Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Oh. my. sweet. apple pie.

I absolutely LOOOOVE apple pie. clarify, I looooove my GRANDMOTHER'S apple pie. It's full of apple, cinnamon and all sorts of sugary goodness. It's so good, it's pretty much ruined any one elses apple pie for me, so I'm hesitant to try anything else out.

Oh yea, I'm also terrified of making crust. All that folding, and layering and "until just mixed" etc. makes me nervous. However, I came across these awhile back and decided they looked easy enough for a pie neophyte like me to try them out.

100% worth it. These things are the bomb...a bomb of caramel, apple and sea salt. Even my hubbyl liked them and he HATES apple pie. They make an AMAZING, pretty, dinner party dessert (orrrrr, in our case, just made us feel less guilty about eating pie) They store nicely in the fridge, and when you're ready to eat, pop 'em in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and they taste like they've just come out of the oven!

There are many steps to this recipe, so I suggest you give it a quick read before you get started!

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies
For the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup cold sour cream

For the filling:
2 cups small diced & peeled, granny smith apples
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp all purpose flour
8 store bought caramels, chopped
Sea Salt
Egg Wash (1 egg white whisked lightly with 1 tbsp water)
White Sugar

First, we make the dough!
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt & baking powder. Using a cheese grater, grate the COLD butter into the dough. Alternatively, you can cut the butter in, but I find the cheese grater method MUCH more effective. Check out what I mean here (scroll to number 8). Mix together with with your hands until it has the consistency of wet sand. Stir in the sour cream. Your dough will feel quite wet at this point. 

Flour a clean surface and place dough on it. Knead the dough until it comes together, adding a tsp of flour at a time if the dough to too sticky. Roll the dough out into an 8x10" rectangle. Dust both sides, then fold it into thirds (like you would a letter).

Turn the dough 90 degrees, then flatten again into a 8x10" rectangle (this is what creates the flaky, layered texture to the dough). Fold the dough again into thirds. Tightly wrap it in cling wrap and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

The filling!

Ready for this? In a small bowl, mix together the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour. You want the apple pieces to be evenly coated with everything. Set aside. BOOM, done. 

Now, we assemble the pie!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into a 14x14 inch square. NOTE: if the dough it too stiff to work with, let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. 

Using a 3" cookie cutter (or in my case, a wide mouth pint glass) cut out as many circles as possible. Roll the scraps together, roll dough out again and repeat the cookie cutter process. By the end you SHOULD have about 20 dough rounds (I think I only had about 16, but my crust was thick) 

Transfer 6 rounds to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat. Spoon a little bit of the apple mixture into the center of the dough rounds. Then, take a few pieces of chopped caramel and place on top of the apple. Sprinkle a pinch of the coarse sea salt on top of that. Take a second dough round and place on top. Use a form to seal the edges of the dough. I found I had to press quite hard to get the dough to stick together. 

Finally, brush each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each one. Bake for about 15 mins or until they are a nice, golden brown. While this is happening, prepare the next 4 or so pies with the remaining dough.

Remove from oven and let them sit for 10 minutes. PLEASE LET THEM COOL FOR 10 MINUTES, other wise you will be biting into lava. Caramel & apple lava. They are hot, hot, hot when they come out of the oven. I may or may not have learned this the hard way, so just trust me on this one.

Store for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge. When ready to eat them again, pop in the microwave for about 10 -10 seconds for that fresh-baked feel! 


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