are perfect for roasting in the oven, leaving your house smelling like Halloween! This way you can make your own pumpkin puree to use for your favorite fall foods. I included directions on how to do this further down below.

The stats

There are so many varieties of pumpkins, it would be impossible for me to list the nutritional info (or ‘stats’) for all of them. Below you will see a list of nutritional info for the average pumpkin. Pumpkins most notably contain a sizeable amount of beta-carotene, which the human body can convert to a form of vitamin A we can use. Vitamin A is important for good vision and development of the body. It seems the consumption of pumpkin pasties at Hogwarts came too late for Harry Potter and his terrible eyesight though.  

Nutritional information chart per 100 g: pumpkin
Energy60 KJ / 14 kcal
Carbohydrates2.0 g
Sugars0.3 g
Dietary fiber1.0 g
Fat0.2 g
Saturated fats0.1 g
Monounsaturated fats0.0 g
Polyunsaturated fats0.1 g
Protein0.7 g
Vitamin A (retinol activity equivalent)12 µg
Vitamin C14 mg
Based on NEVO online version 2019/6.0

How to roast a pumpkin and make your own pumpkin puree

I used a Hokkaido pumpkin for the purpose of roasting and making pumpkin puree. A quick google search should tell if the pumpkins available in your area are suitable for the job. You can use a pumpkin of any size, but the oven time will change depending on how large your pumpkin is. The pumpkin I used had a weight of about 1.5 kg or approximately 3.31 lbs.

1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C or 400 °F.

2. Cut the pumpkin in half with a big sharp knife. If your knife is blunt, this is going to take a lot of force. Make sure you are doing this on a sturdy surface that can handle knives being used on it. If you are using a cutting board, put a damp paper towel or tea cloth underneath it so it does not slip out of place. If your pumpkin is particularly large, you might have to try to cut through it in sections. Once you have broken through the skin in enough places, it tears in half easily.

Picture of a halved pumpkin that has been scooped out and deseeded

3. Scoop out the seeds and soft flesh of the pumpkin with a spoon. Then cut the halves in quarters or eights depending on the size of your pumpkin. Put the slices on a baking tray with the skin facing up and the soft inside facing down.

Picture of sliced pumpkin on a baking tray

4. Roast the pumpkin for anywhere between 30 minutes up to 60 minutes. This heavily depends on the size of the pumpkin. You are occasionally going to have to test if the pumpkin is ready by poking the soft inside with a fork. The fork should go through smoothly and the soft insides should have a nice golden color to them. My pumpkin was perfect after 45 minutes of roasting.

Picture of roasted pumpkin slices

5. After roasting, let the pumpkin cool for at least 10 minutes or until you can comfortably touch it with your hands without burning yourself. Scoop the pumpkin flesh (excuse the wacky terminology) out of the slices with a spoon.

Picture of unprocessed pumpkin puree scooped out of a roasted pumpkin

6. Break up the pumpkin flesh with a food processor or stick blender to create the puree. The puree keeps in the fridge for 3 days or up to a month in the freezer. You can also decide to use it right away for the purpose of making pumpkin pasties!   

Picture of pumpkin puree

How to make your own pasty pastry dough

The key to this pastry dough recipe for pasties is a cold temperature. If you want to use your hands, you need to work quickly or the warmth from your hands will affect the dough. You can also use a food processor to mix the butter and the other ingredients together. Since I do not have a food processor, I use my hands but I make sure they are cold when I start to mix. I usually make more dough than I need for one recipe because the dough freezes well and it saves Future Me some time. You only need about half of this dough recipe to make one baking tray’s worth of pumpkin pasties.

Ingredients:

  • 160 g cold butter (or solid dairy-free margarine to make it vegan)
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-4 tbsp very cold water

Method:

1. Cut the butter into cubes. Lay the cubes of butter out on a small tray and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. The butter should be very cold, but still workable.

Picture of butter cubes

2. Put the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix them together with a spoon.

Picture of a flour mix

3. Wash your hands with cold water and dry them thoroughly. Mix the cold butter into the flour mixture and crumble it together with your fingertips. Alternatively, you can pulse the dough together slightly in a food processor.

4. Add 2 tbsp of very cold water to the dough and knead it together until firm. Add an extra tbsp or 2 of the cold water if this seems necessary to keep the dough together. I find that sometimes this is needed, but other times not. This might depend on the type of flour you are using.  

Picture of a dough ball

5. Form the dough into a ball. For the pumpkin pasty recipe we only need about half, so split the dough into two portions and wrap these portions tightly in plastic wrap.

Picture of wrapped pasty dough

6. Put the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using.

Any type of pastry dough freezes well. You can store the dough in the freezer for a couple of months for later use. It needs a few hours to thaw in the fridge before using it for your baking.

How to make the pumpkin pasties

Ingredients:

  • 110 g pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 15 g dark caster sugar
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice
  • Pasty pastry dough (½ homemade recipe or frozen store-bought)
  • 1 beaten egg (or 2 tbsp of dairy free milk to make it vegan)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar for sprinkling

Method:

1. If you are using any frozen products, let them thaw in the fridge the night before.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 °C or 400 °F.

3. Mix the pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice and dark caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.

Picture of pumpkin filling

4. Prepare your work surface with a light dusting of flour. Roll out one of the dough disks with a rolling pin until it reaches a thickness of about 3mm or 1/8 inch.

Picture of rolled out pasty dough with a rolling pin

5. With a pastry cutter or a bowl/cup with a sharp brim, cut rounds out of the dough. I used a cutter that had a diameter of about 9 cm (3.5 inches). The larger the pasties, the longer the baking time.

Picture of cut out dough rounds

The scraps that are left over after cutting out these rounds, can be gathered back into a ball, rolled out again and be used to cut out more rounds. Repeat this until you do not have enough dough left for another round. With the 9 cm cutter, I was able to make 9 pasties.  

6. Depending on the size of your disks, put about ½ or 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin filling on one half of each of the dough rounds.

Picture of pumpkin filling divided over dough rounds

7. Fold the dough rounds over and close the edges together by dipping your finger in some water and pressing it lightly on the edges.

Picture of folded pasties on a baking tray

8. With a fork, press the edges of the pasties further together. With a small, sharp knife, make some slits in the tops of the pasties. These slits will act as a vent while baking. Brush the tops of the pasties with the beaten egg or some dairy free milk.

Picture of vented pasties with egg wash brushed over

9. Transfer the pasties to a baking tray and bake them in the oven for about 15-25 minutes. At 15 minutes, check periodically to see if they are done. The baking time will depend on the size of your pasties. They should be a golden color.

10. After removing the pasties from the oven, sprinkle them with sugar while they are still warm. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 110 g pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 15 g dark caster sugar
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice
  • Pasty pastry dough (½ homemade recipe or frozen store-bought)
  • 1 beaten egg (or 2 tbsp of dairy free milk to make it vegan)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar for sprinkling

Directions

  1. If you are using any frozen products, let them thaw in the fridge the night before.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 °C or 400 °F.
  3. Mix the pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice and dark caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Prepare your work surface with a light dusting of flour. Roll out one of the dough disks with a rolling pin until it reaches a thickness of about 3mm or 1/8 inch.
  5. With a pastry cutter or a bowl/cup with a sharp brim, cut rounds out of the dough. I used a cutter that had a diameter of about 9 cm (3.5 inches). The larger the pasties, the longer the baking time. The scraps that are left over after cutting out these rounds, can be gathered back into a ball, rolled out again and be used to cut out more rounds. Repeat this until you do not have enough dough left for another round. With the 9 cm cutter, I was able to make 9 pasties.
  6. Depending on the size of your disks, put about ½ or 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin filling on one half of each of the dough rounds.
  7. Fold the dough rounds over and close the edges together by dipping your finger in some water and pressing it lightly on the edges.
  8. With a fork, press the edges of the pasties further together. With a small, sharp knife, make some slits in the tops of the pasties. These slits will act as a vent while baking. Brush the tops of the pasties with the beaten egg or some dairy free milk.
  9. Transfer the pasties to a baking tray and bake them in the oven for about 15-25 minutes. At 15 minutes, check periodically to see if they are done. The baking time will depend on the size of your pasties. They should be a golden color.
  10. After removing the pasties from the oven, sprinkle them with sugar while they are still warm. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition


Per serving: 127 calories; 10.9 g carbohydrates; 3.2 g sugars; 0.6 g dietary fiber; 8.1 g fat; 5.1 g saturated fats; 1.9 g monounsaturated fats; 0.3 g polyunsaturated fats; 2.5 g protein.


References:

  1. Harry Potter Wiki. Fandom; [date unknown]. https://harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page
  2. The History of ‘Jack-O’-Lantern.’ Merriam-Webster; [date unknown]. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/the-history-of-jack-o-lantern
  3. Cucurbita Pepo. Plants of the World online. Kew Science; [date unknown]. http://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:292416-1
  4. NEVO online version 2019/6.0. Bilthoven: RIVM; 2013.

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