Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classic Snacks Made From Scratch: Fruit-Filled Treats

 photo IMG_0877_zps86711d2c.jpg

 In Casey's Classic Snack Cookbook,you definitely cannot pass up her chapter for fruit-filled treats.It's her homemade versions of these sweet treats that will impress everyone and have the smiles to match.This has to be true when it includes a handful of popular and beloved treats for all ages.Hold your excitement......... This chapter includes recipes such as Hostess's Drake's Cherry Pie,Fig Newtons,MC Donald's Apple pie,and even homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts.Yummy! With just mentioning these treats, my mouth is watering and I  think you're already hooked in, Aren't you?
Well if you are? Then were all in the same boat because within a few seconds of looking throughout this chapter I already knew what I wanted to make.Its a very iconic and popular treat,known as MC Donald's Apple Pie Turnovers.These pocket pie's have been around for many years and I imagine everyone has at least tried one in their childhood.It could of been the traditional deep fried pocket pie or the baked version that's been around since 1992. So whatever one you truly love, you are able to choose within this homemade version from deep fried goodness to baked perfection.I feel this was a great option because everyone can remember the old with the new.

 photo IMG_0753_zps10036148.jpg

So for me, I went with the modern day baked version that I remember as a child and just with that memory I knew I was definitely in for a challenge.So when I first began collecting ingredients just to the counter I  thought to myself "Are these going to really match the signature apple pie or go completely the opposite way?". I was just nervous and excited all at the same time that it actually made me just jump right in and cross my finger that I wouldn't screw anything up.Thank goodness, I knew that Casey's recipes are pretty detailed and informative.

Anyways,I was quite lucky with this recipe because it was a joy to go through and was easy to understand;however that doesn't mean I didn't run into any annoying issues,which I'll divulge about later.So for me, I feel I have to start with all the good points through this recipe and begin with the pastry.The pastry was really quick and simple to make even without a food processor.The dough was very easy to handle compared to most pastries and I feel it was the cottage cheese and butter to thank for that.Now, cottage cheese its not a common accuracy in most pastries;however every time I have work with it in pastry I have been given really good result in texture.So, when you read cottage cheese don't think its a mistake because it actually helps make the dough pliable and very moist.Also, with any pastry dough it usually has a chilling time of 30 minutes to overnight.This dough took about 30+ minutes to chill about the time I finished the applesauce filling.So there isn't much waiting around because in that time your busy with the very important filling.

 photo IMG_0739_zps28e734fe.jpg

The sweet hot apple filling is signature to McDonald's Apple pie turnover and I was excited that this recipe used very simple ingredients to create a solid flavor and texture.I used a pound of ripe granny smith apples,which are best for baking along with sugar,butter and cinnamon.This combination of ingredients help create a sweet,buttery and spiced applesauce.However to create a thick sauce you cannot leave out cornstarch and water,which only thickening the sauce and are completely tasteless.

So putting all these ingredients together we have a strong flavored applesauce that isn't to chunky to mushy.This is a really simple apple filling and most people have learned and mastered making applesauce so there shouldn't be any problems in making this filling.Its all about breaking down apples and then adding your favorite spice.In the end you have an applesauce you can use for anything;however this one is tailored made for our favorite apple pie turnovers.

Then for the both fun and frustrating part of this recipe, the assembling.This is where I learned how to put together my own turnovers and its signature appearance.It was a lot of fun once I was able to get the hang of it,however it was slightly frustrating at times.It seemed I had trouble rolling the pastry out since most of the time the edges would crack and create uneven sides.So I ended up with an uneven square making it difficult to cut smaller squares.So when that happened I was only able to get seven turnovers instead of nine all together.So I don't really know what I did wrong and I guess I'll only find out with a redo.Once I got passed that frustrating part, it was time for the filling and crimping to create an apple pie turnover.This was the best part learning a brand new skill and trust me they looked great while baking.

 photo IMG_0801_zps70e43bbd.jpg

These were really simple to bake and were done once they were golden brown and puffed.The only part anyone needs to watch out for is filling oozing out from the sealed or vented areas.However as long as its not to much that might make it a little more attract to some. Now we can't leave out one of the best parts of this treat, the taste tasting! dun dun dun.........

Is it like the original or not? Well............. Its actually way better then the original, it has all the same important key points of the signature MC Donald's Apple pie,just so much better.The pastry is so buttery and moist,while being slightly sweet and spiced.It isn't super layered or flaky like most bakery turnovers and is more genuine to the fast food treat.The edges are crumbly with a great crimped appearance along with a golden brown exterior and beautifully puffed.It has very close to the signature look of the pocket pie that once you bite into one you will have a childhood flashback and remember that warm spiced apple filling.

This one is so fresh with its wonderfully strong apple flavor.The apples are so ripe and juicy they create a very sweet and tart flavor.These are deliciously warm and cold;however I would imagine heating these up to get that original experience.These are top notch and when I say that they never last long.My nephew even loved these and even let me know by pointing to one and saying "that one looks exactly like MC Donald's Apple pie",he was certainly impressed and that's what I was looking for.

Well I took the challenge and was quite successful.It took some time and patience to get though it,but was well worth the effort for a little kid to be impressed.Casey has successfully created the signature MC Donald's apple pie by appearance and flavor along with having a very direct approach.Two thumbs up for this recipe and trust me you will be impressed with these delightful treat, if its deep fried or baked! Enjoy! Stay tune for another fruity treat to be reviewed!

 photo IMG_0856_zps41caff14.jpg

MC Donald's Apple Pie

Yields: 6 - 9 pies
Difficulty: 3 for baking,4 if deep frying.
Total Time: 2 hours, plus 1 hour chilling time if deep frying
Special Equipment:  Food processor or pastry blender.Pastry or pizza cutter, (Deep frying option: electric deep fryer(or large high sided pot and a candy/oil thermometer.

 photo IMG_0654_zpsa5eb44f7.jpg


2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup low fat small curd cottage cheese
4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter,cut into cubes

1 pound granny smith apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps unsalted butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsps water,divided
1 tbsp cornstarch
Vegetable or canola oil for frying (optional)

 photo 2013-07-02001_zps22f3591a.jpg
 photo IMG_0672_zps2a879df6.jpg

I mixed together flour,sugar,cinnamon and salt in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.Then using a pastry blender, I mixed in the cottage cheese and butter,until a soft dough developed. If using a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients for 5 seconds and then process the wet ingredients for 30 seconds.

 photo 2013-07-020011_zps2d66487b.jpg

I then brought the dough together onto a flour surface and gently pressed into a round disc.Then I wrapped the dough into saran wrap and refrigerated for 30 minutes.

 photo 2013-07-020012_zps0addbcbb.jpg

Making the Apple Filling

 photo IMG_0689_zpsf6a1983a.jpg

While the dough is in the fridge,I began preparing the apple filling.I peeled,cored and cut the apples into small cubes.I also weighed the unpeeled and peeled apples to get close to 1 pound.

 photo 2013-07-020013_zpsd1fa0602.jpg

Then I tossed the cut up apples in a 2 quart heavy bottom saucepan with sugar,butter and cinnamon.Then I melted the butter over medium heat and then added 2 tbsp of water.Then I covered the pot and cooked it for 10-12 minutes,until the apples began to soften.

 photo 2013-07-020014_zps954720ec.jpg

Then I whisked the cornstarch with the remaining 2 tbsp of water in a small bowl. Then I slowly poured the mixture into the soft apple mixture.Then I covered the pot again and cooked for 1-2 minutes more, until the liquid thickened and jelled slightly.Then I removed it from the heat.

 photo 2013-07-020015_zps2e1cc1fc.jpg

Option: McDonald's filling is very close to applesauce,so with a potato masher I gently pressed the soft apples to reach a mushier apple mixture,then I let the filling cool completely for about 15 minutes. 

 photo 2013-07-020016_zpsb2e7ae7b.jpg

Making The Pies

Options: Baked or Deep Fried?

Baking: Preheated the oven to 375F and lined my half sheet with my Silpat liner.You can also use 2 baking sheets and add parchment paper or Silpat liners.

 To my floured work surface, I rolled out the chilled dough to 18 inch square with thickness at about 1/8 inch.Then using a pastry cutter or pizza cutter I was only able to slice 6, 6 by 6 inch squares instead of the recommended 9 squares.Maybe you will have better luck then me.

 photo 2013-07-020017_zps220e7752.jpg

Then I placed a heaping tbsp of apple filling on half of each square,then I folded it over to create a 6 by 3 inch pocket pie.Sealing the edges by crimping them tightly with my fingers.Then placing it on the prepared baking sheet.Using a fork to might help to seal better before crimping.

I then gently sliced 3 slashes across the top of each pie to help vent and then I baked them less then 25 minutes until puffed and golden brown.Then once fully baked, I placed them on a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes.Best to serve them room temp.Cold is also good.

Deep frying: Refrigerate the pies for 1 hour (or freeze for up to 3 months in a sealed container.Heat at least 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil to 350F in a electric deep fryer or large,high sided pot.Line a baking sheet with paper towels and an upside-down wire cooling rack.Use a candy/deep fried thermometer for large pot.

Add the pies to the hot oil straight from the fridge or freezer and fry in batches as necessary until golden brown.Frying time will vary based on your equipment, but should take no more then 2 to 3 minutes per batch.Then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before eating.

 photo IMG_0725_zps34309ab4.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing your ideas and opinions, so join in the conversation!