Apple pie rum and drunken hand pies
Hooray for apple season! I am a big fan of an infusion style of apple pie rum, and Fall is a terrific time to make it.
Apple Pie Rum
Gigantic bottle of silver (not spiced) rum -- not high end. A notch above generic is sufficient
Couple of cinnamon sticks
Honey or maple syrup
A lot of apples. Bonus points for getting them from your yard or from friends
Core and half the apples. Do not peel them first. Do not make the pieces any smaller. Drop them in a seal-able bucket. We got ours from the local brewing supply store. Add spices + sweetener to taste. Seal it up with the rum and store it in a cool dark place for a week or two, shaking once a day.
When you're happy with it, you can start filtering it. We have been using my Aero-press, which I use to make my morning coffee, but it turns out it is also a really brilliant way to filter sediment out of rum. At the end of it, we still had a bunch of apples that had been sitting in rum for a couple of weeks, and it seemed like a shame to just throw them out. Plus, the apples soaked up a lot of rum, and we wanted to get as much of the liquor out of the apples as possible.
Enter the food processor with the grater blade! I ran the apples through the food processor, put the resulting product in muslin, then squeezed the liquid out. Repeat until all of the apples are grated up.
Again, it seemed like a shame to let the apples go to waste! Then we wondered how it would taste in pie? I didn't want to make a huge pie, so I started looking for hand pie recipes -- like this one for Salted Caramel Apple.
Only we didn't have any caramel. Or brown sugar to make caramel. But we did have a can of sweetened condensed milk! Enter this recipe for microwave dulce de leche.
Notes: I didn't have any sour cream on hand, so substituted a dessert yogurt. The dough was phenomenal! Very easy to work with. The microwave dulce de leche took longer to make than expected. I used the grated rum apples mixed with some of the dulce de leche, and about another half cup of sugar to offset the very strong taste of rum. I did not add any additional spices to the mixture, and I put an additional pat of dulce de leche on the apple before sealing it in the pie. We only salted 6 of them -- and left the others without salt. 3 were sea salt, and 3 were sea salt with a bit of Yakima smoked salt. I cut different vent shapes to indicate the type of pie it was. The recipe made about 26 pies, and I still had a quart of grated apple left. That was frozen for use in a future pie.
Because they baked in 15 minutes, and it takes about that long to assemble a half-dozen, I baked them in batches of 6. If you use flat metal cookie sheets, decrease the cooking time to 13 minutes. Insulated cookie sheets definitely yielded better results. (We own one of each)
Results: WOW! As Aaron put it, our house smells like the very best holiday candles you can buy. The crust was perfectly flaky, and they were just sweet enough. The caramel bubbled up through the vents, and the egg wash made them a lovely golden color. I will definitely be making these again.
Notes from a month or so later: Don’t freeze alcohol-fruit handpies to eat later. There was a reaction of some sort with freezing the fruit, and the pies were no longer sweet or tasty. Just sort of grumpy and sour.