The holidays are upon us! Thanksgiving came and went so quickly, and as the weather outside becomes more frightful, my craving for delicious baked goods exponentially increases. It’s like in math class when something has a “positive correlation.” Cold, overcast Chicago weather is positively correlated with cravings for warm, gooey baked goods.
Being back at my parent’s house in a big, beautiful kitchen, I just had to bake something. The first thing was making my own pie crust. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making pie crust, because I’ve seen it a million times on The Food Network and knew that I had all the ingredients I needed. Here’s how easy it was, and some of the things I would do to adjust the original recipe.
Classic Pie Crust
(Original Recipe Credit to Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Pro Tip: Make this ahead! Make pie crust a day before so it has time to rest in the fridge!
- 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 3/4 cup (148g) vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup (120ml) ice water
Things I would’ve done differently: Added sugar to the dough
- Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.
- Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). A pastry cutter makes this step very easy and quick.
- Measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon (15ml) added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use about 1/2 cup (120ml) of water and a little more in dry winter months (up to 3/4 cup).
- Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
- Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).
- When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go.
- Form to your recipe of choice (mine was Apple Hand Pies)
Rustic Apple Hand Pies
Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 5 Apples (2 Granny Smith, 2 red variety)- peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/3 Cup white sugar
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 1/2 TSP cinnamon (plus a few dashes of nutmeg & ginger- season to taste)
- 1/2 TSP salt
- 2 TBSP butter
- 1 egg white
- Melt butter in a medium size frying pan. Add apples, sugar, and spices.
- Saute until apples are tender, and start to become slightly caramelized (about 10-12 minutes).
- With a slotted spoon, drain the excess liquid from the apples, and let cool in a bowl, about 15-20 minutes.
- Roll out your classic pie crust, and try and work quickly so it doesn’t warm up too much. Cut circles about 6 inches in diameter (I traced around a bowl), or whatever size you would like!
- Put about a tablespoon and a half of filling into the center of each circle, and close them into a half moon shape over the filling. Seal your hand pie by first using your fingers to press the dough together, then using a fork to really seal it.
Things I would’ve done differently: stick hand pies in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking to let dough set .
- Brush the top of each hand pie with egg wash (egg white + a little water), and then cut decorative vents into the top each.
- Bake in oven for 20-30 mins, or until tops of hand pies are golden brown (baking time will be longer if dough was rolled out thicker). Enjoy warm or room temperature!
Optional: when they come out of the oven, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, or caramel sauce!