Growing up in the U.S., I couldn't help but love the Christmas season.
It’s always so jolly and festive and makes you want to get right in and celebrate as well. All the holiday specific treats and lights, trees and gifts, movies and songs everywhere you go is enough to make anyone fall in love with that time of year. It was hard not to find all those things incredibly alluring, especially as a child surrounded by others who were celebrating.
Thankfully, we had Ramadan and Eid (and even better, two Eids!) which have an undeniable, built-in festiveness to them. My parents always made a big effort to make it feel extra special and would get us super excited about the coming celebrations. For Ramadan, my father would decorate the house with string lights (a.k.a. Christmas lights that they would buy when the lights were in season in preparation) and it would be such a treat to wake up for Suhoor, our pre-fast breakfast, and have the lights on at 3 a.m. while we ate. Mama would make Ma’moul cookies, and take meal requests all throughout the month for what we were craving during our fasts. We would get together with friends and family for Iftars and stay up for the night prayers when we didn’t have school the next day.
When Eid came around, we would have special Eid Pajamas that we would wear the night before and wake up super early to get dressed in our new Eid Clothes before heading off to the Masjid for Salat-Al-Eid (Eid Prayers). Donuts at the prayer hall marked the start of the day, and it wasn’t complete without plenty of food throughout, exciting activities and celebrating with our friends.
The one thing we craved as children though was all the holiday specific decor and treats we would see around us when Christmas, Easter or even Holloween rolled around. We didn’t have specific colors that screamed Ramadan or Eid, no special Ramadan lights that differentiated them from Christmas lights, or even symbols that signified that this decor was specific to our celebration. Sometimes we would make our own decorations, but that was before Pinterest, so we didn’t really have easy access to all the beautiful, creative ideas you see today ;). As an adult, I chuckle at myself (laugh seemed too mean) for having wanted that, but I definitely understand what my younger, school-aged self had desired.
That’s where things are a little different these days.
There are so many companies such as Salaam Designs that are game changers in the industry. Salaam Designs was one of the first I had heard of that had Ramadan and Eid specific decor that would make any child excited about the coming celebration. From lights to word block decor, cookie cutters and stencils, banners and wall decals, they helped satisfy a desperate niche in such a beautiful way.
I got to play around with their Holiday Cookie Cutter Set which includes four cookie cutters in the shapes of a Masjid, Fanoos (lantern), Crescent, and Star, and can I just say, I felt like a kid again?! I had not expected to have so much fun with these and so many ideas of what to do with them running through my head!
They are great as a gift, and even greater to make fun, Ramadan and Eid themed treats. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to share with you using these adorable cutters, but in the end decided on these delicious hand pies. They are simple to make, only require a few ingredients, and are almost too cute to eat!
I went with two different fillings, peanut butter and jelly for some and Nutella for others, but really you could use anything you like. I liked the affects with the jelly from the peanut butter and jelly hand pies coming out like stained glass when I cut out portions of the top crust. The fun in these comes with getting creative and then enjoying the delicious treats afterward.
Oh, and a little secret for those who don’t have kids around?? No kids required to absolutely love these and have just as much fun (if not more!) as they would with them ;).
- 1 roll Ready Pie Crust Dough
- Peanut Butter
- Jam of your choice
- Butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Unroll the pie dough out onto a flat surface. Gently use a rolling pin to roll the dough out about 1 inch larger in each direction.
- Use the cookie cutters to cut shapes out for the hand pies. You will need 2 cuts of each design per hand pie (bottom and top crusts). I was able to do 4 cuts of each shape initially (16 pieces), then re-rolled the scraps and was able to get an extra 8 cuts (2 of each shape) for a total of 12 hand pies. The final count depends on which shapes you are using as they differ in size.
- Match up the pie dough cutouts into pairs.
- Using a piping bag or spoon, carefully fill in the shape with Nutella or Peanut Butter topped with Jam, leaving a small border of exposed pie dough around the edge.
- Top with the matching piece of pie dough*. You may need to stretch the top piece slightly to get it to fit over the filling.
- Press the edges of the dough together to seal completely. You can use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges as well, or any other method you like for sealing pie crusts.
- Carefully transfer the pies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- For added sweetness if desired, brush the tops of the pie crusts with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar before baking.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden.
- Allow to cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm with a glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!
- *I made design cutouts to enhance the shapes in some of the hand pies. For the Lantern, Masjid and Crescent cutouts, I simply used a knife to cut out the shapes I wanted for each design and additionally, for the Masjid, I scored a door shape. For the Star, I used a mini star cutter I had on hand. This is completely optional, but I loved the finished look of the Jam peeking through.
- ** I was able to get 12 hand pies, 3 of each shape, with one sheet of ready pie crust. I did have to re-roll the scraps to get an extra 4 hand pies.
- P.S. I also tried these fried and they were delicious! You can only use the fully closed version for those as the filling needs to be completely encased in the pie dough for proper frying.