Baby Apple Hand Pies
This is a kind of recipe that is not all about instant gratification. In other words, you have to enjoy the process because it is kind of a long one. it is a cozy, leisurely, warm and fuzzy way to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon. I hope you enjoy it the way I did.
This makes one dozen baby apple hand pies
The pie crust recipe is adapted from the Martha Stewart cookbook Collected Recipes for Every Day.
1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 sticks of cold, cubed unsalted butter in your food processor or stand mixer. (if you don’t have unsalted butter then leave out the salt.) Pulse it until it is crumbly. There should still be some butter pieces that are about the size of large peas or Cheerios. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of ice water, one at a time, until the mixture just barely starts to come together. Don’t overwork the dough! You want to still be able to see those butter pieces running throughout. Turn off your mixer as soon as it starts looking like dough but it should still be pretty crumbly. Turn out the crumbly but mostly holding together dough onto some plastic wrap. Kind of push it together into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Put it in the fridge for one hour or longer.
In the meantime, peel, core, and chop one or two granny smiths. I cut my apples to be small, like the size of cereal, because the pies are so little. Put a tablespoon or so of butter in a skillet and add your apples. Also add about a few tablespoons, maybe a quarter cup of sugar, about a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon, about a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves. I have a great saigon cinnamon i ordered from King Arthur and I just started using whole nutmeg that I just grate as I need it with my microplane. Stir it all around over medium heat until its all mixed together and getting juicy. Sprinkle about a teaspoon and a half of flour over it and mix it all together. The flour will make it less runny. Give it a little time on the heat and taste it for seasoning, and also to see how cooked the apples are getting. You want them to be a little softer but not completely cooked yet because they are still going to cook more in the oven. When you are happy with the taste and feel, take them out of the skillet and put them in a bowl to cool off.
After your dough has chilled and everything is cooled down, sprinkle some flour on your counter and dust your dough disk with flour too. Roll it out with a rolling pin until its about 1/8″ thick. Take a drinking glass and dip it in some more flour. Cut out as many circles as you can. Get rid of the scraps because if you try to re-roll them and use them they will be tough. Try to work quickly because if the dough doesn’t stay chilled it doesn’t come out as good. If you need to you can pop stuff back in the fridge if it’s starting to lose its chill. Take a circle in your hand and hold it like a little taco. Put about a teaspoon or so of apples down the center of the taco, like a line. Pinch the top of the taco together, all around the half moon, like a ravioli. Try not to let any filling sneak out. Put it on a cookie sheet and crimp all around the seams with a fork. When you have all your little raviolis lined up on a tray, brush them with a beaten egg and sprinkle them with sugar. I like to use the clear decorating sugar its called white sparkling sugar because it really clings on there, doesn’t melt, and you can really see it. Kids like that. Take your scissors and snip a vent hole in the top of each little baby. Maybe pop them back in the ridge for another 10 mins to make sure they are cold when they go in the oven. Cold butter makes steam when the heat gets it and the steam creates all those delicate flaky layers that just crumble in your mouth like heaven.
Put them in the 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I like to turn the light on so i can watch my babies grow up….They are so buttery, flakey, delicate….
If you don’t have a whole afternoon to do this, you could do dough one day, filling another, and pie making and baking another. I’m thinking about making a few batches of the dough to keep in my freezer, like the rolled up Pillsbury kind you find in the refrigerator section at the supermarket. that way I can use it whenever, for fruit pies or chicken pot pies, or brie en croute, or beef wellington… whatever strikes my fancy whenever I get the urge.