Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apple Blackberry and Thyme Hand Pies-Hello Stranger

I know, I know, I have so neglected this blog.  And to my friends-I am so sorry.  You know a lot has happened since last year.  We sold our house in Seattle; (remember in 2012 we bought Ruby the Roadtrek); we bought a condo in Florida; we camped our way from Seattle to Cape San Blas; remodeled the condo;  I fell off a ladder-ended up in intensive care for a few days; as a result of the fall discovered I needed a pacemaker; had to have the pacemaker surgery redone since the leads incorrectly wrapped around the device ;rented the condo out for the summer while we traveled to the Keys and finally have returned to settle in for a few months of Florida Winter on the coast.

Whew,definitely has not been a boring 2 years.  But I do feel badly that I have skipped out on this blog while I devoted all my attention to the previous mentioned events and to my Roadtrekgirl blog.  Well-I'mmmmmmmmm baaaaaaaaaaaack !   Even though I'm over 2500 miles from Seattle, I will always be Seattlepastrygirl! So I'm keeping the name while I bake and cook in hot and humid Florida.

With Fall upon us I've been missing that crispness in the air that we enjoyed on the West Coast.  Here in Florida we get a little chill in the evening but it's been in the 80's during the day.  But today it's raining and I thought I would warm up the house and bring back those Fall memories with some apple pie.  But no ordinary pie-I love making the little hand pies so that's what I decided upon.  Apple because I miss the apple trees that were in front of our house in West Seattle.  Every Fall I would gather the apples and make oven baked apple butter-the house smelled incredible and the apple butter was the best I've ever tasted

I felt experimental so I thougth I would add blackberries to the mix along with some seasonings and jam .  The following recipe is my own for the filling and a million zillion thanks to Smitten Kitchen and her wonderful All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough !  Hope you try the recipe, if you do let me know what you think of the flavors.

Apple Blackberry Thyme Hand Pies

1 recipe of Smitten Kitchen's pie crust
All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough-love her recipe for these -make sure you check out her blog it's incredible.

Makes enough dough for 16 3inch hand pies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon  sugar
1 teaspoon  table salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, ) unsalted butter, very cold

Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.

Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.

Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.

Pack it up: Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.

Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

4 medium Gala Apples-diced (not my preferred apple-use what you like)
4ounces fresh blackberries-chopped -I had large berries so I just quartered them
4 ounces blackberry jam ( I substituted Cassis Blackcurrant jam)
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3 Tablespoons fresh finely chopped Thyme
Pinch of ground ginger

Ingredients for Assembly:
1 Tablespoon water
1 large egg
1 egg white beaten lightly
Coarse sparkling sugar  for finishing (about 1/2 cup)

Filling prep:
Peel,core and dice apples. Add quartered blackberries to diced apples along with jam. (stir your jam to soften it out of the jar before mixing in with the apples and blackberries).  Whisk sugars,cornstarch,sea salt,Thyme and spices in separate bowl.  When evenly whisked together sprinkle over your fruit mix -add lemon zest and mix everything together into spices are incorporated with the fruit. Set aside.

Beat 1 large egg  with 1 Tablespoon water for "gluing your pie dough circles together"
1 beaten egg white for brushing on your hand pies before sprinkling on the coarse sugar
Remove one of the dough rounds from the refrigerator.Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. With a 3 inch  pastry cutter circle cut out as many circles as you can from the rolled dough-but cut an even number because 1/2 will be the base and 1/2 will be the cover.
Divide the filling among eight of the circles, using about a heaping tablespoon for each (it helps if you use a slotted spoon for those so some of the liquid can be drained before placing the filling on the circle). Brush some of the beaten egg along the edges of each filled circle.
Cut a vent into the each of the remaining eight circles, using a decorative cutter of your choice.(I did half with a star cutter and with the other half I just used a paring knife and put a few slits in the top of each hand pie-I liked the slits better)
Top each filled circle with either a vented circle,or a solid circle and use the paring knife to add a few vent slits.  Then press along the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
Brush the top of each pie with the lightly beaten egg white, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Transfer the pies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the pies in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Repeat the process for the 2nd dough round. (It was quite the challenge to keep my dough from softening-I kept putting it back in the refrigerator-then I would pull it out-roll a little-then back in the refrigerator-fun!)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Bake pies at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake for an addition 15-20 minutes,until crust is deep golden brown. (this time may fluctuate depending on your oven). Rotate the pans about every 10 minutes. I baked mine on the center rack.
Remove from oven and carefully transfer pies to wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes (if you can ! ) before eating.

Bon Appetit !

PS.  These taste so much better the 2nd day- the Thyme really has a chance to develop a great flavor with the rest of the spices-see if you can hold off not eating them all the 1st day !