How American: Apple hand pies
Hand pies with apple filling provide the all-American comfort of apple pie, minus the need for fork and plate.
While not a new concept, hand pies turn apple pie into a convenient, easy and mess-free treat for Fourth of July celebrations. The term hand pie has been around for a long time; farming cultures used to make them for workers to eat in the field. And they’re different from tarts, which lack top crusts and are cooked in a shallow pan.
If apple pie isn’t your favorite, you can make a filling from fresh berries instead. You will need to increase the amount of cornstarch, depending on how juicy your berries are. You want the filling to be thick so it doesn’t ooze out.
To add visual appeal, small cookie cutters can be used to create the steam vents in the top rounds of dough. Be sure to do so before placing the dough over the filling.
APPLE HAND PIES
Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes 18 hand pies
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
3 small baking apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Two 14.1-ounce packages refrigerated pie dough (each package contains 2 rounds of dough)
1 tablespoon milk
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a deep skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until just tender.
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, lemon juice and water, then add to the apples and stir. Cook until the juices thicken and bubble, about 1 minute. Set the filling aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
One at a time, on a lightly floured surface unroll each of the 4 rounds of pie dough. Using a 3-inch circular cookie cutter, cut out 9 rounds from each piece of dough for a total of 36 rounds.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the milk.
To assemble the hand pies, place 1 dough round in front of you. Lightly brush around the edges of the round with the egg mixture. Place 2 teaspoons of apple filling in the center of the dough. Top with a second round of dough. Gently press down so that the filling is enclosed and the edges of the top round meet the edges of the bottom round. Use a fork to crimp and seal all around the edges. Brush the top with more of the egg mixture and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon sugar. Use a paring knife to poke a hole in the top to vent steam. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling.
Place the hand pies on the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Nutrition information per pie (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 241 calories; 111 calories from fat (45 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 16 mg cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 167 mg sodium.