October 2, 2012 by Tamika
When summer eases herself into our lives with luscious fresh strawberries and peaches we can hear a communal sigh go up across the western hemisphere, one that sounds much like the word ‘Pie’. Deep breath of fresh air in… exhale… P..i..e. From Europe to Alaska, we’re all about PIE. Peach Pie, Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Pie, Cherry Pie, plums, nectarines, figs..
It may seem that I’m a little late to this pie party, but oh, I am not. It’s now FALL here. Glorious, colourful, cool crisp Fall. Fall brings Apples and Pears and Pumpkins. We move into a new territory of flavours, ones that need slow cooking to show off their hidden depths.
To help fall along in entering our home and hearts I made Caramel Apple Pastry Pies. I’ve been making pastry pies and selling them at farmers markets all summer, strawberry, blueberry, peach and mixed jam filled (I have oh so much jam from Belle Jar Preserves business). Last week I had apple solids leftover from making apple jelly, which means I had a bowl of kind of dry chunky apple sauce. Inspired, I caramelized some sugar, added the apple solids (and a little water), cooked it all down for about 2 hours. I think that’s my new apple butter recipe.. it’s was dark and divine. You could also chop up apples, toss with a bit of sugar and use like traditional apple pie filling.
Here is a simple recipe for my caramel apple pastry pie filling: (I recommend doubling this, just because..)
6 Apples, a mix of varieties, cored and chopped into small chunks (I don’t peel, but you may). Place the apples in a pot with 1 cup of water, bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, until the apples break down some and water has boiled off. Pour the chunky apple sauce into a bowl, in the same pot add 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water, bring to a boil stirring all the while, so sugars don’t stick to the sides of pan. Once the sugar starts turning golden, caramelizing, remove from heat, let cool a minute then add apple sauce, stirring. Return pot to a low flame and cook, stirring from time to time, until dark and thickened. You can add spices if you wish, I like the caramel flavour to shine through, I added a tsp. of salt to enhance it. Store in fridge if not using today.
Caramel Apple filling OR fresh fruit and a sprinkle of sugar OR any variety of jam
1 egg white, whisked with a tsp. of water
extra sugar for topping
1 cup rice flour
parchment paper, a great GF tool (even over marble, as in the photo above)
Pre-heat oven to 400*
2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mat (such as silpat)
(*NOTE: silicone mats are difficult to work on directly with gf dough, it sticks constantly)
Halve the COLD pastry dough, placing half on a fresh sheet of parchment paper on your work counter, the other half kept wrapped in the fridge. Let the dough soften a bit, since gf pastry has a habit of crumbling, knead it about 30 seconds into a solid disc. Using a little rice flour, flour your rolling pin, your hands, the top surface of the dough disc, flip it over and flour the other side, making sure the parchment is well covered. Begin rolling the dough into a 10×14 ish rectangle, turn it from time to time to keep it from sticking, rolling the dough into 1/4 inch thickness. It may break in spots, use your fingers to push the tears closed. At this point take the other half of dough out of fridge to soften.
With a sharp knife divide the rectangle into 4 even strips, 10×3.5 each, mindful of the parchment paper. Place a good size dollop of apple filling in the center of one end (a 5 inch section), carefully fold the dough over and crimp the edges together with your fingers. Do the remaining strips. Once the pies have been crimped, use a ravioli cutter, if you have, to trim all 4 edges (or use a sharp knife). Gather extra dough into a disc and refrigerate. Place the pies on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate while you repeat the process with the remaining dough that has softened. (and then again with all remaining scraps of dough).
Once finished with all the pies brush the tops with the beaten egg white, sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 30-45 minutes (ovens are so subjective!), until browned on the edges, golden on the tops and crispy looking.
These below are jam filled and crimped with just fingers. Experiment! These can be folded and cut into half- moon shapes or made round with a biscuit cutter. Enjoy!