When I was a kid, I used to love a good candied apple on a stick. The adult version that I’ve come up with is much simpler where I dip an apple slice into a cup of melted caramel. Crunchy, sweet, and gooey! For this recipe, I wanted to take it to the next level and wrap that perfect pairing of apple and caramel into a pie shell. It’s almost like a mini apple pie, which is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving. I personalized these darlings by slapping some letters on the top making these the perfect mini hand pies that everyone can be thankful for. Serve ’em up for dessert or an appetizer, or save them for a fun way to say muchos gracias.
‘Tis the season for apples! I love the apple varieties available this time of year, even in LA. Pink Lady, Gala, Delicious, Granny Smith. For this recipe, I chose Gala apples. You’ll want to use three of them for this recipe, peeled and chopped into quarters. I’m a fan of the apple slicer tool (splurge on a nicer brand like OXO since the cheaper ones have dull, flimsy blades). Add some cinnamon, lemon juice, dash of high quality store-bought caramel (keep it easy for yourself), light brown sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside to begin working on the dough.
HAND PIES ASSEMBLY
- For the letters: Take about 1/4 of your total dough, roll it out, and cut your letters. I use Ateco letter cutters. Set letters on plastic wrap, and toss ’em back in the fridge for 10 minutes (ok, don’t really toss them!). The letters are completely optional. Yes, they’re festive, and they’re not too hard to fit on the top of the pie. But they do take a little extra time.
- For the mini pie shells: Roll out the dough, cut out 4″ circles and carefully place in the fridge for 15 minutes. This just chills them enough for the final step.
HAND PIES FILLING
Fold and crimp with a fork to seal the hand pie. Don’t forget to poke 3 holes on the top with a knife. It’s muy importante to add a release for the air.
ADD YOUR WORDS OF THANKS
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. I would love to see what words people come up with. You have about 6 letters max with the 4″ rounds of dough. This could translate for Valentine’s Day with LOVE on top, or 2018 for a New Year’s party, or names would be fun, too. CINDY would fit! Just have fun with it!
Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography