Apple Cranberry Hand Pies

Fall is the season of pies. There is just something comforting and cozy about smelling butter, discount cinnamon and harvest fruits oozing out of the oven and into the rest of the house.  Although apple and pumpkin are classic fall pies I am trying to experiment with new flavor profiles and combinations this fall. I am looking forward to baking with pears, salve a fruit I don’t give enough credit to for its flavor and versatility and pumpkin, a vegetable that is only used in October and November and therefore does not get enough time to shine.

My first pies of the season were apple cranberry hand pies. Hand pies are a trend I like, but I actually prefer a slice of pie. Hand pies are more convenient to eat but are more time consuming and tedious to make. You also do not get as much filling and cannot easily eat the pie with ice cream.

photoA few weeks ago I picked up this handy hand pie mold from Loblaws for $5.00. I picked it up in the hopes that this mold would ease the process of making hand pies. The one pictured is actually from Williams-Sonoma and therefore probably unnecessarily expensive and not worth it. However, for $5.00 – how can you say no?

I promptly threw out the recipe with the box and had to scour the internet for an alternative recipe, which lead me to Williams-Sonoma’s apple cranberry recipe and photo of the device.

IMG_4578Apple cranberry is a type of pie I had never had before but it is delicious and I recommend everyone try it/make it. The cranberry tartness rounds out the sweetness from the apples and brown sugar. The cranberry works with the spiciness of the cinnamon and nutmeg in a different way than the apple does, bringing together a new type of flavor from the apples and cranberry. It’s a new spin on a classic fall pie.

Recipe below the cut and happy munching!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 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

For the apple-cranberry filling:

  • 1 1/2 lb. Pink Lady or McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the flour, salt and the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar on low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add the butter and beat for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium-low and beat until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 1 1/2 minutes more. Add the 6 Tbs. ice water, reduce the speed to low and beat for 20 seconds. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, beating for 5 seconds after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and shape each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

To make the apple-cranberry filling, in a large bowl, stir together the apples, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cornstarch. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apple mixture, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender but not mushy, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let cool for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, granulated sugar and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have broken down slightly and the liquid has thickened to the consistency of a loose jam, about 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Add the cranberry mixture to the apple mixture and stir to combine.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a round 3/16 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using an apple pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape (4 solid and 4 with the decorative cutout). Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 2 Tbs. apple-cranberry filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Top with a shape with a decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Brush the top of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 pocket pies.

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