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I went apple picking this weekend. I grew up about 10 miles from an orchard and went there frequently to get apples, go strawberry picking, pet the animals, acquire cider doughnuts…oh the cider doughnuts…but I never actually went apple picking. So when my neighbor asked if I wanted to go with her family to North Georgia on their annual apple picking trip, I jumped at the opportunity.

So this Sunday I hopped the fence between our houses, coffee in hand, and climbed in the back of the enormous Honda with the kids. We listened to kids music and played games and generally had a fun time on the way up to Blue Ridge, GA where we arrived at Mercier Orchards. In addition to the actual orchards, Mercier has a rather large store that includes fruit, all kinds of ciders, jams and other canned goods, a bakery, home goods, popcorn, toys and more. It’s pretty fun and the munchkins were super excited.

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But the best part really is taking the trailer ride up to the apple trees and picking the apples. There’s nothing quite like plucking an apple from the branch and taking a giant bite. It was also neat getting to try the different varieties of apple. They had the old standbys like macintosh and gala, but then they also had these great september wonders and jonagold. So delicious and each variety so unique. I’m really tempted to go back in a month or so to try the apples in season at that point. Totally worth the trek. As an added bonus, from where we were standing in Georgia, we could see both Tennessee and North Carolina and I think that’s kind of cool.

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Well, I’m sure you can guess how this is all related to today’s recipe, but just in case…I had a bunch of freshly picked apples in my kitchen and what better use than little apple pies?

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Filling:

3 lbs Apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1/2 C Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Cornstarch

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Pastry:

3 C Flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 C Butter (two sticks), cut into small cubes and very cold
1/4 C Plain Greek Yogurt
3 Tbsp Citron Vodka, ice cold
3 Tbsp Ice Water
1 Egg (not pictured)

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Combine the flour, salt, lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Add the butter and work the butter in with your fingers until the texture resembles course sand. You can also pulse it all in a food processor until you reach the same result.

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Add the yogurt and vodka and mix. Add the ice water, a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together. You might need a little more or a little less than the 3 Tbsp. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour.

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While the dough is chilling, combine the apples in a pan with the cinnamon, ginger, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for a few minutes. Then cover the apples and let them cook until soft, but not mushy, and they’ve released their juices – about 20 minutes.

Remove 1 to 2 Tbsp of the released juice to a bowl and whisk in 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the apples and cook just until the juice thickens. Then remove the filling from the heat and let it cool.

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Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 400ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough until it is about 1/3 inch thick and cut out 3 – 4 inch disks.  If you have a 6 inch cutter, you can just roll the dough thinner.

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Roll out the disks until they are about 6 inch circles. Place 1 to 2 Tbsp of the filling on one side of each circle.

Beat an egg with 1 tbsp of water and brush the bottom edge of the dough with the egg.

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Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together with your fingers. Chill pies for 15 minute before brushing the outside of the pies with the egg and sprinkling sugar over them.

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Bake the first tray of pies for approximately 30 minutes – until the pastry is browned and firm. Then remove the pies to a wire rack for cooling. Repeat with the remaining pies.

Once the pies have cooled enough to avoid burning fingers and tongues, dig on in! Oh, and if you have leftover filling, it’s pretty fabulous on ice cream…

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Apple Pocket Pies
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • Filling:
  • 3 lbs Apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • ½ C Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ginger
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • Pastry:
  • 3 C Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 C Butter (two sticks), cut into small cubes and very cold
  • ¼ C Plain Greek Yogurt, fat free
  • 3 Tbsp Citron Vodka, ice cold
  • 3 Tbsp Ice Water
  • 1 Egg
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, salt, lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Add the butter and work the butter in with your fingers until the texture resembles course sand. You can also pulse it all in a food processor until you reach the same result.
  2. Add the yogurt and vodka and mix. Add the ice water, a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together. You might need a little more or a little less than the 3 Tbsp. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour.
  3. While the dough is chilling, combine the apples in a pan with the cinnamon, ginger, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for a few minutes. Then cover the apples and let them cook until soft, but not mushy, and they've released their juices - about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove 1 to 2 Tbsp of the released juice to a bowl and whisk in 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the apples and cook just until the juice thickens. Then remove the filling from the heat and let it cool.
  5. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 400ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll out the dough until it is about ⅓ inch thick and cut out 3 - 4 inch disks. If you have a 6 inch cutter, you can just roll the dough thinner.
  7. Roll out the disks until they are about 6 inch circles. Place 1 to 2 Tbsp of the filling on one side of each circle.
  8. Beat an egg with 1 tbsp of water and brush the bottom edge of the dough with the egg.
  9. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges together with your fingers. Chill pies for 15 minute before brushing the outside of the pies with the egg and sprinkling sugar over them.
  10. Bake the first tray of pies for approximately 30 minutes - until the pastry is browned and firm. Then remove the pies to a wire rack for cooling. Repeat with the remaining pies.
  11. Once the pies have cooled enough to avoid burning fingers and tongues, dig on in! Oh, and if you have leftover filling, it's pretty fabulous on ice cream...

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