Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photo by Kelly Hong © 11-24-2014 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Salted caramel and Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples are tucked into hand held baked flaky pie crusts, making them a perfect treat for snacks or dessert. I like to bake a batch and then freeze them, reheating only when I get a craving for a tasty snack. Filling these with peeled and diced pears and raisins, instead of apples, would also be drool-worthy. For a lower calorie recipe baked with Truvia, a sugar substitute, go to Salted Caramel Apple Hand Held Pies.
PIE RECIPE HELP
A good dense baking apple holds its shape when cooked in a pie, tart, or cake, such as a Granny Smith, which is vibrantly tart. For Honeycrisp, its firm texture also gives it integrity in a pie, and is both sweet and acidic in flavor and taste.
1 recipe Kelly's Perfect Food Processor Pie Dough; double crust, well-chilled
Salted caramel sauce: makes 1 cup / recipe alone
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
Apple pie filling:
3 cups cored, peeled and diced Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, from above
1 large egg, beaten
sugar, for sprinkling
4-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter
NOTES: How to Dice Apples
STEP I: MAKE THE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
1. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed and high sided saucepan, place the sugar and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
2. As you heat the sugar, it will form clumps and then turn into a thick amber-colored liquid; keep stirring as you cook it.
3. When the sugar melts, stir in the butter in tablespoon-size pieces. Take care because the sugar mixture has a tendency to bubble-up rapidly when the butter is added.
4. After the butter melts, drizzle in the heavy cream. Take care because the mixture will bubble and/or splatter.
5. Boil for 1 minute. The mixture will rise in the pan as it does.
6. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and salt, and pour into a heatproof Pyrex measuring cup with a pouring spout. Set aside to cool before using.
Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel for a few seconds in the microwave, and stir before using in a recipe.
STEP II: MAKE THE APPLE PIE FILING. ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE HAND-HELD APPLE PIES.
1. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat, nonstick mats. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, make the apple pie filling: add the diced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Toss to coat.
3. Drizzle in the 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, and combine.
4. Roll out half of the pie dough, on a lightly floured surface, into a 12-inch round, to a little less than 1/4-inch thick; keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
With a 4-inch cutter, cut dough into 10 circles. Stack and reroll scraps. Place 5 circles on the prepared baking pans, spacing them out; leave 5 circles on the worksurface.
5. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the apple pie filling into the centers of each pie dough circle.
Then lightly brush water around the perimeter of the dough and place another circle on top.
6. Press the dough edges together lightly with your fingertips to adhere. Use a fork to crimp the edges together.
7. Repeat with the remaining dough and apple mixture.
8. Finishing touches: Right before baking, brush all pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Cut three or four small steam vents in the top crust.
SARAH SAYS: If you can only fit one pan in the oven at a time, refrigerate the unbaked apple pies. Right before baking, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire cake rack.
Remove the pies to a serving plate and drizzle with remaining re-warmed Salted Caramel Sauce and serve.
Baked pie stores at room temperature for 3 - 4 days.
Unbaked pie can be frozen for a month or more. No need to thaw before baking.