Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

Happy 4th of July friends! In honor of celebrating our independence from those fun Brits who wanted us to drive on the left side of the road and favored the letters ‘S’ and ‘U’, I thought I’d share one of my most quintessentially American recipes. It doesn’t get much more American than eating apple pie and homemade ice cream. Am I right?

Kiwi+Peach: Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

These pies are the perfect dessert for cookout because you can just pick them up and pop them in your mouth. No cutlery needed. Plus they are precious, yea? Everything is cuter in miniature.

Kiwi+Peach: Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

{adapted from Just a Taste, makes 8 little pies}

The Dough
1 cup whole wheat flour + some for flouring your work surface
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup plain yogurt {or sour cream}

The Filling
1 granny smith apple
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp caramel sauce
sea salt

The Wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp water

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Cube your butter and toss it in there. Go ahead and measure the yogurt but don’t add it yet. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour. Then mix in the sour cream and transfer to a well floured surface and knead it a bit. The dough will be pretty wet, so as you are kneading, slowly add more flour until it’s not sticky anymore. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle and then fold it into thirds. Roll it out and fold into thirds again. Then wrap it up in Glad wrap and stick it in the fridge while you work on the filling.

Preheat the oven to 450°F/225°C.

Peel your apple and chop it up pretty small. Put your little pieces of apple in a bowl. Douse it with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Mix it up and let it sit for a bit.

Grab the dough from the fridge and turn it out on a well floured surface. Roll it out pretty thin. Use a 3 inch biscuit cutter {or a glass} to cut out you circles. Keep re-rolling it out until you’ve gotten as many circles as possible.

Spoon the apple filling onto half of the circles and top each with a generous 1/2 tsp of caramel sauce. {I used a sauce that came in a jar because I have had ZERO luck making my own caramel here in Germany. Something to do with the fact that their brown sugar isn’t real brown sugar.} Sprinkle with sea salt and then top with the other half of the circles. Press the edges together and then using a fork, really press them closed. Cut three slits in the top of each pie. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and water to make your egg wash. Brush the tops of your pies with the egg wash and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. When they are finished let them cool for a quick minute and then plate them up for your cook out!

Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa

I think it’s high time I share my favorite baked beans recipe with you. No Southern get together seems to be complete without baked beans and everyone has a slightly different way of making them. I think that the apple salsa really takes mine to a whole new level in terms of taste as well as nutrition. I might go as far as to call these beans…healthy. {Or maybe not, there is still a good bit of sugar!} I can easily say that these are the best baked beans I’ve ever had. {Sorry Mama.} Give them a try this July 4th, and let me know if you agree!

Kiwi+Peach: Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa

Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa

3-4 slices of bacon {depending on the size of the dish you’re cooking the beans in}

The Beans
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup BBQ sauce

The Apple Salsa {inspired by Tupelo Honey Cafe}
1 granny smith apple
1/2 of a red pepper
1/2 of a green chili
1/4 of a sweet onion
1 tbsp honey
a dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.

Put your bacon in a cold pan start heating over medium heat. You’re just doing this to render the fat, so once the white bit has become shiny and a bit translucent remove it from the heat. The bacon will cook completely in the oven, don’t worry.

In a medium bowl, combine your beans and BBQ sauce. Peel and dice your apple and add it to the bowl. Remove the seeds from the pepper and the chili. {Be careful with the chili seeds. Wash your hands with hot water and soap afterwards and avoid touching your eyes–ouch!} Dice them up and add them to the bowl. Peel and dice your onion and add it to the bowl too. Add in the bit of honey and salt and pepper and give it all a big stir.

Pour it into a baking dish. I used a 6in pie pan, but a 9×9 should be fine too {plus you’ll have room for more bacon}. Make a layer of bacon over the top and put it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and you’re done!

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.} 

Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad

Last summer the Kiwi and I took a trip to Amsterdam, and while we were there, we got some of the tastiest blue cheese in the world. Since the cheese was special {tastiest in the world I tell you}, I didn’t want to use it on just an average meal. I wanted whatever we were going to make with it to be excellent in its own right, but, at the same time, complement the blue cheese perfectly. And that, my friends, is how the idea for this salad was born. The dressing is the Kiwi’s brain child via a Gordon Ramsey TV show he saw once. He originally made it for me as a syrup for my birthday pancakes, so calling it a dressing is a bit generous, but you won’t be disappointed. The amounts of powder sugar and balsamic vinegar here are just guidelines. Feel free to be a bit liberal, it will reduce and thicken either way.

Are you like this too with special ingredients {or any product for that matter}? Do you ration it and only use it on special occasions? I ration pecans too because we can’t find them here in Germany.  We got two bags when we were in Ireland this past fall, but we are down to our last few nuts now. Sad day.

Anyway…

Last month, the Kiwi had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam on his way back from a business trip. Instead of sitting around at the airport, he decided to head into the city and go in search of more of that blue cheese. Luckily he found it, so naturally the first thing I made with it was this beauty. {Obviously, we’ve made this with blue cheese from the shop and its great too.  I’m just telling you about the Dutch blue cheese because its out of this world and if you’re ever there you should get some.}

This would be a great addition to any summer cookout. It’s really simple to whip up and I promise people will rave!  {Plus you’ll get props for bringing a salad!  You healthy thing you–just don’t mention all the sugar in the dressing.}

Kiwi+Peach: Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad

Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad

The Salad
mixed field greens {I usually use a whole 500 gram bag, but it depends on how much you like rabbit food.}
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped pecans

The Dressing
1 pound of strawberries {3 1/2 cups}
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Before getting started, wash and dry your greens and return them to the fridge. This will make them nice and crisp.

Start heating your frying pan over medium high heat. Wash, core, and cut your strawberries into fourths. Throw them in the hot pan and add the maple syrup. Stir it in and then add the balsamic vinegar. Give it a stir and then let it simmer away for about 3-5 minutes or until it is thickened a bit and the strawberries are soft but not completely broken down. At this point I transfer it back to the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill a bit so that it doesn’t wilt the lettuce too much.

While the strawberries are cooling down, you can assemble the rest of the salad. Plate up your lettuce and generously sprinkle with the blue cheese crumbles and chopped pecans. Top with strawberries and eat up!

‘Merica Week

Happy Monday friends!  Just because the Kiwi and I are about as far from American food culture as we could be this week, doesn’t mean I’m going to leave you hanging for July 4th!  I would never do that.  In fact, I dub this week America Week.
Kiwi+Peach: America WeekIts true that America is a melting pot–full of foods from tons of different cultures, but I don’t think its fair to say that it lacks a food culture of its own.  I can only speak from a Southerner’s perspective, but there are tons of traditional goodies that create many wonderful food memories.  Who doesn’t have some memory associated with biscuits, apple pie, grits, or sweet tea?  Even the Kiwi, a converted Southerner, loved biscuits so much that he made it his mission to perfect the fluffy, homemade butter biscuit. {He will be sharing his tried and true recipe with y’all on Friday!}

In honor of July 4th and it help you in trying to decided what to make for that cook out, here is a round up of our most ‘Merican recipes.

Blue Cheese Burgers
Green Beans {grilled instead of roasted}
Ice Cream Sandwiches made with Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Coming up this week:
Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Strawberry Salad
Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa
Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel
and, of course, Zane’s Biscuits {famous in small circles}

…and here’s some Johnny and June to get your week going. Happy ‘Merica Week y’all!