{High-Altitude} Jack-O-Lantern Apple Hand Pies

Yields 12 (with some dough left over)     adjust servings

 

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 2 3/4 cups (12.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ice water or as needed

For the Apple Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups peeled and diced apples (Braeburn or Honey Crisp)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden dried ginger (this isn't the spice ground ginger)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • Pinch of salt

To Finish

  • 1 tablespoon half and half milk
  • Turbinado sugar

Instructions

For the Pastry:

Make the pastry first, and make the filling while the dough chills. Or just purchase your own favorite frozen pastry. It's not that difficult to make your own, though, so I encourage you to give it a try. There's nothing better than homemade pastry crust. The portions are calculated for high altitude baking. If you're making this at sea level, see the notes below for the changes you'll need to make. 

I use a food processor, but I caution you to never do anything but pulse. You don't want the butter to be completely mixed in. It's the butter pieces that gives you a flakey crust that you just can't buy. 

First pulse the flour and salt - and yes please weigh the flour! Then add the butter all at once. Pulse around 10 times, remove the lid, and check the size of the butter pieces by dipping a fork into the flour. they should be around size of a pea. Whisk together the sour cream and apple cider vinegar, and add all at once. Pulse a few times, and check the dough before adding the ice water. Pinch some of the flour mixture between your fingers. If it's ready, it should form a piece of dough without falling apart. If it crumbles start adding a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Go here for a step-by step, including rolling the dough out, with pictures. 

When ready, gather it into 2 balls, flatten to discs using only your fingers, and wrap in wax paper. Chill for 30 minutes. While the dough chills, make the Apple Filling (below).

Preheat the oven to 375˚F, and line a baking sheep with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough between wax paper. Leave one disc of dough in the refrigerator while you work with the other one. Rolling dough between two sheets of wax paper makes rolling dough SO much easier and faster. Go to the link above for photos. Cut into pumpkin shapes using a cookie cutter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Apple Filling into the center of half of the pumpkins. Drape the remaining pumpkins over the tops, seal the sides, and crimp with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes. 

Baste the hand pies with half and half milk, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Use a sharp knife, cut out faces for your jack-o-lanterns. 

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until lightly browned.

For the Apple Filling:

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan, and add the remaining Apple Filling ingredients. Gently simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

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Recipe Notes

Making these jack-o-lanterns at sea level? Here are some changes to the ingredients you'll need - otherwise the dough will be too wet to work with. I bake at 7000 feet, and it makes a difference. For every 1000 feet lower in altitude, add 1 tablespoon of flour. At sea level to 2500 feet (roughly), use 3 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. No other changes to the ingredients need to be made. At sea level, your baking time will be closer to 30 minutes, but I recommend you check them at 20 minutes.

Be sure NOT to substitute the Gourmet Garden dried ginger 1:1 with ground ginger spice. They are not the same thing. If you don't have it, either omit it, or add grated fresh ginger. 

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