I recently was gifted apples and I am positive I'm not the only one right now. The abundance of them in our Valley is actually more surprising than I realized. Yakima County leads the nation in apple production, with over 55,000 acres reserved for these delicious treats.

Last year, 2019, the crops in Washington State broke records with 138.2 Million 40 pounds boxes, current yield will be determined in November as we are in the middle of the season. Did you know all apples are picked by hand? Thank you agriculture workers.

Fall is right around the corner so it's Apple Pie time

We feature Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Honeycrisps as well as hundreds of antique varieties.

Each apple type creates all kinds of amazing dishes and I discovered the Washington Apple Commission site which breaks down what makes each variety shine. For example Gala apples are extremely versatile being used in salads, pies, sauces, baking but not good to freeze. Now that Fall is here I figured I'd share my latest bake. Apple hand pies.

The egg wash gives the tops a gorgeous shine

The Ingredients you'll need:

  1. The Filling:
  2. Two apples (peeled and cored)
  3. Apple Pie spice, or nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon and sugar (an even mix of all depending on how strong you want your mix)
  4. 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  5. 1-2 Tablespoons of butter (separated)
Do you see those little bits of butter?

The Dough:

  1. 2 sticks of butter (frozen or at least chilled in the fridge)
  2. 2.5 cups All-Purpose Flour (I like Red's Mill but something with a higher protein count will keep your crust flaky)
  3. 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. The secret ingredient 1/4 cup ice cold vodka
  6. 2-4 Tablespoons of water
  7. 1 egg (beaten 70 times) set aside to wash over your hand pies once assembled

You can purchase store bought pie dough or you can make your own. Honestly it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Freezing your butter makes it way easier to chop up and you can store the dough in the fridge, tightly wrapped, for up to five days or three months in the freezer, thaw in the fridge and then use.

You can use a lid or jar that is about 4 inches wide to create even circles of dough, store however many circle sets (pie top and bottoms) you want, the pies can last in the fridge for about 4-5 days in an air tight container. They are so flipping good, I would suggest making them all because you'll want to come back for seconds and thirds. Afternoon and after dinner and maybe even before supper.

Once all your circles are cut, I used parchment paper to separate the sets and placed them on a plate in the fridge for about 15 minutes to keep cool while I made my apple filling.

I totally channeled Annie from Sleepless in Seattle and attempted a full apple peeling with a knife, almost got there.

Peeling an apple with a knife like Annie from Sleepless in Seattle

Can you do it?

Core and chop up your apples and throw them in a pan on medium heat once a tablespoon of butter is bubbling in your pan and cook for about 15 minutes, watching and stirring to make sure you mixture doesn't burn. Once it's looking almost caramel colored and gorgeous, check doneness with a knife and if the apples slides in and out easy, you are good to go. Set aside and get your oven turned on to 350 degrees.

Now is the time you grab your egg and whip it, real good, 70 times to break up the white yolk.

Take your dough circles and place two tablespoons of apple filling in the middle of each. Take your egg wash and use a little bit around the edges and place a top on them. Use your fingers to slight pinch closed and a fork to secure all the way around. Using a brush you can use your egg wash to cover each hand pie. Use enough to cover and it's better to brush on a different surface and then move thee pies over to a pan, covered with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. My first attempt had crunchy egg on the sides, no good.

Once your time goes off pop your hand pies in the oven, if you have turbinado sugar, go ahead and sprinkle it over the tops. I couldn't find mine and honestly, I didn't miss it.

When your pies are a golden brown and make a hallow sound when you tap the top, they are done. Your bottoms should look golden brown from sides to middle. I cooked mine for 26 minutes but depending on your oven it could be all the way up to 32 minutes.

The egg wash gives the tops a gorgeous shine

Let cool on a rack for five minutes and enjoy!