Back when we lived in Boston, the Mr. and I could walk to 7-11 in about 3 minutes. At our last place, CVS was a 5 minute shuffle. We developed a bit of what you might call a Hostess Habit: every so often, we’d have a terrible sweet tooth descend and off one of us would go to the store to get Hostess cupcakes (orange-yellow for me, chocolate with vanilla for him), Twinkies, and the most decadent of all, the Hostess Pie. Apple was our go-to flavor. None of these were especially tasty but they did the job when nothing else was around. The pies in particular were really not as good as I remember them being when I was a kid, which I’m sure is a trick in the old memory. Do you remember the pudding pies, too? They had some marketed as a tie-in for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t think they make pudding pies at all anymore.
Anyway, we both knew this little habit wasn’t terribly good for us. Even if we don’t think about the calories themselves, there were all those trans-fats, all that high fructose corn syrup, that lack of actual food, to think of. So that was one of the reasons why we made our own Twinkies last winter. And last night, after Mr. Pea had a particular craving for a pie which could not be sated (nowhere in walking distance to get them and I’m not driving to Stop and Shop for a fake pie) and ended up sleeping it off, I prowled the internet for information on making one’s own hand pies. Really, they are just glorified turnovers, and not hard to make at all. We now have a stash of pies in the freezer, ready to pop into the oven when needed, equally calorie-laden to their fake brothers but much, much tastier. Ours feature a buttery pie crust filled with cinnamon apples. You can’t beat that with anything wrapped in cellophane! Sure, they took more time than running to the store, but now that a store isn’t quickly reached, this just makes more sense.
My recipe featured a pie crust you can find here, only I swapped in regular butter for vegan butter: Pie Crust
I made a filling by peeling and chopping two red delicious apples (happened to be what we had on hand) and cooking them over medium-low heat for about ten minutes with a couple tablespoons of water, a good sprinkle of cinnamon, and a teaspoon or so of sugar. Because your pies won’t bake as long as a traditional one, you have to get the apples started ahead of time. You just want them to soften up a little and have a little bit of sauce.
I rolled out my dough in small portions. I had enough filling for eight pies, but I rolled my dough quite thin (1/16″ or so) and had enough for probably 12 or 14 crusts. Each one was cut about 6″ wide (I just used a lid to a tupperware container and traced around it with a sharp knife). You can adjust all of these measurements as needed. Place each crust on a cookie sheet and drop a little over a tablespoon of filling on one half. Again, how much depends on your crust size. Then fold other half over, roll up edges, and pinch closed. Repeat.
Brush each one with milk, dust with sugar, cut a couple steam vents, and pop into a 375 degree oven. I started checking them at 18 minutes and the ones that were not crowded on a pan (I had 2 on one, six on another) were about done then. The other sheet took about 10 more minutes to brown. In other words, just keep your eye on them. Allow to cool, eat one, and freeze the rest. I’m guessing they can be heated through in a 350 oven in about 20 minutes, again, depending on size. A toaster oven would be great for this, but I don’t have one, so the microwave and perhaps the broiler will have to do.
The possibilities here are endless, though I read that if you use something especially juicy, like berries, you should place some parchment beneath the pies so they don’t leak and become impossible to remove without destroying them.