Happy 4th of July! My family is definitely going low-key this year, hanging out at home and watching what fireworks can be seen from our deck. Nevertheless, there's going to be some delicious 4th of July fare, grilling and such, going on. One thing that always seems to be touted as a perfect 4th of July dessert, beyond the red, white, and blue trifles, is apple pie. I love apple pie, but frankly, in July, especially in this heat wave we've been having, I don't want my oven on that long if I can help it. I had some apples to use up though, and I do really like apple pie, so I decided to see if I could make mini pies that didn't take as long to bake. Success!
Apple Hand Pies, by me! (with help from my mom's pie crust recipe)
Chopped apples (I used about three apples, but had some left over. You could probably make these with two.)
Pumpkin pie spice/apple pie spice (I had pumpkin pie spice on hand)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold butter
1 1/2-2 T cold water
a pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon, if you like (I liked.)
For crust: Mix flour and salt together. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or knives. Slicing it up into small chunks first makes this easier. Once the butter and flour mixture is well blended, and resembles small peas, add in the water, a little at a time. Blend as you go, adding just enough water till everything holds together. You probably won't need it all. Set aside in the fridge until your filling is ready.
For filling: (Sorry for the generalities ahead, everything is to taste.) Chop apples into small chunks. Throw some brown sugar over top, add some lemon juice, and stir together. Taste an apple, and add more brown sugar or lemon juice as needed. Add a healthy splash of vanilla. Add some butter for flavor. (I used around 2 Tbsp, but you can use more or less, it's for taste, nothing else.) Add cinnamon and pie spice, stir everything together. Taste again, balance flavors if needed. Sometimes adding salt will help meld flavors, so if needed, add a little salt here.
Take the crust out of the fridge and roll it out thin. This may take a bit of work, this particular crust is rather flaky and doesn't like rolling much. If it gets too sticky, just ball it up and pop it back in the fridge to cool down for a couple minutes and try again. Once you've got the crust as thin as you want it, tear off palm sized chunks and place them on a greased tray. The edges don't have to be smooth or pretty, that's part of the charm with these.
Once all crust is on the pan, spoon filling into the center of each crust and fold the edges of the crust up around the filling. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350ºF oven. Let cool for a couple minutes on the pan, remove, and enjoy!