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Apple-Cranberry Pocket Pies

With their sweet-tart filling of apples and cranberries, these handheld pies make a perfect after-school treat and a wonderful dessert for autumn gatherings.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water

For the apple-cranberry filling:

  • 1 1/2 lb. Pink Lady or McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. water

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the flour, salt and the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar on low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. Add the butter and beat for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium-low and beat until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 1 1/2 minutes more. Add the 6 Tbs. ice water, reduce the speed to low and beat for 20 seconds. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, beating for 5 seconds after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and shape each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

To make the apple-cranberry filling, in a large bowl, stir together the apples, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cornstarch. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apple mixture, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender but not mushy, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let cool for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, granulated sugar and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have broken down slightly and the liquid has thickened to the consistency of a loose jam, about 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Add the cranberry mixture to the apple mixture and stir to combine.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a round 3/16 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using an apple pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape (4 solid and 4 with the decorative cutout). Reroll 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 2 Tbs. apple-cranberry filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Top with a shape with a 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 the remaining dough and filling. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Brush the top of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 pocket pies.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.