Thursday, March 1, 2012

If Life Gives You Apples . . .

After a week’s worth of lunches. This is what I’m left with.

I hate for them to go to waste. I feed some to The Turtle and after awhile, even she gets tired of them.

Well, The Boy and I are reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Real book form! Best part? This was my actual copy from when I was in third grade. The Boy thinks it is hilarious to see my handwriting claiming the book as my own.

Anyway, Almonzo’s mother packs the dinner pails for school with crispy apple turnovers, “plump crusts filled with melting slices of apple and spicy brown juice”.  So this gave me an idea . . . Apple Hand Pies!

Now I know it is not very Martha of me, but I did not make my own crust for these pies-I like to “get ‘er dun” as Mater says.   I keep some pre-made store-bought versions in the freezer just for this type of thing. I don’t have a favorite brand-I just get what is on sale looks like a good quality piecrust and I am not ashamed; especially when I have such a warm, toasty way to welcome The Girl home from school.

I bet you are wondering how I made them so cute?  I have this handy thing from Pampered Chef, called the Cut-N-Seal but you can just use a circle cookie cutter.

 Apple Pie Filling*
2 Tablespoons butter
6-8 apples (any variety) peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ - 1 cup water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in the apples, lemon, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples have softened and begin to break down, about 10 minutes.

Add water and cornstarch to pot and bring to a boil. Cook until desired thickness.

Cool and assemble pies.
*Filling can be made ahead of time and stored in freezer.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

I used two rounds of pre-made pie-crust to make about 12 hand pies.  Working with one round at a time, lay out dough on parchment paper and cut out shapes using circle cookie cutter.  Place a heaping Tablespoon of filling in middle of each circle (only half of what you cut out-these are the bottoms). Keep a small perimeter bare around the edge. Place a second circle on top of the first and use your fingertips to seal the edges.  You can then use the tines of a fork around the edge of the circle. Repeat with the remaining mini-pies.

Place the pies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Beat an egg with a 1 Tablespoon of water for egg wash.  Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar. Using a knife, make a small “x” in the middle of pie so steam can escape.

Bake for about 10 minutes. Try to cool because everyone will be snatching them up, burning their fingers and tongues in the process.

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