I bought a bag of the best apples recently during a trip to Trader Joe’s. They are called SweeTango. Introduced in 2009, they combine the best of Honeycrisp and Zestar. Who knew? I just thought they were pretty and tossed them into my cart. They were crunchy, juicy and crisp. There’s alot of good information on their website about the apple story and a library of recipes – including apple, cheddar, bacon, pecan sticky buns. I feel a project coming on.
This got me to thinking about all the apple varieties, what is the best for just plain eating and those that are suitable for baking. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen has over 100 recipes using apples and this cute Guide To Apples.
Then this made me hungry for apple pie. Can you see the snowball effect of this? I didn’t want a huge pie, so I decided to look for a recipe for hand-pies. This was one of the most fun recipes Mother would make when I was little. She didn’t do it very often with me, maybe more when Sister Bee was younger. Mother said her daddy taught her how to make them since he was a cook. Her filling was usually stewed apricots or peaches and she fried her pies. I would stand at the counter watching her roll out the crust, fill with the fruit and drop into a fryer of hot oil. When they came out they were hot and she’d give them a generous sprinkle of cinnamon/sugar. They were a real treat, oozing from the corners. I wonder if she got the urge to make pies because she was missing her daddy? I know I missed her when I made mine last evening.
There were a few things I liked about this right from the start. First, the crust calls for flour, butter, water, salt and Greek yogurt. You make it in the food processor and it made a lovely, small disc of dough. Second, the filling just calls for diced apples, I used Granny Smith but if you refer to the chart I could have used the SweeTango variety, salted caramel topping and cornstarch. I happened to have a jar of Salted Caramel Sauce from Williams-Sonoma in my fridge so I used it, but you can also make your own and she provides the recipe.
I beg you, please do not use regular grocery store caramel sauce. It’s much too sweet and you really need the salted essence in order to make this recipe work.
The results were a pie that was more like a turnover. Remember the ones from Pepperidge Farm back in the day? Man, talk about a treat. When Mother put those out on the counter to bake as our dessert for the night, I knew she was in a good mood, I wasn’t in trouble and I might get to stay up late!
Okay, back to the recipe. When I say turnover, it’s not flaky like a turnover, it’s more that the filling stays inside like a fried pie. It is truly best eaten hand-held and not with a fork. It’s also good because it’s not too sweet. Since it only makes four small pies, you will need to plan accordingly if you want these for a party. You know what would be super cute? Wrap them in parchment paper and tie with twine or a flannel bow like this…
Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about in the apple department.