Apple season is just about over, but many of us are still processing the bounty so I thought I’d share a couple of recipes with you. Stepping away from my day to apple preparations which usually consist of eating them raw with chunks of sharp cheddar, or whipping up some Baked Fruit for Breakfast. But in our family, when the holidays roll around, it has become tradition that I will bring the apple pie. Filled with gluten and sugar - no apologies, no regrets. One year I asked my aunt what I could bring for Thanksgiving and she said, "Apple pie!" I asked her what else I could bring and she said, "More pie!" I figure either I'm pretty good at making pie, or pretty bad at making everything else.
I’ve recently come up with a way to make apple pie portable for my daughter who at almost 17 years old, is now venturing off to two part time jobs throughout the week and I want her to feel the love of mom’s kitchen wherever she is. Of course, my love also comes in the form of roasted chicken and leafy green salads, but I’m in competition with M&Ms and Snickers bars in the gift shop of the museum that she works at. I’d much rather send her off with a homemade treat, rendering those shelves of candy much less appealing. (It works!)
Prepping filling for the freezer. I use a tall pyrex bowl to steady the ziploc bag as I'm filling it. Lay the bag flat in the freezer.
And as much as we all love apple pie, a whole pie is a lot for my family of three to get through. Eating pie for days straight is a bit too much sugar and flour for us. And for Adam, anything beyond a small slice a couple times a year and it's migraines for days. Which makes the idea of hand pies even more perfect! I can make a big batch then just pull 2-3 from the freezer to bake off when Emily has work days coming up, or if she’s having friends over.
Add rounded 1/4 cup filling to one side of the circle, leaving room on the edges for sealing the pie.
Before we get to the recipes, a few notes about pie making in general.
- You really don’t a special recipe for pie filling. Honestly, how can you go wrong with apple pie filling? Apples, sugar, spices... feel free to play around and make it your own.
- All of your pastry ingredients need to be ice cold. I make my pastry in the food processor and if I feel the butter isn’t firm enough once I dice it into the bowl, I’ll pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes then move on to adding the flour.
- When baking, place a cookie sheet on the rack below the pie plate to catch any juices, not directly under the pie itself. Especially if using and air bake sheet. If you place your pie on one of these the crust will never brown and crisp up.
- This is just personal preference, but for many years I sliced my apples into thin, but full size slices. Emily discovered this year that she prefers the apples to be smaller (see photo of pie filling above), which it turns out makes for easier slicing.
- Always let your pie cool for several hours before slicing. We all have this idea of serving pie straight out of the oven, but the juices are running wild at this point and need to settle and reabsorb before you slice into it.
- If you are someone that struggles with making pie, no matter how many different ways you approach it - stick with hand pies! Seriously, they are foolproof. And there is something so adorable and fun about hand pies, you’ll be thinking about what other fruity combinations you can tuck inside the pastry.
To seal edges, I like to roll the bottom and top crust together in an upward motion toward the pie, then press with my fingers. Brush with an egg and milk wash, sprinkle with sugar.
Honestly, unless you were here with me in the kitchen I'm not sure I could guarantee your whole pie would come out perfectly flaky and wonderful. Pie is funny that way. But the hand pies are so forgiving, be sure to give them a try. And pie filling ready and waiting in the freezer - what could be better?
You could use the pie filling for crisps and cobblers too! I always make crisps with maple syrup or honey so I'd skip that myself. But it's perfectly doable if you have last minute company or potluck invite.
Enjoy your apple harvest!