Sadly, my simple, not too sweet, hand pies did not win in the Apple Pie Bake-off. The blue ribbon went to a deep dish, brown sugar crumb topped extravaganza.

Nope, you wouldn’t see these hand pies on a Thanksgiving Day table – but they are great for an ordinary day.  Then again, if you’ve got pies, maybe the day’s not so ordinary.

pie crust
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose wheat flour
    1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces and frozen
    1 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp cold water
    6 Tbsp Vermouth (can substitute Vodka, or even Beer)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
    1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
    5 cups diced baking apples, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Ida Red
    2 tablespoons quick Tapioca

For the crust, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse. Add frozen butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Combine Vermouth and water and add slowly, pulsing just until combined. Finish dough by hand, gently patting clumps of dough into a ball. Shape dough into a log, approximately 9 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the filling, combine chopped apples and 1/2 cup sugar, set aside 30 minutes. The fruit will release liquid. Strain fruit, pour the rendered liquid(1/2 cup) into a pan that is large enough to hold all the apples.
Add to the sauce pan 2 tablespoons of Tapioca and remaining sugar (1/4 cup) heat slowly 5 minutes. When the liquid begins to thicken, add apples to the pan. Continue to heat (medium/low heat), stir gently and constantly. When the apples are heated through, remove pan from heat and allow the apple pie filling to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice refrigerated dough in 8 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll one piece of dough, approximately  5 1/2″ round.  Add filling to one half of the round, keeping the filling away from the edge of the dough -it will make sealing the edges difficult. Fold dough in half over the filling. Seal by pinching edges, or press to seal using a fork.

Keep finished pies on a baking sheet in the freezer until you’ve finished assembling all the pies. Wash the top of each with beaten egg yolk. After the egg wash you could sprinkle the pies with course sugar (this was my son’s suggestion)

Bake at 400 degrees F (175 degrees C) until the filling bubbles and the crust becomes golden brown.

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This recipe should be a secret. Apple cider mills, the ones that also make yummy donuts to go with their cider, would probably prefer I keep this recipe to myself; because this cake tastes just like cider mill doughnuts. Better then their doughnuts because it contains no refined sugar and is not deep fried.

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted/cooled
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, or ordinary yogurt, strained for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup steamed and pureed butternut squash (canned pumpkin or squash is a fine substitute)
  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of white pepper
  • 1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350º and line a buttered 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients.
Beat melted butter, oil, honey, and maple syrup until well combined.
Add eggs one at a time, and beat well.
Fold in yogurt and butternut squash puree.
Gently fold wet and dry ingredients together.
Pour into the prepared cake pan
Bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Now that I have four quart jars of peaches proccessing on the stove, I have time to post pictures of some beautiful Michigan, Red Haven Peaches. We had unusually hot weather in February, (it was 80º-crazy hot) now many Michigan growers are having a pitiful fruit harvest. I feel lucky to have 24 lbs. of beautiful peaches.
Canning instructions never include quantities that I find helpful. Some may say, “approximately 3-5 peaches per quart.” Clearly, size is the variable.
Here’s MY answer to, “how many should I buy?”, start with fifteen pounds. Fifteen pounds should yield 8 quart jars. Unless you’re a canning expert, or can get another set of hands, more than fifteen pounds at a time can be overwhelming.

My favorite resource for everything “canning”: Simply Canning

I keep a bowl of lemon spiked water nearby, for sections and slices of peach that are not suitable for canning; mostly little bruised areas. If the kids don’t eat the slightly imperfect, I’ll puree them and make freezer pops.

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