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June 30, 2015

Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Although I usually post red white and blue recipes for the 4th of July, today I decided to go with the most American thing I could think of: apple pie. Well, my picnic/barbecue/party-friendly version of it. I also added caramel, since frankly it's delicious and there's nothing more American than adding sugar to stuff. It just seemed appropriate.


Perhaps the most obvious deviation from your traditional apple pie is that these are hand pies, meaning they are perfect for crust lovers. You can easily make these larger, though I wouldn't go much bigger than the size of a pop tart. I happened to have scalloped cookie cutters, so that's the shape I went with. Just make or buy a basic pie crust dough, roll it out as thin as you can without it breaking, and cut into twice as many pieces as you want pies. I've found that I need to make enough pie for a double crust to handle all the apples. Usually the refrigerated pie crusts come in packs of two, which should be enough as well.


The filling is like a traditional apple pie filling except the apples are cut much smaller. You don't want to have just one apple chunk in your pie, and you also want the apples to cook through, which is why I cut mine about the size of peas. If you decide to make larger pies, you can cut the apples a little larger. I toss the diced apples with some cinnamon, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice (for taste, sweetness, non-liquidy-ness, and tartness) as well as some of the caramel.


To make this recipe a little easier, I decided to go with my mock caramel sauce. Honestly, I've been having some difficulties making real caramel (I know, I'm supposed to be researching the stuff but it just isn't working). This sauce involves boiling cream, brown sugar, and butter together until thick instead of burning sugar and then adding cream. Since caramel isn't the main thing going on in this recipe, I don't feel too bad about taking a shortcut. Besides, that means these pies are ready just a little bit sooner, which means they are ready for snacking and 4th of July festivities!


1 Recipe Double Crust Pie Crust Dough
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2 T Sugar
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 T Flour
1 T Cornstarch
1 Egg
1/2 Cup + 1 T Cream
2 T Butter
1/4 tsp Vanilla


Whisk 1/2 cup cream, dark brown sugar, and butter together in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in a pinch of salt and the vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Roll the pie dough out to 1/4" thick and cut into 2 1/2" rounds. Chill until firm.

Peel, core, and dice the apples into small cubes about the size of peas. Whisk the lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, flour, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and 2 T of the caramel sauce. Gently stir in the apples.

Whisk the egg and the  remaining cream together.

Scoop a spoonful of the apple filling onto the center of half the pie crust rounds, leaving a small border around the edges. Drizzle with some of the caramel sauce. Roll out the remaining rounds so they are slightly larger, then brush the edges with a bit of egg wash. Press onto the rounds with the apples to adhere, then brush the tops with more egg wash. Cut a small slit or hole on the tops and refrigerate until cold, about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 375F and line cookie trays with parchment.

Transfer the pies to the prepared trays and bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

Makes 18
Recipe Adapted from Just a Taste

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