When planning a picnic or casual meal with friends, it can be fun to rethink those more familiar desserts. Apple pie is as American as … well, apple pie. But that is not to say that it is the most convenient dessert for eating sans plates and forks.
So, after having made personal cherry pies to celebrate Washington’s birthday, I thought I’d switch fillings for today’s post, and toss in some apples.
Lesson learned – fresh cherries have a beautifully robust flavor that is naturally enhanced with a splash of almond extract. Apples are quieter in flavor, even when combining varieties, and especially when they are out of season and not brought straight home from the orchard. Lacking that flavor presence, the ratio of dough to apple can be disappointing.
So, I have tweaked this recipe to allow for the above mentioned variables, but suggest you wait to make these pies until you’ve stopped by a local orchard on a crisp crimson autumn day, gathered up bushels of fragrant, crisp, glowing apples, and arrived home to a cup of hot tea and a waiting kitchen.
And now for the recipe:
Apple Picnic Pies
2 boxes Pillsbury pie crusts (I will share my two favorite homemade pie crust recipes in another post, but the Pillsbury brand is actually the closest to real pie crust that I have found.)
12-17 fresh, flavorful apples, various (Granny Smith, Rome, Honey Crisp, etc)
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon each nutmeg, cloves, ginger
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract
1 egg and 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
Wash, peel and core the apples, then cut into chunks. In large pot, combine apples, butter, spices, sugar and extracts. Stir until apples are softened, but not mushy, and spices, etc. are evenly distributed. Add more butter (or cider, water or juice) if necessary, as apples cook.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350*
Remove crusts from packaging. Roll out each crust until eight 2 1/2″ to 3″ circles can be cut from each crust, for a total of 24 discs.
Place 12 dough-discs on parchment lined baking pans. Spoon generous 1/3 cup apple mixture into the center of each disc. Bear in mind that this amount will vary depending upon the amount of liquid and the size of the apple chunks.
Cover each mound of apple mixture with the top dough-disc. Press and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Using the tines of the fork again, poke holes in the top crust to allow steam to vent from each pie.
Brush the tops of each pie with egg wash.
Bake in a 350* oven for 25+ minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool on racks.
If desired, cover with a glaze made from powdered sugar and water.
Makes 12 three-inch Apple Picnic Pies