Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Hamantashen

It’s that time of year again! That time when kids set off fireworks non-stop, that time when every girl is a princess and every boy is a ninja, that time when something cool and awesome better make its way to me wrapped up in a bow. That’s right! It’s my birthday! Oh yeah, and Purim, that too. I guess that’s what everyone else is celebrating. Me? I have my priorities.

The cast of characters.
The cast of characters.

It’s the time of year when we can get most creative with our religious food – hamantashen for the masses y’all! In previous years I have made lemon meringue hamantashen which were a big hit. I have also made your run of the mill jam-filled hamantashen – Rocker Dude will not have Purim without them. And last year I tried a brownie-speculoos version – needed work so when I have it down I will post it here. But this year we are doing something a little different. We are combining two of my favorite foods – apple pie and hamantashen.

The process.
The process.

At first it may seem like an obvious pairing, delicious fillings in dough always are, and yet, it’s not too common. And just to dress it up, caramel shards on top.

Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Hamantashen
Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Hamantashen

I am always looking for something different to do with my hamantashen and while I know that tradition has its place, so does deliciousness. So let the baking begin! (Pesach is in a little over a month and here I am bulk buying flour for Purim – #ridiculoustiming – but there you have it. We have to have cinnamon rolls for mishloach manot!)

Nom nom nom nom.
Nom nom nom nom.

For the first time ever, we decided (read: I agreed) to dress up for Purim as a family, with themed costumes and everything. But not for us some Disney Princess with the rest of us as supporting characters, no, we do it properly. Superheroes all the way. The Little Rocker will be defending the city as Batgirl, with Squeaker as her loyal sidekick Robin from Rocker Dude and I as The Joker and Harley Quinn. It took a bit of planning but we got the costumes together and we are all set. I don’t know if we will do this every year, but it is fun to do once in a while. Also as Purim falls out on my birthday this year, we have to do something special. (Pictures to come soon!)

Recipe:

Cookie:
I used a double batch of this recipe from our sugar cookie adventures in December

Filling (based on this recipe from King Arthur):
3 cups peeled, cored, finely chopped apples – I prefer Gala, Pink Crispy or Pink Lady
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate

Caramel Shards (based on this recipe from Epicurious):
1 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Make your filling first. You can make it a few days in advance and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to make your cookies. Mix all of the ingredients and stir until the filling begins to bubble and thickens considerably. You want to make sure that the filling bubbles so that you don’t taste the flour afterwards. Continue cooking until the apples reach your desired tenderness. It’s nice to have a little crunch still in the apples for texture. Set aside and cool. You can refrigerate for up to four days.

Follow the directions to make the sugar cookie dough until the refrigeration stage. You can keep the dough for a week in the fridge and for two months in the freezer.

When you are ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and roll out the cookie dough to a 1/8 inch thickness. Using a drinking glass or a circle cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Place 1 tsp. of filling in the center of each one. Pinch each side together to make a triangle. (See here for instructions). Place cookies two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly browned. Let cool.

To make the caramel shards, lightly oil a 12-inch square of foil. In a heavy saucepan boil sugar, water and salt over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup without stirring, washing down sugar crystals on side of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, until pale golden. Continue cooking syrup without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Immediately pour caramel onto foil and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Break caramel into shards. Place a few small pieces into the center of the cooled hamantashen. Serve immediately or soon after. (Shards keep, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day.)

These are best served slightly warm – like real apple pie, but are also good at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 

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Fresh Apple Pie on a Diet

Who loves apple pie but always feels guilty for wanting more than two pieces? Definitely me.  Anyone else out there?  Well for all you people, here is the perfect recipe.  It’s also really quick so you have no excuses. And after you’ve eaten the cinnamon buns from the previous post, you may be ready for these.

Baked Apple Pie

The idea came from a picture that E. pinned me? pinterested me? what’s the verb for using Pinterest? She found it on Pinterest and sent it to me. You can check it out here.  We are talking apple pies with no bottom crust!  Just baked apple! What an ingenious idea.  You still get that pie crust flavor from the top crust and you don’t have to worry about a soggy bottom crust because it is an apple – if it is not soggy then you are in trouble.

We decided to use Granny Smith apples for the base and then fill them with apple pie filling made from Jonathan apples.  This was the perfect treat for movie night, put into the oven right before the movie started and ready 30 minutes later.

Conveniently I had a small amount of pie crust left over from a previous pie-making session (recipe here), and it was the perfect amount to cover these apples.

While waiting for E. and A. to make it over, I prepared my all-purpose pie filling (something else that needs to be posted) which is basically sliced apples, a tad of cinnamon and sugar and a bit of lemon juice.  You can also add other spices such as cardamom or nutmeg or allspice if you want.

When E. came over, I quickly cored the Granny Smith apples that she brought  and left a small border of apple under the skin.  Then I stuffed them with the apple pie filling.  I rolled out the dough and cut it into thin strips to make a lattice. Bear in mind that this whole process took about 8-10 minutes.  After latticing the top – into the oven they went! And 35 minutes later – fresh baked apple pie!  It’s like the best of both worlds – baked apple and apple pie. This is the perfect TV watching snack for the winter.

Apple Pies all in a Row (please ignore the cookies next to the pan, they are for another post on linzer cookies - stay tuned!)

Also, something I noted while eating the apple – Mission Impossible 3 has almost nothing to do with the other Mission Impossibles and the story line is so not Mission Impossible. Sorry to throw that in here, just something I noticed.

Enjoy!

Tuesdays with Dorie: All-American All-Delicious Apple Pie

I am so behind on my posting, and I apologize to everyone out there.  Things have been busy at work and even busier at home.  I have been involved in planning three different wedding-related celebrations, we went to one wedding and still have two more this week.  It’s a busy time, and I have been baking, I promise, I just haven’t had time to post it.  So let this post be the first drop in the bucket.

A little apple pie

This week’s recipe was the All-American Apple Pie.  It was chosen by Emily of Sandmuffin.  She chose it because she loves apple pie.  Of all the fruit combinations in the world, I LOOOOOOOVE apple pie!  I think that apples are my favorite fruit to bake with and I love baking with fruit.  I was looking forward to this recipe as soon as it was chosen, and I finally made it last week.

Margarine for the pie crust.

Rocker Dude had been nudging me for a while saying that I haven’t ever made a pie with a lattice crust and why haven’t I made one and is it because I can’t make one.  After reminding him that I have made pies with a lattice crust before (he still doesn’t believe me), I decided that just to prove him wrong, I would make this pie a lattice-topped pie.

Pie crust dough ready for refrigeration.

I made this pie a week and a half ago, on Friday, so because Little Rocker came home from daycare early and I needed to entertain her, I decided to make this a joint project and we had a ton of fun with it.

Ready to be rolled out

I made the dough while she was napping, so it was all ready to be rolled out when she woke up.  For her birthday, J. and M. had gotten her a mini kitchen set – but with real tools, not toys.  It has a mini whisk, a mini rolling pin, a measuring cup, a mini sifter and some little cookie cutters.  I gave the Little Rocker a 4 inch pie plate and we were in business.

Rolling out the dough

We rolled out the dough together, and made sure there was enough flour.

Flouring the dough

Then we placed the bottom crust in the pie plate and put it in the refrigerator while we got the filling ready.

Pressing the dough into the pie plate.

I did not have tapioca, and I had no idea where to get some, so I just added some cornstarch to the mix.  This is the first time that I have used lemon zest in an apple pie, but I can promise that it won’t be the last (even though Rocker Dude complained that he could taste lemon and it made the pie too tart).

Apple filling

We filled the crusts with the filling, and then I rolled out the top crust.  I cut it into lines, and the Little Rocker helped me put the “stips” on the pie.  We crimped the edges and then went to work on her little pie.

Elephant Cookies

We rolled out a top crust and carefully pressed it over the apples.  Because there was some extra dough, and the Little Rocker has developed a total obsession with elephants (or ephelants), I used one of her new cookie cutters, which conveniently was an elephant, and we made little elephant cookies.  Some we put as decoration on top of the crust and the others we baked plain.

Pies ready to be baked!

The pie came out looking beautifully.  I got to prove to Rocker Dude that I could make a lattice-topped pie and the Little Rocker got to make her own little apple pie.  Okay, I will admit, she didn’t really eat the pie, she just gobbled down all the elephant cookies while doing her elephant impression – it was really cute!

The Little Rocker is a little possessive of her apple pie.

This pie tasted delicious.  The apple filling wasn’t gooey and it didn’t make the pie crust soggy at all.  Unlike commercial apple fillings, you really taste the apple and it makes eating the pie so much more enjoyable.

All-American All-Delicious Apple Pie

For the recipe go to Emily’s blog here, and see what other TWD bakers did here.