Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Apple Hand Pies

If anyone tells you fall is their favorite time of year because of the pretty colors or the crisp leaves, they are lying to you. People love fall because of the heaping mounds of butter, sugar, and spices that go into recipes this time of year. I'm not saying it's a problem- this is like my Olympics. Michael Phelps, you've done your part for our medal count, but move over and watch me take gold in a serious event: dessert.

I had never made a fruit pie before this, so I wanted to make it a bit different. Cue Pinterest and its wonderful world of hand pie ideas.

Do NOT be intimidated by the pie crust process. It may be lengthy, but it's easy as...well...guess.

And look how cute the final product is!


The recipe I used was a combo of a crust recipe from Brown Eyed Baker and a tart apple filling recipe from Food Network.

For the pastry:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup sour cream
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup ice water
one egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash
coarse/turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Tart Apple Filling:
3lbs Granny Smith apples, sliced, cored, and diced small
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg

1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.

2. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough. (I don't have a biscuit cutter, so I used the rim of a small bowl and managed to get 14 total.)

3. While the dough continues to chill, make your filling. Peel and core all the apples; dice small. Toss with the granulated sugar and cider. Add the apples and cook, stirring, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; cook until thickened, 1 more minute. Let cool.

4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (use the smaller amount for a 4-inch circle) onto one half of each circle of dough. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled the dough. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

 Enjoy your delicious, warm little pies! I had fun making cute little brown paper packages so they could be packed in lunches or given as gifts. Have fun with these!

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