Moving overseas has been a challenge in the food department. Our pantry is full, but we seldom make dinner at home (If you could get a great dinner for $1.50 at a restaurant in walking distance from your house, you wouldn't cook either). Baking, though, has been a challenge, but not because of time or money. The oven we have is similar to a toaster oven. We make eggs in a microwave because getting our stove to work is an ordeal. I can't really find whole wheat flour and the real good baking stuff I used at home in the grocery store here. So it's been fun. There's no question about it, though, I have been baking.
I actually had the chance to bake some the first week I arrived here, and I got a message from my mom not long after that said, "Oh! You're baking! That says a lot about the state of you."
These hand pies are loosely based (or tightly based, based on what I could scrounge up in Thailand) on the Oh, Ladycakes recipe for the dessert of the same name. I am allergic to raw apples, so I enlisted the help of my hypo-allergenic roommate to chop up these babes for me. We were so excited to find Granny Smith here in the Land of Smiles. What we couldn't get in whole wheat we made up for in tart fruit.
Here's the ingredients list as I was able to forage:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 12 to 14 tablespoons water, ice cold
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce (I used Monin caramel-flavored sauce)
- Almond milk
Preheat oven 350º degrees.
Makes about 20 pies, but really, it depends on how you make the dough stretch.
Crust In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. I used a fork, but a whisk is probably best. Drizzle in the coconut oil, one spoonful at a time, and use your hands to mix it into the dry mixture. Once you've added all the oil, continue mixing for another minute or so until it looks sandy like above. Freeze for 15 minutes, then break up all the frozen chunks of coconut oil with your fingers and add the water, a third at a time. Continue gently kneading without overworking the dough. Form into a disk and wrap in parchment paper. Let sit for about 45 minutes.
Filling Combine sugar, starch and cinnamon in a bowl. In another mixing bowl, toss the apples and lemon juice, then add the dry mixture you just made until the apples are covered. Add the caramel sauce. Chill them in the fridge for about half an hour, you may want to freeze them if you are using a caramel that is on the thinner side. Let's not try to make a mess.
Crust When it's time, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lay out some parchment paper and sprinkle that junk with a ton of flour. Unwrap the dough and roll it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick. I used a mug because I haven't found a rolling pin here and I could also use it as a makeshift cookie cutter. Cut the dough (3" cutter will do) and transfer the pieces to a baking sheet lined with more parchment paper. Collect scraps and roll out the dough again to make more circles. Get the caramel apple mixture from the refrigerator and place a bit on one half of each round, folding each in half and pressing around the edges (use a fork, it's way easier to seal the pies this way). Use a toothpick or some other sharp tool of your choosing and poke holes in the top of each pie. Do this or they will explode, and that will not be good for you.
Topping Brush (I just dabbed it, honestly, because it's impossible to find a cooking brush here) with milk then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes, check them and then give them a minute or two more if you think they need it (they won't be brown, but you can tap the crust to see if it's firm and dry). Repeat with the rest of the dough that you have. These can stay good for about week.
I made these for Thanksgiving at the office, and let me tell you: I am so glad I ate one of them when I baked 'em, 'cause they were gone in a hot minute.