Last spring, I signed my two kids—Will is now 10, and Paige is 7—up for a cooking class via their afterschool program without telling them. I thought it would be a good opportunity for them and didn’t think twice. After all, they’ve been hanging out in the kitchen and helping since they were old enough to sit up.
There was a little initial grumbling about how I didn’t consult them before signing them up, but in the end they enjoyed it.
When it came time to sign up for activities again this fall at their afterschool program, I left it in their hands. The signup process had changed (parents were no longer involved, and it became a more selective process), and there were a lot more options.
They both tried to sign up for cooking class. Will was selected for the first session. Paige wasn’t, but they both wanted to do it—which both reaffirms my decision last year, and makes me happy that they independently want to be in the kitchen.
Lesson #1: Give your kids choice.
As a mom, I am used to making decisions for my kids. I am used to being the one in charge, the one who knows everyone’s schedule and makes smart decisions for what everyone is doing. But my kids are getting older, and they need room to grow, learn and make decisions of their own.
Will, who is in the cooking class this fall, recently learned to make pumpkin turnovers. When I smelled the familiar sweet scent of pumpkin wafting from the kitchen at pickup, I practically drooled on the spot and made some reference to Will making them at home. Next thing I knew, he’d gotten the recipe and was directing me on what ingredients we needed to pick up on the way home.
Lesson #2: Let your kids show you.
At home, I do the majority of the cooking, cleaning, planning and prepping. Lately, I have been letting the kids take charge one night of the week and make a dinner of their choosing. But for this, I had to let Will take center stage for an unscheduled dessert. Working from his recipe—and his memory—he showed me how to mix the filling, cut the pie crust, seal the edges and more.
Then he baked them. On his own.
Does it get any better than that? Seeing my son apply something he learned to feed his sister and I was pretty much the best thing ever.
Lesson #3: Let your kids inspire you.
Will’s turnovers turned out perfect—crispy and flaky on the outside, with a sweet pumpkin pie filling on the inside. As a huge pumpkin pie fan, I was smitten. I told him again and again how much I enjoyed them.
At the same time, I was thinking of what recipe to create for this column. As I’d watched Will measure, mix and bake, I decided to try something a little different. These turnovers have a pumpkin filling that’s dotted with juicy raisins, sweetened with honey and seasoned with pumpkin pie spice. It’s not pumpkin pie, but rather a whole new, inspired fall treat.
Making these is simpler than you’d think. You start by mixing up the filling—pumpkin puree, chopped raisins, honey and pumpkin pie spice. Then you cut pre-made pie crust into quarters, divide the filling evenly among them and fold. Seal the edges well—I like to press them, then fork them, then roll them and fork them again. Then brush with an egg wash and bake. You can, as I do, sprinkle them with coarse sugar before baking. But that’s optional.
And in the end, Will loved that his recipe creation inspired me to make something. As he gets older, the balance of who is learning from whom is shifting slightly. And that’s the most wonderful, unexpected joy for me.
Pumpkin Raisin Turnovers
Makes: 8 turnovers
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup raisins, chopped
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- 1 box refrigerated pie crust
- 1 large egg, beaten well
- Optional: coarse sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, raisins, honey, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
- Meanwhile, unroll the pie crusts onto a cutting board and cut into four wedges each. Divide the filling evenly among the wedges, keeping it to the center. Working with one wedge at a time, fold the dough over the filling and press to seal the edges. Once all the wedges have been sealed, use a fork to press the edges again. Roll the edges over and press with the fork again. Transfer to the baking sheet.
- Brush all the turnovers with the beaten egg, discarding any excess. If desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake the turnovers for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
Want to know more about what we’re cooking in my house? Visit me at Sarah’s Cucina Bella, where I share food tips, recipes and more several times a week.