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Recipes

Asha's Chai Apple Hand Pies

Recipe By: Asha Loupy

Makes: 8 hand pies

Asha's Chai Apple Hand Pies
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

These little pockets of joy are inspired by the mini pies I used to buy as a kid at the corner store down the street. These rectangular hand pies — some of you may know they as home run pies— were perfect: flaky crust, thick, luscious filling with just the right about of gloppiness, and a thin layer of crackly sugar glaze on the outside.

Here, I'm giving my childhood memories a Diaspora Co. glow-up with our house blend Chai Masala. The warming spices of the chai spice mix — cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and cloves — are made to be paired with apples. I like using a mix of sweeter apples (mimicking the sweetness of a nice cup of chai) that retain a little bit of a bite when cooked like honey crisp, Gravenstein or Braeburn.

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Ingredients

For the pie dough
  • 2 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
For the apple pie filling
  • 1¼ pounds sweet, baking apples, such as Honey Crisp, Gravenstein and Braeburn, peeled, cored and cut into a small dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons Chai Masala
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the egg wash
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the vanilla glaze
  • 1 cup powdered confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2½ to 4 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Methods

To make the dough and filling
  1. To make the pie dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, and mix well. Add the butter and, using your fingers, rub the butter cubes into the flour mixture until they are the size of cooked chickpeas. Add the water and gently mix until the mixture holds together when squeezed. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together. Press the dough into about an 8x4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (If you’re rolling the dough a day later, it might be too cold and crack when rolling. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes for easier rolling.)
  2. While the dough is resting, make the apple pie filling. Place the apples, butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, granulated white sugar, brown sugar, chai masala spice blend, and salt in a medium saucepan, and mix to combine. Cover, place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, sprinkle the flour over the cooked filling and stir in, making sure to work out any lumps. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the filling thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (The filling can also me made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)
To assemble and bake the hand pies
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside.
  2. To roll the dough, place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into an 16x14-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise. Cut each half again crosswise, creating eight 7x4-inch rectangles.
  3. To assemble the hand pies, arrange a pastry rectangle so a short side is closest to you. Mound 2 heaping tablespoons on bottom half of each rectangle, leaving a 1" border along bottom and sides. Brush the edges with the egg wash, fold over the top half over the bottom so the edges meet, gently press the edges down with your fingers, and then crimp edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining hand pies. Reserve any remaining egg wash.
  4. Transfer the uncooked hand pies to a parchment-line baking sheet, placing them about 1-inch apart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator and, using a paring knife, cut two small slits in the top of each hand pie (this will help steam escape during baking). Brush the tops of the hand pies with the remaining egg wash. Bake until the pastry is cooked through and light golden, about 30 to 34 minutes. If glazing, transfer the baked hand pies to a baking rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
To glaze the hand pies
  1. To make the glaze, mix the confectioners' sugar with 2½ tablespoons water and vanilla extract. The glaze should be spoonable and loose — you're aiming for a little thinner than a glaze for a loaf or bundt cake. If the glaze is too thick, add a ½ tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency.
  2. To glaze the hand pies, hold one hand pie over the glaze and gently spoon the glaze over the top and bottom of the hand pie (yes, your fingers will get a little messy!), letting the excess glaze fall back into the bowl. Place back on the baking rack and repeat with the remaining hand pies. Allow to cool until the glaze hardens, about 20 to 30 minutes.