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It’s finally starting to feel like fall! In Georgia, that means that there might be a colorful leaf here and there and the temperature ranges from a high in the mid-80′s to a low in the mid-60′s, with sunshine and cool breezes. It’s pretty much perfect.

This past Saturday was one of those unbelievable days. The sun was shining, it was warm, but not hot with that playful breeze that hasn’t quite reached crisp yet…it was amazing. I took the opportunity to bask in the amazing morning air and light as I walked to my salon to get my haircut. Now, this was good for me, because I have a pretty serious love/hate relationship with salons. One on side, I walk out feeling baller and my hair will not look that good again until my next haircut six months down the road. On the flip side, I have to endure the torture chair in order to achieve that pantene moment.

And don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean by the salon torture chair. I mean, the visit starts out alright. Usually I’m offered some kind of fruit flavored water, coffee or tea to sip on while I wait for my stylist. Then I sit in the soon-to-be-torture chair and discuss the look we’re going for before I go into the back to have someone wash my hair. This is pretty much as good as it gets, especially if you get someone who sneaks in a scalp massage. That pretty much has me writhing in ecstasy, but live it up while you can, because it’s all downhill from there.

After the heavenly scalp massage, I shuffle over to the torture chair and slowly sink in, trying not to look at the enormous mirror spanning the wall in front of me. The stylist drapes the voluminous black bib/cape thingie over me and secures it tightly against my neck. So I face the mirror while sitting in the damn chair, directly under unflattering overhead lighting, wet hair slicked back and bib snug against my neck. Nothing is more conducive to an exhaustive effort at cataloging one’s own faults, physical or otherwise, than staring at yourself from that chair. Thus, an ordinary chair becomes the beauty salon chair of torture.

The good news is that I love my haircut.

“Wait a minute,” you may be asking at this point, “what has all this to do with this sausage apple pie?!” Nothing. Nada. Just the fact that I was enjoying lovely fall weather and the sausage apple pie is a lovely autumn recipe.

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Filling:

1 1/4 lb Mild Italian Sausage3 Apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 C Onion, chopped
1 tsp Sage, dried or 2 tsp fresh
1 oz Cider Vinegar
1/4 C Hard Apple Cider (not pictured)
2 Eggs
Salt & Pepper

Pastry:*

3 C Flour, All Purpose
1 tsp Salt
3/4 C Butter, very cold & cut into small pieces
1/4 C Plain Yogurt
3 Tbsp Vodka, very cold
3 – 6 tbsp Ice Water

*I got really tired of taking pictures of the ingredients for pie pastry, so I didn’t. Sorry folks.

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Whisk together the flour and salt and then cut or rub in the butter until you end up with almost a sandy texture. Stir in the yogurt and vodka and then slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Break the dough into 5 separate pieces, one a little bigger than the rest, and then wrap each piece in plastic and put them in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.

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While the dough is cooking, remove the sausage from their casings and cook them on the stovetop until cooked through and browning. Remove the sausage from the pan, but keep some grease in there for sauteing the onions.

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Saute the onions in the sausage fat until they soften, then add the chopped apples, sage, cider vinegar, a sprinkling of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened. It may help to cover the pan for a while.

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Stir the apples into the sausage. Deglaze the pan with the 1/4 C of hard cider. Reduce the cider and pan juices until thickened and then pour them in the bowl with the sausage and apples. Taste the mixture and adjust for any more salt, pepper or sage you might like.

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Preheat the oven to 350ºF and butter 4 mini springform pans (about 4 1/2″ pans).

Roll out each of the 4 smaller pieces of dough into circles large enough to line the pans. Ease the dough into the pans, pleating the sides as necessary to get the dough to properly fit. If there is a lot of overhang, trim off those pieces, kneed then back into a ball and chill. Be sure to save all the scraps here, because it takes every bit of dough to get the pies covered.

Chill the dough in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes.

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Fill the pans with the sausage and apples.

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Roll out the remaining dough, roll it out and cut into strips to cover the pie. I like doing a lattice top pie. After poking around the web, I found some great instructions for assembling a lattice top pie here.

Lightly beat the remaining egg with 1 tbsp water and brush the edges of the dough to “glue” the top and the base together. Once you’ve woven the lattice top, either fold the bottom edge up over the lattice and press together, or fold the lattice down over the edges of the base and pres together. You may prefer one aesthetic to the other, or your decision may be dictated by the amount of dough overhang you have.

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Chill the pies for another few minutes before brushing the pies with the egg. If you are concerned about  the pie edges cooking too fast, you can cover the edges with foil. Then bake until the pastry has nicely browned. For me, this was about 40 minutes.  If, towards the end of that time, everything seems cooked but you are not getting much color on the pastry, crank the temperature up to 400 for a few minutes just to throw some color on there.

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Remove the pies to a wire rack and let cook in the pans for about 10 minutes before gently releasing the springform and then letting the pies further cool “naked” until hands and mouths won’t get burned. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to eat. That first night, I just removed the entire rack to the fridge to let the pies chill and worried about wrapping them up the next morning. Wrapping them up too soon results in soggy pastry, which makes me sad.

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Sausage and Apple Pies
 
Recipe By:

Ingredients
  • Filling:
  • 1¼ lb Mild Italian Sausage3 Apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 C Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Sage, dried or 2 tsp fresh
  • 1 oz Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ C Hard Apple Cider (not pictured)
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pastry:
  • 3 C Flour, All Purpose
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ¾ C Butter, very cold & cut into small pieces
  • ¼ C Plain Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Vodka, very cold
  • 3 – 6 tbsp Ice Water

Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour and salt and then cut or rub in the butter until you end up with almost a sandy texture. Stir in the yogurt and vodka and then slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Break the dough into 5 separate pieces, one a little bigger than the rest, and then wrap each piece in plastic and put them in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the dough is cooking, remove the sausage from their casings and cook them on the stovetop until cooked through and browning. Remove the sausage from the pan, but keep some grease in there for sauteing the onions.
  3. Saute the onions in the sausage fat until they soften, then add the chopped apples, sage, cider vinegar, a sprinkling of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened. It may help to cover the pan for a while.
  4. Stir the apples into the sausage. Deglaze the pan with the ¼ C of hard cider. Reduce the cider and pan juices until thickened and then pour them in the bowl with the sausage and apples. Taste the mixture and adjust for any more salt, pepper or sage you might like.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and butter 4 mini springform pans (about 4½” pans).
  6. Roll out each of the 4 smaller pieces of dough into circles large enough to line the pans. Ease the dough into the pans, pleating the sides as necessary to get the dough to properly fit. If there is a lot of overhang, trim off those pieces, kneed then back into a ball and chill. Be sure to save all the scraps here, because it takes every bit of dough to get the pies covered.
  7. Chill the dough in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Fill the pans with the sausage and apples.
  9. Roll out the remaining dough, roll it out and cut into strips to cover the pie.
  10. Lightly beat the remaining egg with 1 tbsp water and brush the edges of the dough to “glue” the top and the base together.
  11. Weave a lattice pie top and then either fold the bottom edge up over the lattice and press together, or fold the lattice down over the edges of the base and pres together. You may prefer one aesthetic to the other, or your decision may be dictated by the amount of dough overhang you have.
  12. Chill the pies for another few minutes before brushing the pies with the egg. If you are concerned about the pie edges cooking too fast, you can cover the edges with foil. Then bake until the pastry has nicely browned. For me, this was about 40 minutes. If, towards the end of that time, everything seems cooked but you are not getting much color on the pastry, crank the temperature up to 400 for a few minutes just to throw some color on there.
  13. Remove the pies to a wire rack and let cook in the pans for about 10 minutes before gently releasing the springform and then letting the pies further cool “naked” until hands and mouths won’t get burned. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to eat. That first night, I just removed the entire rack to the fridge to let the pies chill and worried about wrapping them up the next morning. Wrapping them up too soon results in soggy pastry.

 

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