This post has been sponsored by Nielsen-Massey. All opinions expressed are my own.
Warm spices and flaky pie dough make these Apple Hand Pies a seasonal must for the holidays!
We’ve all done it. You’re eating something delicious, but there’s a catch. You’re in the presence of a friend. Yes, that dreaded moment when you have to ‘do the polite thing’ and offer them a piece. You make the offer, heartily, they refuse at first, so you do the ‘extra polite thing’ and make the offer a second time – again they refuse. You’re in the clear to finish indulging on your own, but you go the extra mile and make the offer a third time…and they accept. Shock, horror, and self-loathing mix behind your ‘polite smile’ as you endure the bitter sorrow of ‘sharing.’
While we’re on the subject of ‘individual enjoyment,’ you may be surprised to learn that it wasn’t until a few years ago that I had ever enjoyed an ‘individual pizza.’ I was in city to cover the release of a new book from Martha Stewart, and after the event I needed to unwind a little and so I popped into this ‘hole in the wall’ eatery, and I don’t why but I ordered the their individual pizza. What arrived wasn’t that far off from a ‘standard’ pizza, perhaps lacking a few inches in total diameter but otherwise pretty standard. “Well, they’re calling it individual, and I’m going to treat it like an individual pizza,” and the whole thing vanished rather quickly – a decision I was soon to regret, but nevertheless enjoyed.
Why am I talking about this? For the simple reason that there’s a certain sort of ‘devious’ enjoyment to having something ‘all to yourself.’ Imagine, for example, a chilly fall morning, and you’ve got your coffee and…pie, you want pie. Yes, you want a combination of cinnamon, sugar, and baked apples congealed within a sweetened crust crystallized with a glaze of sugar, but you don’t want the hassle of slicing or sharing, sharing? Sharing, what’s that? I’ll tell you right now what that is, it is something you don’t want to do when it comes to pie. No, you want the aforementioned apple-y goodness entirely unto yourself, and with today’s recipe that’s precisely what it will be.
Naturally, however, today’s pies are bite-sized, individual indulgences. Just large enough to be substantial, but just small enough to dunk in that aforementioned coffee. Pile them up on a plate, and they’re a supremely ‘autumn looking’ centerpiece with all of the flavors of the season, with just enough sweetness to be a ‘dessert,’ and just enough ‘warmth’ from the cinnamon and brown sugar flavors to keep you coming back for more.
To start things off, we being by prepping the crust, which is a combination of flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Process that in a food processor until the mixture becomes crumb-like, add the cold water one tablespoon at a time until the dough ‘pulls’ together. Once that has been achieved, chill the resulting dough until it is ready to use.
Up next is the filling. To start things off, we begin by peeling and dicing three apples. You’re going to want to dice the apples a fair being smaller than you are accustomed to with standard apple pie, think chunks or cubes rather than slices. Then, in a bowl, combine the apples with fresh lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon, coarsely chopped walnuts, your choice of cranberries or raisins, and vanilla. For today’s recipe, as in all the recipes that I prepare that call for extract, I’m using Nielsen-Massey Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract, made from premium, hand-selected beans cultivated in Mexico, the original birthplace of the vanilla plant. Nielsen Massey is simply the gold standard in extracts in terms of purity, flavor, and reliability in quality. The Mexican vanilla flavor has a deep, creamy, spicy-sweet character, similar to clove or nutmeg which is why it pairs perfectly with today’s recipe.
Once that’s done, roll out the dough from before to about a quarter of an inch in thickness, and then simply cut out the desired size for your pies as shown below. For convenience, I simply used an upside jar to portion it out. Then portion out the apple mixture into the center of the dough slices, and cover the mixture with another slice of dough, and press the edges closed with a fork. Then brush the top of each resulting piece with an egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and just like that you’ve got your individual apple pies.
Aside from vanilla extract, Nielsen-Massey also offers a range of flavors, the ones I use most being their lemon extract and almond extract – though I’ve also had occasion to sample their chocolate extract, which is simply superb. For more information on Nielsen-Massey, or to order, check out their website!
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Enjoy with Love!