Food memories are intense. Just the aroma of a margherita pizza, instantly transports me back to the city of Venice where I was served the best pizza margherita pizza that I'd ever tasted. 🍕 I can't help but reminisce about Hawaii when I see an Acai bowl on a menu. 🥣 And a single sip of strong Irish coffee makes me think of the extraordinary pubs that we visited in Ireland. ☕️
I not only associate foods with places, I also associate specific foods with certain people in my life. It's the reason that I can't eat rubarb without thinking about one grandmother or eat chicken nuggets without reminiscing about my other grandmother. A triple layer coconut cake will always remind me of my husband. And it's impossible to make anything with chocolate and peanut butter without thinking about my second child who's the only person I know with a sweet tooth as big as mine. 😅
Apple Hand Pies bring with them all the family feels for me. We started the tradition of taking the kids to the North Georgia mountain every Fall for an apple picking adventure, when they were very young. It was always a fun day of apple picking and hiking and of course eating fried apple pies. I'd like to think that it was the lure of freshly picked apples that drew us to the mountains year after year, but in all honesty, it was the pies that made the journey worthwhile. 🍎
When my kids were young, the topic of fried apple pies would work its way into our dinner conversations as least once a month. Someone would reminisce about how much they loved them or how they were looking forward to our next trip to get more fried apple pies. (The apple picking simply became a means to an end.) 😂 We don't always get to take out apple pie trip anymore since the kids have moved out so I thought I would try my hand at making a homemade version at home this year. Go big or go home, right?
My apple pies are different from the beloved North Georgia fried apple pies. First of all, mine version are baked - not fried. They're stuffed with deliciously rehydrated apples coated in a black pepper, cardamom and clove syrup. They are surprisingly different and yet they still bring back all the memories of our Fall family trips.
Dried Apple Hand Pies
4 cups unsweetened apple cider
3 cups dried apple slices
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds
2 whole cloves
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe pie dough
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Remember that go big or go home option? I decided that I would go REALLY big with this recipe. I put together about 4 dozen of these little babies so I could save some for a rainy day. I assembled all of the pies, wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in ziploc bags before tucking them away in my freezer. You can actually bake these right from the freezer if you add 5-10 minutes to the baking time. 🥧
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