Can I just say again how frustrating Martha’s search engine is on her website? Why doesn’t it work? Aaargh.
So, I tried this recipe last year from Martha’s Halloween Issue, and I love it. I already made it this year for Halloween, but I’m posting it now because I can see it as a terrific appetizer for Thanksgiving (jeff!). It’s a bit of work, so if you have many Thanksgiving assignments besides this one, I wouldn’t recommend tackling it (especially not on Thursday), but they do freeze well if you have time in advance. And they are extremely nice–a great, delicate buttery crust, and a bit of a thick, savory filling. Together. Yum.
Sausage and Apple Handpies
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, diced (1 1/2 c.)
1 t. minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
1 T. + 1 t. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 c. chicken stock
1 medium granny apple, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
Pate Brisee (recipe follows)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plat. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, thyme, and pepper (if pan is dry, add th oil). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add flour to pan; cook stirring, until thick, about 1 minutes. Stir in apples and reserved sausage. remove from heat, let mixture cool. (Filling can be refrigerated up to overnight in an airtight container.)
3. Preheat oven to 375. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough into a 14″x16″ rectangle slightly less tan 1/8″ thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper,; top with a second piece of parchment. Repeat with remaining dough disks, covering with parchment and stacking rolled dough. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
4. Using 3 3/4″ circle cutter (or bottom of a cup), cut rounds from sheets of dough. Place 2 T. filling in center of half of the round. Brush edges lightly with beaten egg. Top with remaining rounds, pressing edges with a fork to seal. With a small leaf-shaped cutter, cut shapes from scraps and adhere to pies with some of the beaten egg (alternatively, cut leaf shapes out of tops and add cutout slightly off-center to cover the open portion–this is a really nice presentation). Combine scraps and reroll. Cut rounds and repeat to fill and form more handpies. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with egg. Refrigerate 15 minutes (this step is important if you want to see the fork tines. Alternately, you can pitch the edges with two fingers on one hand and your knuckle on the other–as you would a pie crust. I think this looks nicer).
5. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. [You can also freeze the pies for 3 days–you don’t need to thaw, and they bake for the same amount of time.]
[This recipe is really remarkable. The dough turns out bakery=quality, but you need to be sure not to overknead or work it, so the flour doesn’t develop gluten and become tough. Last year, I used frozen butter and mixed the dough with my fingers, and the result was fantastic. This year, I used the cold butter, still mixing it with my fingers instead of a food processor, and it still worked fine–but the food processor is more fool=proof, I think].
5 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
1 lb. (4 cubes) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons (you can let out a small gasp–but remember, you yourself are not eating 1 lb. of butter! It’s divided up!)
3/4c.-1 c. ice water
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and pulse just until pea-size chunks remain. With machine running, add water through the feed tube, and process just until dough starts to come together. Transfer mixture t a work surface and bring together to form a dough. Divide dough in thirds. Flatten each piece into a disk, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).