Monday, September 21, 2015

September: Time for Apple Pies!

Look at those ingredients.

Apples, caramels, cinnamon, flour, sour cream...

Is your mouth watering yet? Just wait until you see what my daughter Carrie did with this humble beginning!

The original name of this recipe is "Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies," and even though Carrie only used caramel without the salt, I'll include it in the recipe in case you want to add it in.

She got this recipe from one of her favorite food blogs, Just a Taste. You'll have to go and browse through the site. There's some delicious looking stuff over there!

Meanwhile, here is Carrie's version:

Caramel Apple Hand Pies


For the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup cold sour cream

Hmm, sour cream in the pastry dough? You bet! This dough turns out to be something in between a puff pastry and a pie crust. I couldn't believe how good it was!

For the filling:
2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced small - the size of corn kernels
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
8 soft caramels, roughly chopped
Large flake sea salt (we left this out)
Egg wash (1 egg lightly whisked with 1 Tablespoon water)


First, make the dough.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and work the butter into the flour with your fingers until it's the consistency of wet sand.

Stir in the sour cream - the dough will be very wet - and then turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.

Knead the dough a few times until it's workable, adding more flour a little at a time as needed if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Roll the dough into an 8x10 inch rectangle, dust both sides with flour again, and then fold it in thirds, as if you're folding a letter.

Rotate the dough 90° and roll it out again into an 8x10 inch rectangle. Fold the dough again into thirds then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while you make the filling.

The Filling:

In a small bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Set the bowl aside.

By the way, Carrie only had to use one apple to get two cups of pieces. Those were big apples!

Ignore the pieces of caramel mixed with the apples.
They're supposed to go in later. 

Assemble the Pies:

Preheat your oven to 425°.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and unfold it onto a well-floured surface. Roll it out to a 14x14 inch square.

Using a 3" diameter cup or cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out circles until you run out of dough, making sure you end up with an even number of circles.

You should have about 20 circles.

Place about 6 circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon a small portion of the apple filling into the center of each circle, leaving a border around the filling. Top the apple filling with a portion of the chopped caramels (and a pinch of the sea salt, if you're making the salted caramel variety).

Place a second dough circle on top of each filled circle, then use a fork to crimp the edges together, sealing each pie.

Brush each pie with the egg wash, and using a sharp knife, cut two or three vents on the top of each pie. Repeat on another baking sheet with the rest of the dough circles.

Bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them rest about 10 minutes before serving.

We had ours with vanilla ice cream.

But they really didn't need it. The crust is so rich and creamy, and the filling perfectly delicious, that they're just the thing to eat, well, "out of hand!"

So with apple season here and pumpkin season right around the corner, do you have a favorite? Are you an apple pie person or a pumpkin spice person?


    I would just eat the apples mix with the caramels and call it good. Ok, maybe some ice cream, too, since it looks like good French vanilla bean.
    *sigh* I should never come here late at night. Now I want to eat my hand.

    1. I have the same problem when I come to the Cafe before breakfast. Apple pie sounds like the perfect breakfast choice, doesn't it???

      And yes, it was the good vanilla bean ice cream. :)

  2. Oh my word, this looks delightful!!!! I love hand-held pies, and you know I fry mine, but this delicious crust looks amazing.... I wonder what a cider glaze would do for this? I like to glaze hand held pies to seal in the freshness (I know, if you eat them all INSTANTLY this is not a concern, LOL!) but it also makes crust less mealy.... but if it comes out like a puff pastry-style crust (and that's the folding, I love that!!!!) it probably doesn't need any fancy-pants glaze!

    This looks beyond marvelous and I must go to the apple store AGAIN!!!!

  3. And I am both. Apple pie spices/ pumpkin spices/ equal opportunity to gain weight as needed!!!! I just love fall and fall foods and soups and baked potatoes...

    With lots of stuff on them.

    I am my own worst enemy!

    1. Fall is my favorite food season! After a hot summer of (delicious) fresh fruits and salads, I crave the slow-cooked cold weather foods like soups, stews, roasts, potatoes....

      And my new favorite fall meal - squash or pumpkin soup. Oh. My. We stopped at Panera on our trip east last week (no Panera out here!), and they had their seasonal squash soup on the menu. I fell in love. Again.

      I'm going to have to make a big pot of that soup to heat up for lunches...once it cools off again next week :)

    2. Oh, that sounds so good.... Right now, I think I just want a cook.

      Is that too much to ask?

  4. Oh this looks amazing, Jan and Carrie! Like Virginia, I want one NOW.

    I did a double take at the sour cream so I'm really intrigued. And the apple cider glaze Ruthy mentioned - yum!

    And now I must go to work with visions of apple pies dancing in my head.

    1. These were so good - and not that hard to make, in spite of all the steps. Not much different from making a traditional pie.

      Which is also very good :)

    2. Apple anything is kind of amazingly good. Apples + cinnamon = happiness.

  5. Oh, yummy, I'm making this for sure. And I bet I could just pop the extras in the freezer and warm up as desired. Very cool. Mind you, I'll make it without the salt.

    Do you think there might be a vegan alternative to the sour cream so I could make it for my daughter? She's allergic to dairy. I'll have to think about that. I know they tend have all kinds of alternatives to most anything, but it would have to be something that could be baked. Hmmmmm....

    1. You can try these with your regular pie crust, Kav. The crust won't be as light and flaky, but still delicious. It's the filling that makes it good :)

  6. Oh, wow! The sour cream sounds amazing! And they look delicious!! I can't wait to try this. Thanks, Jan!

    1. If you can have the dairy (poor Kav's daughter!), the sour cream makes these pies sing! I'm thinking of trying other recipes with this crust - like Chicken Pot Pie. I think that would be fabulous!

    2. Mmm.... chicken pot pie..... mmmm.... pie crust.... mmm... pumpkin....mmm .... hungry author.

    3. Ruthy, I think it's time for you to go get a napkin! LOL!

  7. Be still my heart. This looks amazing, Jan. But please don't make me choose between apple and pumpkin pie, because I usually have a slice of both. :D

    1. If I have to choose, I'll take pumpkin. But if possible, I have both, too :) It's great when you can cut the slices in half and take a little of each!

  8. Yummy, I'm in with all the rest of you. And Kav, I could probably do the same and just eat the filling and caramels. smile

    Can't believe fall is here and all the great fall foods coming. Yay

    1. We're having a hot summer day today (and last year at this time we were recovering from our first snowfall!), but I'm not-so-patiently waiting for that chill in the air! I just pinned a bunch of Crock Pot soup recipes onto my Pinterest board. Yum!