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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Apple Pockets

Another "not-quite-a-recipe" for the lazy cook's repertoire. Apple Pockets I like a nice "turnover" but I'm fonder of those made with bread dough than with pie crust dough. Here's my version of a bread dough apple turnover that's... not turned over. Egg Bread crust:
Dry ingredients: 4 cups of white or mixed wheat and white flour half teaspoon salt tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons active dry yeast Wet ingredients: 2 eggs 1 cup warm water (115 degrees F ought to do) couple of tablespoons oil
Mix dry ingredients in a non-metallic bowl. Add water/oil and mix. Add eggs. Mix well with hands. Knead lightly until it holds together well, cover and set aside in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes. Knead again until elastic & set aside, covered, in warm place while you mix the filling. See lazy cook's note at bottom. Filling: Note: you can mix up a buncha this stuff, cos if you have too much, you can just refirgerate it and use it for other things--top hot cerals, on/in pancakes, etc.
Apples-some moderately sharp ones (well, I certainly don't know how many you'll want to use, just grab four or five medium apples, ok?) Core and slice them. Leave the peels if you want; I do. Avoid "delicious" varieties like the plague. Winesaps, Johnathons, even some Fujis would do. Raisins Nuts-(NOT peanuts, real nuts) I like walnuts, pecans or cashews. Cinnamon. Do NOT use pre-ground cinnamon powder. Get some cinnamon sticks and make your own in your coffee grinder you've reserved for spices. (Don't have one? Don't whine to me. Get one.) To taste, of course. (You'll be surprised how much richer freshly-ground cinnamon is. You'll use less than you otherwise might. And it's cheaper than old pre-ground stuff in the long run.) Nutmeg--same as for cinnamon: get some nutmegs and grind your own fresh powder. About 1/8 as much nutmeg as cinnamon. Ginger-I use crystalized ginger as perhaps the best compromise. A couple of small "rocks" for every four or five apples. Cloves-four or five cloves per four or five apples. More to taste. :-) Whole cloves, ground freshly, of course. Sugar-one-half to three-quarters cup for every four or five apples. Butter or oil-maybe a quarter cup or less.
Prep? Easy. Pre-heat the oven to about 350 F now. Core and slice the apples as mentioned above; prepare the other ingredients as mentioned; put it all in a bowl and mix it up til all the apple slices are well-covered in the goodies. Pop it, covered loosely, in the microwave on high for about four minutes, then re-mix the "apple goody" stuff. Knead the dough again for a bit, then roll out onto a floured surface. Now, divide the dough into four parts, if you want VERY LARGE pockets, more if you want smaller. [Forgot this next step earlier: don't you forget it!] Spread butter or margarine on the rolled-out dough pieces. Put filling on rolled out dough, fold over and pinch shut. Place on well-oiled baking sheet. You can give the tops of the dough an egg wash at this time, if you want. Pop 'em in the oven and give 'em about 25 minutes (oven temps vary, size of pockets makes a difference. Check back often after about 20 minutes). Lazy cook's note: When you're feeling really, really, realy lazy, you can cut your prep involvement as I... um, have been known to do:
1.) Mix the bread dough in a bread maker on the "pizza dough" setting. 2.) Make one HUGE pocket and cut slices off that to serve. This does take a lil longer to bake, but who cares? Oven time isn't work.
Oh, and do feel free to substitute. I can recall as though it were only yesterday (Oh! It WAS yesterday!) running out of sugar and substituting... cinnamon sugar I'd made up for use on some quick cinnamon toast. So there was a lil extra cinnamon in the mix. So? (Yum. Mom used to make cinnamon toast by buttering bread slices, sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar and placing the slices under the broiler. The untoasted side of her cinnamon bread was always an interesting contrast in texture. I just do something similar in our toaster oven.) No rasins? Try dates or... prunes! No nuts? Go buy some. Low on flour? I do NOT recommend substituting garbanzo bean flour. Don't go there. NOTE: I did say you could divide the dough and make more, smaller ones didn't I? Some email indicates that wasn't real clear. If you want to make "normal" sized apple pockets (like you may be used to seeing turnovers), you can make a good dozen out of these ingredients. But why? :-) BTW, as I ought to have noted when I originally posted this, you can use the egg bread dough very effectively with leftover Whatever Stew as filling, for a hearty main dish. Indeed, Apple Pockets originally grew out of finding an alternate use for some leftover dough after making some meat "pasties" out of... some very beefy leftover Whatever Stew.