{ Sweet Tango Hand Pies }

Posted by on October 29, 2013 at 9:43 am.

apple hand pies 4 Strictly speaking, these are sweet tango apple hand pies with a buttermilk biscuit dough and a buttermilk caramel sauce. But that’s a heavy title for a little hand pie, isn’t it?

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Even down here in the southeastern corner of North Carolina, our markets are flooding with apples. The air is crisp, the world smells of cinnamon, and I’m always wearing socks. Which is generally how I know I’m ready for apple pie. Usually I’m a honeycrisp devotee, occasionally straying as far as the Pink Lady, but never over to the green side or even into the MacIntosh department. I want sweet, a little tart, and very very crunchy when it comes to my apples and since this time of year I subsist on a diet that is 99% apples (I’m a seasonal binge eater- see watermelon, tomatoes, and blueberries) I’m pretty particular about what I pick up. However, like most consumers I’m influenced by a well designed and carefully placed chalkboard, especially one assuring me that the apple I’ve always dreamed of (crisp, tart, sweet, crunchy) was in fact the sweet tango. They were right. I concede, market.

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Each morning on Avery Island we woke up to a hot breakfast cooked by chef and food writer Stanley Dry. Among the bacon, eggs, pancakes, fig preserves, and boudain, were hot fresh fried hand pies. Featuring filling from apricot jam to sweet potato purée, these pies were a little slice of heaven and the reason to wake up early and sneak into the kitchen. Stanley shared that his secret was using biscuit dough, so when I started dreaming of apple pie I decided to experiment a little. I wrapped my classic apple pie filling in my buttermilk biscuit dough and topped the whole thing off with powdered sugar and homemade buttermilk caramel. The results were phenomenal. The dough is light and airy with a hint of tang, and the caramel complimented both the biscuit and the filling perfectly. Because the dough had leavening in it they puffed up beautifully, making the experience sort of like a funnel cake married an apple pie. So, heavenly.
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Sweet Tango Hand Pies

filling:
3 sweet tango apples
1/2 stick salted butter
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 flour

dough
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp vegetable shortening or lard
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk

buttermilk caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Oil for frying
Powdered sugar to top

Peel and slice apples. In a skillet combine with spices, sugar, and butter. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

As filling is simmering sift flour, sugar, salt, and spices for biscuit dough. Cut in shortening and work with your hands until the dough is the texture of cornmeal. Stir in cold buttermilk. Refrigerate until ready to assemble pies.

In a heavy skillet melt sugar over medium heat. Allow the sugar to cook, stirring frequently, for 7-8 minutes or until a rich brown color. Stir in butter. Once butter is fully incorporated remove from heat and add in buttermilk. Stir until mixed completely. Stir in vanilla and salt and allow to cool.

Stir lemon juice and flour into filling. Heat oil for frying. Roll dough out onto a floured surface and cut the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a small circle and fill with 2-3 apple slices. Wrap the dough around the slices and crimp the edges to seal.

Fry each pie for 2 minutes or until golden brown on each side. Serve hot topped with powdered sugar and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

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