An incredible aroma will fill your home when you make these hand pies.
When it comes to the pleasures of the palate, you can’t beat wholesome, traditional treats. There’s nothing quite like the warm, festive atmosphere created by the enticing smell of freshly baked apple pies.
And this time apples won’t be the only fabulous fragrance in the air!
Marvellous memories of homemade apple pies and steaming hot strudel by the ski slopes will come flooding back when you tuck into these mouth-watering hand pies.
They might make your hands sticky, but you won’t be able to resist their sweet delights.
The soft apple and toasted pine nut filling comes wrapped in crisp, crumbly puff pastry.
I’ve given this recipe a unique twist by adding a tablespoon of “I Tesori del Bosco” herbal tea. Containing hibiscus, rose hips, apples, blueberries, elderberries, redcurrants, calendula, cornflower and mixed berries, the herbal tea blend has a distinctive, perfectly balanced flavour that runs the gamut from sweet to sour and adds a highly original touch to the hand pies.
As well as cinnamon, which is an old classic that’s often paired with apples, the recipe features cardamom seeds. With their rich, warm, sweet, fragrant and floral flavour, the latter nicely complement the filling. You can give your hand pies any shape you like, including rectangular, crescent or a traditional round form. Use a knife to decorate them with little cuts or grab some heart or star-shaped pastry cutters and get creative.
As you’ll see, they’re really quick and simple to make, especially if you use ready-made puff pastry. If it’s easier for you, you can make the pastry or the filling the day before, let it cool down and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
These apple hand pies are perfect for a tasty winter breakfast and they are also great for snacking or serving with a hot cup of herbal tea in the afternoon or after dinner. Just for a moment, they can make time feel like it’s standing still and restore your peace of mind!
Ingredients for approximately 15 hand pies
For the puff pastry:
250 g of white wheat flour (or a mix of white and wholemeal flour)
180 g of cold butter
70-90 ml of ice-cold water
1 tablespoon of sugar
½ a teaspoon of salt
For the filling:
2 Fuji, Reinette or Golden Delicious apples
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 heaped tablespoon of “I Tesori del Bosco” herbal tea
3 level tablespoons of cane sugar
½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
The juice of half a lemon
A pinch of salt
1 knob of butter
For sealing and glazing:
1 egg yolk
½ a tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of cane sugar
Making the puff pastry:
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and mix it in a bowl with the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time and mix it very quickly until you have a smooth, thick mixture. The amount of water required will depend on the type of flour you use (for example, more water is needed with wholemeal flour). Make the pastry into a ball, flatten it, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for around an hour.
Making the filling:
Peel and dice the apples, then soak them with a little lemon juice.
Toast the pine nuts in a non-stick frying pan and then set them aside.
Put a knob of butter in the frying pan and add the apples, the cane sugar, the cinnamon, the seeds from the cardamom pods (crush the pods to release them) and the herbal tea blend. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the apples are thoroughly stewed. Let the mixture cool a little, then add the toasted pine nuts.
Making the hand pies:
Beat the egg yolk and water to make a sealing and glazing mixture.
Roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin until it is approximately 2 mm thick.
Use a pastry cutter with a diameter of 8-10 cm to make puff pastry discs and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Put a tablespoon of apple filling onto each disc. Leave a centimetre free around the edges and brush a little of the egg yolk and water mixture onto them so that you can seal the hand pies shut.
Top each one with another pastry disc or fold the discs in two to make crescent shapes.
Brush the hand pies with the egg yolk and water mix and dust them with a little cane sugar.
Use a sharp knife to make incisions on the top of each hand pie and let any excess moisture out. Put the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Bake in a conventional oven at 180°C for approximately 20 minutes, until the hand pies are a golden colour. Leave them to settle for 5 minutes, then put them on a cooling rack.
(By Elisa Di Rienzo | ilfiordicappero.com)