So I got it into my head that I wanted to make pies. Not regular, full-sized pies you eat by the slice, but the kind you eat out of hand. The seed was planted back in (on?) PEI, when a friend and I went on a 3 day road trip and stopped at the Handpie Company as soon as we pulled onto the island (I oddly love that they made handpie all one word) and ate two ridiculously delicious pies, stuffed half-moons you could eat straight from the paper bag, the buttery pastry loaded with meat and potatoes and other things. I know hand pies are not new, but somehow it was like a reawakening regarding the possibilities of pie.
Also, it’s apple time. I haven’t managed to make a pie yet. Somehow, these pockets seemed like less of a production.
So this afternoon I turned on the oven to make pies. (My new-ish oven takes forever to heat up.) I did some things, and did a bunch of editing, and made a porchetta, and made the pastry, and turned the oven off for a bit because it was getting hot and I hadn’t sautéed the apples yet. I like sautéing apples for pie, but it seemed a particularly good idea for these-cooking chunks of apple in a piece of butter caramelizes them, cooks them down so that they’re more concentrated, with less juice to release in the oven. You don’t need a shake of flour in the filling if you cook the apples down a bit first, adding some brown sugar and a shake of cinnamon at the end. And there’s nothing like cooking apples, butter and cinnamon to make your house smell delicious.
So I made and assembled the pies, and slid them into the oven. And about ten minutes later, something seemed amiss – I realized I had turned the oven off and not turned it back on. The pastry had completely melted in the oven, which had dropped down to under 200 degrees, and so I just left them in and turned the oven back on, and although their shape and edge is a bit saggier and less defined than they’d otherwise be, a couple opened up a bit and revealed their insides, they looked and tasted just fine and no one had any idea (or cared).
I imagined these made with sharp white cheddar in the pastry, or ground pecans, but I wanted to recreate the memory of that straight-up plain, buttery pastry with the apples the first time. When I ate one warm from the sheet, they brought me back somehow to those McDonalds apple pies, only infinitely better, and I wonder if it had something to do with a slightly more uniform, crunchy-edged texture from the butter in the pastry melting before it had a chance to set. Hm.
At any rate, they were delish. And it’s worth noting that just because you can eat them out of hand, doesn’t mean you can’t also eat them on a plate, with ice cream.