I love the challenge of making dinner out of nothing. Well not nothing. Just the random veggies that are left in my fridge before I make it to the store again. Which is how this lovely combination came about- beets and apples! I used traditional apple pie spices- cardamon, cinnamon and ginger but the addition of the beets adds an earthy sweetness. And most importantly it turns the pie filling a vibrant pink!
Beet & Apple Hand Pies
Makes 6 round hand pies
1 small beet
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg, for egg wash
The key to a flaky pie crust is to use cold butter and work quickly so that the butter doesn't melt. The addition of ice water helps to keep the dough cold as well!
To make the crust combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter up into 1/2 cubes and add to the flour mixture with a pastry cutter. Work the butter into the flour until the butter is broken into pea sized pieces and the dough is the consistency of cornmeal. Then stir in the ice water and use your hands to mix it in until the dough just forms a ball. Resist the temptation to over work the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The dough can also be made a day ahead of time.
Trim the beets tops and bottoms. Chop the apples and beets into 1/2 inch cubes (no need to peel them). Add the apples, beets, sugar, spices, and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon of flour and simmer for one minutes, allowing the filling to thicken slightly. Such that there is still liquid from the fruit in the bottom of the pan but it is no longer watery.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Remove the pie dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Flip the dough a few times as you roll, lightly flouring each side as you do. This will keep it from sticking. Keep rolling until the dough is approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use a 4 inch biscuit cutter to cut the dough into 12 rounds (if there is not enough room, re-roll the dough to make more). Remove the surrounding dough scraps and use a spatula to gently place half of the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet and place a heaping tablespoon of pie filling into the center of each pie round.
To make the pie tops, lightly roll the remaining dough rounds so they stretch another 1/2 inch. This will make it easier to fit them over the pie filling. Lightly spread water around the edge of the bottom pie round with your finger and drape the pie top round over top. Use a fork to seal the top and bottom dough together. Use a sharp knife to cut a small 'x' in the top layer of the pie dough. It will expand as it bakes and show the pink apple-beet filling.
Crack one egg into a small dish and mix with a fork. Use a brush to lightly brush the egg on tops of each pie. This will give the final pie a lovely golden shine!
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.