For many years, vanilla has given me comfort. When I used to work in Dubai, I’d bake a batch of simple, un-iced vanilla cupcakes on Sunday mornings (the week there begins on Sunday), then take them to an office that pretty much devours me the entire day and leaves me for dead. But as soon as I return home, I could still smell the vanilla that had been trapped in my kitchen since my departure that morning. That alone wipes away the stresses of my day. When I’m not baking, I light vanilla candles. I normally don’t run out of them.
It was only early this year that I decided to pick up something new to go with my usual vanilla tealights from Ikea. They were bigger, heavier votives in glass, dark chocolate in color and gave off the sweetest scent of apples that had been cloaked in cinnamon.
I have since moved back to Manila. No Ikea candles here. The closest I can get to replicating that wonderful perfume is by cranking up that oven and making some good ol’ apple pies. Remembering that I seriously dislike doing the dishes, I’m making them strictly hand-held.
So with the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon bubbling away inside the oven, as expected I caught a waft of something decidedly familiar. Oh the memories resurrecting! Cliche as it may sound, I am wrapped in some serious fuzz right now.
Makes 8 pies
Pie Crust recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
|2 1/2 cups||all purpose flour|
|1 stick||cold unsalted butter, cubed|
|1/2 cup||cold shortening|
|1/3 cup||ice water|
|4 medium||Granny Smith apples|
|1 tbs||lemon juice|
|3/4 cup||packed brown sugar|
|1 tsp||ground cinnamon|
|3 tbs||all purpose flour|
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use the tips of your fingers and working quickly, rub butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle ice water evenly over mixture, a tablespoon at a time. Using a fork, toss until the flour is evenly moistened and the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and with floured hands, shape dough into 2 small disks and wrap each in cling wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll 1 disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. With a biscuit cutter, cut dough into 5-inch rounds. Whisk the egg and water lightly and with a pastry brush, sweep egg wash on one side of the dough.
Peel and core apples. Dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss together with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a large bowl. Spoon filling into the center of each dough round, leaving about half an inch border all around. Fold into a half-moon and using a pie crimper (or a fork), seal the edges of the pie. Poke a few holes on top with the tines of a fork for steam to escape during baking. Brush a final sweep of egg wash. This will give the pies a glossy finish. Refrigerate empanadas while the oven is preheating.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line baking sheets with foil to catch any juices. Bake empanadas until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Let cool completely on a wire rack.