Handheld Apple Pies

Believe it or not, I grew up hating apple pie. Yes, I know, I was a horrible child and clearly not a natural born American. After all, there’s nothing more American than apple pie, right?

Eventually, I had a slice of my grandmother’s apple pie with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream. And let me tell you, that was a tiny little piece of heaven, right there on a plate. I’ve been an apple pie lover ever since, but quite frankly, pie is pretty difficult to make from scratch, particularly the crust. I mean pie crust is like an art in itself.

The other night I really was feeling like having some apple pie. It was too much work to do myself, going to the store and buying the frozen kind and baking it would take too long (plus not be as good as grandma’s!), and I certainly wasn’t going to call my grandma into the kitchen to make me one. And then I got this brilliant idea to make small, hand-held apple pies… with crust that was already pre-made.

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I’m a huge fan of any kind of pre-made dough products – mainly because it means I have to do a lot less work, but also because they are so versatile. Puff pasty, pizza dough, biscuits, but especially: crescent rolls. You can roll those babies up to make just about anything. In this case, I repurposed them entirely and didn’t roll them up at all, but made them into little pockets of deliciousness.

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So, if the idea of apple pie is daunting but you just can’t shake that sweet apple-y craving, give these a try!

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. Dice up a medium sized apple (granny smith is best for apple pie!) and set it aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt two tablespoons of butter, add in vanilla (1 tsp) and then add the apples to it, stirring to coat.

Apples in pan

To this, add brown sugar (1/2 cup), cinnamon (1 tsp), and salt (maybe 1/4 tsp or so). Stir until all the apples are coated and it has started to bubble.

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Leave that alone for a little bit and get to work on your crust.

Open the package of crescent dough and flatten out the rectangles. Don’t separate them into the triangles that make crescents!

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MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Use your fingers to pinch together the diagonal gap so that the dough doesn’t separate in the oven.

Once the apples have started to become soft, maybe 5-8 minutes or so, remove them from the heat and spoon them onto one half of each of your rectangles, leaving room around the edges to seal it shut. A small to medium apple should be just enough for four, but use your judgement to make sure they aren’t overfull.

Apples on dough

Fold the dough over and use your fingers to seal up the edges by pinching them together.

Folded dough

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: To give them that true, golden, fresh-from-the-bakery look, brush them lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle white sugar on top just before putting them in the oven.

Egg wash

Bake for 12 minutes or until they are golden brown!

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It’s like making hot pockets at home, except they are sweet, and don’t have nearly as many preservatives, and are far more satisfying!

Finished Dish 4

Full Recipe:

Handheld Apple Pies

Yield: 4 Mini Pies

Ingredients:

1 package pre-made crescent dough
1 small/medium granny smith apple
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten, for eggwash
White sugar, for sprinkling

Process:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.

2) Dice apple; set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, add vanilla, and then stir in apples.

3) Once apples are coated with butter/vanilla, stir in sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to coat and let simmer for 5-8 minutes.

4) Unroll the crescent dough, leaving it in rectangles, and flatten them out on prepared baking sheet. Pinch the diagonal gap closed to avoid separation when baking.

5) Spoon cooked apples onto one half of each dough rectangle, leaving room to fold it over and seat shut.

6) Fold over the empty half of each rectangle onto the apples and use your fingers to pinch the edges shut.

7) Brush each pie lightly with beaten egg and then sprinkle with white sugar.

8) Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Serve immediately.

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