One of my goals this summer was to challenge myself and go outside the cookie and cake world. I wouldn’t say I’ve been in a baking rut, because I love what I do, but honestly, I haven’t baked anything but cookies and the occasional birthday cake in about two years. That needs to change.
For years I’ve followed a woman named Sally. Sally writes a blog and has the most mouthwatering pictures of desserts. Her blog is sallysbakingaddiction.com In the past, I believe I’ve used some of her recipes, but that was on a rare occasion. One of her Facebook posts caught my eye about a month ago. She has a monthly challenge for all her followers. I thought this was a great idea! All she asks is that you try the recipe, post a picture of it on social media, using #sallysbakingchallenge, and one person is the winner each month. Now, I really don’t care about winning. Hmm, well maybe I do a little, but I thought "what a great way to challenge myself and broaden my baking horizons".
For the month of July, the challenge was apple hand pies. I’ve heard of hand pies, but certainly have never tried them. Homemade pie crust is an art and something I’ve never mastered. The ingredients have to be chilled to the right temperature and you have to be careful not to overwork your dough. Very temperamental. My aunt Carolyn used to make the best pies. She would bring one to every Thanksgiving dinner. I’m so sorry I never asked her for her recipe or her pie making technique before she passed away. I’m sure she’s with me in spirit though.
At a recent family gathering, there was no better time to try these little beauties. I could make up a bunch, pass them out at the party and get opinions. Also, I wouldn’t have a bunch of little hand pies sitting around the house, begging to be eaten.
I started out with the making the filling. It called for an addition of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. I wasn’t keen on the taste of the allspice and nutmeg, so I thought I had ruined the whole thing. But, I kept on. They say, when you’re trying a new recipe, whatever it may be, to make it just as written the first time and then you can tweak it, so that’s what I did. But I made a mental note to leave out the allspice and nutmeg the next time I made them.
Here are the finished pies. I was so surprised at how they turned out. I thought they’d be a little on the dry side, but they were delicious and just perfect!! I’m looking forward to making these again. They are the perfect individual size, hence the name hand pies, for bar-b-ques, beach parties, summer get togethers or just about for any occasion. I’m thinking of other fillings too. Apple is my favorite, but cherry, peach or even a savory pie would be delicious.
I’m very happy I stumbled upon this challenge. I can’t wait to see what the August challenge is. I’ll be sure and write about it.
Thanks for reading and, as always, if you are in need of a special dessert, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or www.mlsweets.com
Mary Liz, baker of all things good.