The open space behind our backyard has turned golden, the trees are covering every shade in the fall palette and on Friday morning when we looked out the grass was covered in frost. And if those aren't good enough signs that fall is here, the annual invitation to the neighbors Chili Cook Off will put all doubts to rest. That party combines some of the best ingredients I know for a neighborhood get together. There's comfort food and beer, a bouncy castle for the kids, string lights, music and a natural conversation starter as we compare chili recipes and vote for our favorites. I once brought a pot of chili but quickly realized that the competition was far to steep and also there was a need to fill in a big gap in the 'kid friendly food' category. Since then I've brought simpler things like sides, home made pizza, bread or a dessert. This year I have to admit that the event caught me off guard. I hadn't planned ahead for what to bring and the day of the party we had a soccer game and two other birthday parties to go to...yikes! I had to come up with something that was a worthy celebration of fall, easy to serve and eat and that also didn't require me to go to the store before I could begin. Hmm. Think think think. My breadsticks are always super popular with the kids but with the busy schedule I wouldn't have time to make them fresh, which makes them much less yummy. Pie definitely checks the mark on fall, but I only have one pie dish and that wouldn't be enough, also pie requires plates and spoons and I just wanted something people could grab and eat easily while moving around.
These cute little hand pies were the perfect solution! Also, everybody absolutely loved them, I got so many compliments all night. Now, to be honest, I have never been a very big fan of apple pie. Most apple pies I had as a child were too mushy and wet, just like a sloppy goo of apples and with not enough crunch. These hand pies totally turn the tables on the crunch vs apple ratio and that makes all the difference for me. Besides, this crust is completely amazing and worth eating on it's own. And yes, it's a lot of butter. A LOT. But soo good..you just have to try it!
Apple Hand Pies
(Makes about 35 pies)
First, make the dough so it has time to chill in the fridge while you make the filling. You can also make the dough ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer.
3 sticks of butter (330 grams)
3 and 2/3 cups flour (8.5-9 dl)
1 cup sugar (2.4 dl)
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water (0.75-1.2 dl)
1 egg for brushing
raw sugar to sprinkle on top
Blend the sugar, flour and salt together. Working with really cold butter, crumble the butter together in the flour mixture until there are no visible pieces of butter left. I do this by hand but you can also use the knife accessory on a food processor. When the butter is incorporated, add ice water a little at a time until the dough forms to a ball. Place in the fridge until cold.
3 pounds of mixed tart apples and pears (1.2 kg)
1 cup total of brown and white sugar (2.4 dl)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour (0.6 dl)
Peel the apples and cut them in small pieces. Mix apples and the rest of the ingredients in a pot and let cook for 5 minutes or so. You just want it all to get gooey and messy, but not cook for so long that the apples loose too much crunch. Let cool.
Take your cooled down dough and divide it in two pieces. While you work on the first one, let the other stay in the fridge. Use a 3"/2.5 cm cookie cutter and punch out two circles for every pie. Place one on the baking sheet. Whip the egg and brush the outer edge of one of the circles. Place about a tbsp of the apple compote in the middle of your brushed circle and place the other circle on top. Press the edges together with your fingers or with a fork. Continue until the baking sheet is full. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 45 minutes. Turn the oven to 425F / 225C degrees.
When your pies are cold and stiff again, cut a cross in the center of each pie. Then brush the pies with egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Into the oven they go for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack until they are cool enough to eat.
Enjoy with some hot apple cider or a cup of tea.
Happy fall everyone!