I was asked to participate in a Get Baked Google Hangout Online show about pies because I’ve co-produced the event Pie Party Potluck LIVE for the past few years! My theory is it’s best to talk about pie when you’re eating pie so I had to make pie. What to make? I settled on Apple Cherry Ginger hand pies because they bring the CUTE and smart.
The hangout was scheduled on the day after Pi Day. I’m so glad that day is dedicated to making and eating pie amongst my circle of friends, instead of “Pi” because I was never a fan of math.
Pi is sorta related to pie. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The diameter of a circle is measured through the center of the circle. If you cut straight through the center of a round pie, you get a half a pie to eat.
The circumference of a circle is the distance around the circle. You could find out the circumference if you took a tape measure and measured around your round pie or if you broke off the crust of a round pie and lined it up and measured that. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same. Pi will always be the same for any circular pie. Don’t ask me to explain any further because it makes my head hurt.
I didn’t actually eat any pies on Pi Day because I knew I would be making my own pie the following day.
I thought about making a whole pie, but I didn’t want to commit to eating a whole pie. Jennifer Perillo, from the blog In Jennie’s Kitchen, was also participating in the Get Baked Hangout. She mentioned hand pies as we were discussing pies before the hangout on Twitter and I thought, “BINGO!”. Not only could I control how many I made and thus ate, they’d be CUTE! I wanted to delight the folks who saw them, since no one else in the hangout would be able to actually eat them. They’d have to eat them with their eyes. Sweets always make the best food porn and adorableness touches the warm and fuzzy place inside us.
I also made a Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie after the hangout was over. I only put a crust on top which made it super easy. It was DAMN DELICIOUS!!!
- 1 pound Granny Smith apples, diced
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 ounces dried cherries
- 1 ounce crystallized ginger, finely diced
- 1/4 cup water (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pastry for double crust pie, separated into two discs
- 1 egg
- Raw sugar for sprinkling
- Macerate the apples by mixing them with the sugar, lemon juice and salt in a 1 quart saucepan and let them sit for 1/2 hour. The idea is to let the sugar and acid break down the apples so they get juicy. You use that liquid to cook the fruit so your filling is not runny. Have 1/4 cup of water on hand in case the apples don’t release enough juice.
- Add the cherries and ginger and cook the mixture over a low flame, stirring frequently until the apples are tender, the cherries and ginger are plumped and the excess moisture from the apples is mostly evaporated. Use a little water during the cooking process if the liquid evaporates before the apples are tender. The cooking time is 10-15 minutes. Cool the apples completely.
- Using one disc of pastry at a time (keep the remaining dough chilled), roll the pastry on a flour-dusted surface with a flour-dusted rolling pin in the shape of a rectangle approximately 10” by 20”. You can use scraps of the dough to fill holes and patch cracks in the pastry, but be careful to make sure the seams are well incorporated.
- Using a ruler and a knife, mark off and cut 18 - 3” by 3” squares. Place one tablespoon of the cold filling on the pastry square. If you want decorate the top square like the ones I made, use a small cookie cutter to cut out a desired shape out of the top square. Carefully remove the small shape and set it aside. Then, lay the cut pastry square over the filling and gently, but firmly, press the edges of the pastry together so the seam is sealed. Crimp the edges with a fork.
- Lay the cut-out shape over the space, which will now be slightly stretched out, so there will be a little gap around the cut-out shape.
- Alternatively, you can simply cut some air vents in the top pastry with a knife after you place it over the filling and seal the edges.
- Place hand pies on a sheet pan with 1” between each one.
- In a small bowl, make an egg wash by beating an egg with one tablespoon of water. Lightly brush the pastry with egg wash, especially at the edges. Sprinkle the top lightly with sugar.
- Chill the hand pies in the refrigerator while making the second half of the pastry into hand pies.
- When you are ready to bake them, preheat oven to 400 °.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden.
You can easily halve this recipe if you only have enough pastry for one pie.
- 12.5 ounces (352g) flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (228g) fat, cold, but pliable (all unsalted butter or 50:50 butter and shortening)
- 2/3 cup ice water
- In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add butter and shortening, if using. Process lightly running the mixture between your fingers and thumb or with a pastry cutter until most of the flour is coated and you have a mixture that ranges from coarse meal to large pea or Nicoise olive-sized pieces.
- Mix in 1/2 cup iced water with a fork and stir to moisten the ingredients. Using a kneading motion, press the ingredients to get them to just stick together. It may seem like it’s not going to come together, then all of a sudden, it does. Only use the remaining water if absolutely necessary.
- Shape the mixture into two balls. I weigh them to make sure they are the same size. Press each ball into a 1” thick disc. Wrap the disc in waxed paper or plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a floured board. Dust it lightly with flour. Using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll from the center to the edges of the dough, moving the dough every couple of rolls to make sure it’s not sticking. Roll it into a 1/8” high circle. Lay the dough circle over your rolling pin and transfer it to your pie pan. Shape and trim as necessary.
Food Processor Method: In a food processor, mix dry ingredients. Add butter and shortening, if using. Process by pulsing until most of the flour is coated and you have a mix that ranges from coarse meal to large pea or Nicoise olive-sized pieces. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Follow recipe from step 2.
I’ve made this crust with all butter and with half butter and half shortening. I like the flavor in the all-butter version best.
A tip from Harold McGhee for making pie crust manually is to chill the butter and shortening and grate it on the large holes of a box grater.