Happy Pi Day!
Math has never been my favorite subject. For those who also profane of math, π is the symbol for pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It’s also a non-repeating, non-terminating number. Some have calculated pi to a million decimal places, while for our purposes, it’s sufficiently rounded to 3.14, and that’s why today is pi(e) day.
In hindsight, seeing as how we’re talking about circles, I probably should have made a round pie. The idea of hand pies was so pervasive that I made those instead. It starts with a simple buttery sweet crust, folded over a caramel apple filling. Then you sprinkle them with sugar and bake them into a delicious pie that you don’t need to dirty a fork and plate for.
Caramel Apple Hand Pies
for the crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and diced
4 Tbs. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
for the filling:
2 large apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 Tbs. butter
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 Tbs. cinnamon
To make the crust, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Cut in the diced butter using a pastry blender or two forks, until clumps the size of large peas form.
Whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms.
Knead the dough into a smooth ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Meanwhile, make the caramel apple filling by putting the sugar in a 2 to 3 quart heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.
As the sugar starts to melt, stir with a whisk or wooden spoon. Stop stirring as soon as the sugar comes to a boil.
As soon as the sugar reaches a dark amber color, whisk in the butter. Take the pan off of the heat as soon as the butter has melted.
Slowly add the cream to the pan and whisk to combine (the mixture will foam up, so be sure to use a large pan).
Continue to whisk until smooth. Allow to cool, and then stir in the apples.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut 4 to 5 inch circles from the dough and place circles on a greased baking sheet.
Top each circle with 1-2 tablespoons of the caramel apple filling. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Make an egg wash by beating one egg with 1 Tbs. water in a small bowl. Brush the edge of half of each circle with the egg wash.
Fold the circle in half and press the edges together to seal. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges of each pie.
Brush each pie with egg wash and then sprinkle with sugar.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees, and chill the pies while waiting for the oven to heat.
Bake the pies for 16-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing with a spatula and placing on a cooling rack.
Makes 6 pies.