Monday, May 24, 2010

Gadget of the Week: Apple Pocket Pie Mold

I love gadgets.

I love anything from Williams-Sonoma.

And this is just too cute.

The mold is a hinged plastic device.  You cut out the shapes with the outside of the mold--one side has a leaf-shaped vent for the baked variety--and crimp the filled pies together with the inside of it.

This is the recipe on the box:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling (if baking pies)
16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" dice
6-8 tablespoons ice water
1/2-1 cup pie filling
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
Vegetable oil (if frying pies)

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons sugar until combined (about 5 pulses).    Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses.  Add 6 tablespoons ice water and pulse twice.  The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky.  If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition.  Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and press each into a disk.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

To make the pies:  Let the dough stand at room temperature for five minutes.  On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a round 1/16-1/8" thick.  Brush off the excess flour.  Using the Pocket Pie Mold, cut out 8 of each shape.  (If you will be baking the pies, cut out 4 of each shape using the decorative cutout; the cutout will serve as a steam vent in the top crust.  If you will be frying the pies, do not use the decorative cutout.)  Re-roll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes.  Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold.  Fill the center with 1-2 tablespoons of the pie filling and brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash.  Top with a matching shape.  (If you will be baking the pies, use a piece with the decorative cutout.)  Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie.   Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Freeze the pies for 20-30 minutes.

To Bake:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Brush the pies with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, 15-20 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

To Fry:  In a heavy, deep fry pan or wide saucepan over medium-high heat, pour in the vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 350 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer.  Fry the pies in batches until golden, 3-6 minutes,  Drain on paper towels.

Makes about 8 pocket pies.

I seems like a lot of trouble.  These were just adorable, though.  Two thumbs up!!!  I will definitely makes these again.

My tips for success:  
1)  Cold butter and ice water in the dough.  Cold ingredients=flaky dough.
2)  Roll the dough slightly thicker than the recipe states.  The pies will keep their shape better.
3)  You must chill and the dough and freeze the formed pies for the specified time.
4)  Roll and form the dough quickly. 
4)  Do what Alton Brown does and keep cookie sheet in the freezer.  If the dough becomes to warm, place the sheet on top for a few seconds to cool it down.
5) I spooned the pie filling directly out of the can and into the pies.  Next time, I will snip up the apples with kitchen shears first to make the fruit more evenly distributed.  The big pieces of fruit seemed too chunky for pocket pies.

Enjoy with vanilla bean ice cream!

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