I love Halloween. Probably because it occurs during my birthday month, but also because it’s super festive. Being a Japanese kid growing up in an international school environment, I will confess that I don’t really understand the true meaning of Halloween. Though I do know that it’s called All Hallow’s Eve and, I like to think of it as like the American equivalent of Obon or Dia de los Muertos. It’s a day to remember the dead although Wikipedia also states that it’s also a day to confront the power of death with humor and ridicule. Okay, Wikipedia has just made me more confused. Let’s just go with a day to celebrate and remember the dead. Though being a child I obviously was more interested in getting dressed up and going trick-or-treating. One of the perks of being an international school student is partaking in lots of different cultural holidays. While Halloween wasn’t a HUGE deal when I was little, I was able to go trick-or-treating thanks to the many expat neighborhoods in Tokyo as well as my friends who lived on the embassy. Dear American friends, thank you thank you for introducing me to the sugar-y delights of nerds, laffy taffy, sweet tarts and all the other American candies. I also thank my parents for, despite not knowing much about Halloween, allowed me and my sister to enjoy it. We may have been the one house in the neighborhood carving pumpkins, but I’m so glad that despite being Japanese you were patient enough to let us enjoy all these holidays.
Okay, enough wandering down memory lane. I made these super quick and pretty cute Jack-O-lantern pastries. For these I just used a store bought puff pastry and made a quick little pumpkin filling. Once they were baked, I piped the faces with melted chocolate. I also cut out eyes for in the pastry, but I think I like not cutting out the eyes better. They came out looking a little…um…let’s just say they didn’t look as adorable as this one. So let’s get started!
Ingredients:-1 sheet frozen ready made puff pastry, I’m using the Trader Joe’s brand. -1/2 can of puree pumpkin -1 tsp pumpkin spice -1 tsp flour -1 egg -2 tsp brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the filling by mixing the pumpkin and the egg together. Add in the pumpkin spice, brown sugar, and flour and mix until well combined.
- Roll out the frozen puff pastry. You still want it to be cold. Don’t worry too much about the cracks in the dough, since they will act as ventilation.
- Using a pumpkin cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can. With one sheet, you will make around about 12 pumpkin cut outs, which means you’ll make about six. Of course this depends on the size of your cookie cutter. Once you’ve cut out the shapes, roll together the scraps. If the pastry has become too warm, roll into a ball and pop into the freezer until firm.
- Place half the pumpkin shapes on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon a little of the filling on top, about 1 teaspoon or so. Top with the remaining pumpkin shapes and seal the edges to make sure the filling doesn’t ooze out. If you want, you can brush the tops with some egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar and pumpkin spice.
- Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the puff pastry is a nice golden brown.
- Once the pastries are cool, melt some chocolate and draw on the Jack-o-lantern’s face. You can use a pastry bag, a brush or even a chopstick (that’s what I did).
These are so cute and I think people will love to see them on Halloween 🙂 If you want, you can also probably leave these pumpkins as they are, they look just like pumpkins without the faces and so would probably make excellent fall-themed snacks. Plus they’re pumpkin spice! We all know everyone’s a little addicted to pumpkin spice whether they want to be or not.
Hugs and Puppies!