This is our entry for Kids Cook Book Soup — Apples! Check back later today for the full round-up.
The Story: This lovely book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Priceman, caught my eye at the bookstore with its colorful illustrations. In it, a little girl sets out to make an apple pie but discovers her local market is closed. So naturally, she charts a course around the world to pick wheat in Italy, sugar cane in Jamaica, and apples in Vermont. I admit, on one level my locavore’s conscious felt a pang of guilt, but it was too cute a story not to buy. Besides, the point of eating local, for me, is to ensure my son knows where his food comes from. Even if it’s not always somewhere nearby.
The Lesson: My son knows apples grow on trees, and milk comes from cows. This may seem obvious, but it’s not always! My brother went through a phase as a kid where he insisted that milk came from the grocery store. No amount of arguing could convince him it came from a cow. (This was probably just stubbornness, we certainly were exposed to cows.) Anyway, last week I picked up the boy from daycare and headed out to do errands, and I had failed to pack snacks. I asked if he wanted to go to the drive-thru for apple slices, and he replied, “We could go to the farm and get apples!” In an ideal world, yes, but convenience won out this time.
The Recipe: I recently went to Williams-Sonoma looking for yeast. They didn’t have it, but of course I managed to come home with a bag full of new must-have kitchen tools, including these adorable apple and pumpkin pocket pie molds. The boy saw the one I was packing in my niece’s birthday present, and started to whine, “But I don’t have one of those yet!” So he was pleasantly surprised when I pulled out a second one for him. I decided to stick with the recipe on the box for the pie crusts, which I was glad to see called for butter. I halved the recipe to make 4 little pies. This really doesn’t take too much more effort than making a full-size pie, and the results are just too cute.
Spiced Apple Hand Pies
crust recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- maple sugar
Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor to combine. Add butter chunks, and pulse until it resembles a course meal. Add water, a little at a time, pulsing between each addition until dough begins to come together. I only needed 6 tablespoons. Remove and press into flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. (Or, if you’re in a hurry, 30 minutes in the freezer.)
- 1 apple, diced small
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch salt
Combine all ingredients and set aside while dough is chilling.
To Assemble Pies: Prepare egg wash. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use the mold to cut out 8 shapes. If you don’t have the molds, use a large cookie cutter to cut shapes. Cut a leaf-shaped vent into the top crust pieces. Place the bottom in the mold (or on your parchment-lined baking sheet) and place 2 tablespoons of apple filling in the center. Brush a little egg wash around the edge, lay a second piece of dough over and gently press in the mold or together with a fork. Brush the top with more egg wash and sprinkle with maple sugar. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat to make the remaining pies. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 22-24 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool on a cooling rack at least 10 minutes before eating. Makes 4 small pies. Enjoy!
Note: I skipped the second freezing step, as we were in a hurry to finish before bedtime, so my crusts browned more quickly than they should have. But they tasted great! Oh, and despite the book’s instructions, our apples and eggs came from local farms.