My mother always made apple hand pies in the winter and I can remember so clearly coming in from the cold to that warm inviting kitchen to find them resting on the cooling racks just begging for a sprinkling of powdered sugar. My father would always grab one while they were still warm and add a scoop of ice cream for the classic a la mode. Like a good son, I would follow his cue and join him at the kitchen table while we enjoyed our treat.
It hasn’t been the coldest of winters in Texas this year, but there’s been a couple of cold snaps that’s popped those memories right back into mind. We had one in late February that allowed me to reminisce with Jane one morning. After a few moments of nostalgia, we went to the grocery to grab some apples and bake up some of our own. Luckily, February is still within Persimmon season, and as we turned the corner from the apples, we saw the most beautiful stack of Fuyus calling our names.
I wanted to add a bit of thyme to the mix to balance out the syrupy sweet taste of the fruit and I’m glad I did. It really rounds out the flavor and gives it a bit of earthiness. I bet rosemary would work great as well.
With prepared pie dough sheets, we were eating hand pies within a couple hours from our morning conversation. This recipe makes anywhere from 16-20 qty, so you’ll have plenty to share with your friends or co-workers (or don’t and keep them for yourself. It’s probably what me and my father would do.)
4 sheets of prepared pie dough (16 oz package)
2 large granny smith apples, peeled and diced
2 tbsp of butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tbsp of fresh thyme
2 fuyu persimmons, diced
1 tbsp of honey, warmed slightly for brushing
1 tbsp heavy cream
Preheat over to 400 degrees F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper
Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat and allow to brown to a golden color (approx 1 minute). Add the diced apples, salt, sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg, and cook while stirring regularly until apples are slightly soft (approx 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly in a medium mixing bowl while you prepare the dough.
Lay out each sheet of prepare pie dough sheets, lightly flour, and cut out four rounds using a bowl or 4.5 inch biscuit cutter per sheet. You can also cut each sheet into four squares. Use a rolling pin to roll them out to about 5 inches each, round or square. (If using rounds, roll out excess dough to make another round. Bonus!)
With the dough cut and ready, add the persimmons and fresh thyme to the apple mix, stir gently to combine evenly, and prepare to fill the pies.
Add about two tablespoons of filling to each cut of dough, brush edge with warmed honey, and fold over, pressing the edges with your fingertips and then a fork to secure the seal. Pierce the top of each hand pie with a fork to vent and place on a baking sheet. Once each pie is filled, brush the top with the egg mixture (1 egg and tbsp of heavy cream, lightly beaten).
Place sheets in the over and bake for 30 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Serve with powdered sugar or ice cream.