One of my favorite gems in Autumn’s jewel box is Apple Hill. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump for me to take a meandering drive in the picturesque foothills. Scenic views of rolling hills, apple farms, vineyards and wineries dot the landscape as far as the eye can see.
The apple farms offer a great variety of apples, pumpkins, and produce, but also craft fairs, corn mazes, hay rides, farm animals to pet, and train rides.
I do try to be good, but for those of you with a mad sweet tooth like me, the fritters, apple donuts, cider, pies, and cakes are out of this world! I didn’t indulge (this time) but bought my apples and headed home, eager to try a new recipe.
Apple Pocket Pies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into half inch dice
6 – 8 Tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 lbs. Pink Lady or McIntosh apples, peeled and cored, and cut into half inch dice
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
pocket pie mold (such as this one)
Beat together the flour, salt, and 2 Tablespoons sugar on low speed until combined (about 10 seconds). Add the butter and beat for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium low and beat until mixture resembles course meal, about one and a half minutes more. Add the 6 Tablespoons ice water, reduce speed to low and beat 20 seconds. Dough should hold together but not be sticky. If crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating for 5 seconds after each addition.Turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide dough in half. Wrap with plastic wrap and shape each into a disc. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.In large bowl stir apples, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cornstarch together. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add apple mixture. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender but not mushy, 16 – 18 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and let cool 30 minutes.Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a floured surface roll out one dough disc into a round, 3/16 inch thick. Brush off excess flour. Using a pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape. Re-roll if necessary and continue.
Place a solid dough shape into the bottom of the mold cutter and gently place the dough in the mold. Fill the center with 2 T apple filling and brush the edges of the dough with egg wash.Top with a shape with a decorative cut out. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie.Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Freeze pies for 30 minutes.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush tops of pies with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on tops. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is gently bubbling, 22 – 24 minutes. Transfer pies to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
For the record, my husband has let me know (more than a few times) how perfect these little hand held pies are. I get the hint; I’m happy to make more!