In this week’s Martin & Sylvia story "Apple Pies", Martin and Sylvia each try to be inventive with apple pie recipes for Mr. and Mrs. Brown’s pie contest. While Sylvia makes a more traditional pie with jam, honey, cinnamon, and oats, Martin gets really creative with a secret ingredient — bacon!
Though it seems as if it might be an odd combination, bacon and apples are actually quite delicious together. The saltiness of the bacon combined with the sweetness of the apples makes Martin’s idea a brilliant one. Add in a flaky, orange zest spiked crust and you’ve a pie that would win a blue ribbon at any contest.
In order to make these pies more child-friendly, instead of making one big pie, I’ve divided the pie crust recipe into four smaller pies. You could certainly make them in tiny pie pans, but–rather than buy extra kitchen equipment — I shaped mine into rustic pies by simply spooning the filling into the middle and folding up the “crust” edge. While they’re delicious with just the bacon and apples, if you want to make them even more creative, add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese to the top just before serving. Again, it might seem odd, but give it a try.
These pies will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, so feel free to make up a batch and reheat one or two as you need a warming treat.
Rustic Apple Bacon Mini-Pies
1 1/4 flour
1/4 cup ice water
1 stick (8 T) butter
1 orange (zest and juice)
4 slices bacon
2-3 T sugar
cheddar cheese (optional)
Use the bacon to make bacon crumbles. To do so, cook or bake the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Allow it to cool on a paper towel, then crumble or chop it into small pieces.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour and orange zest. Working quickly so that the butter stays cold, slice the butter into little cubes and toss them into the food processor. Pulse the food processor until the mixture appears crumbly, add the ice water, and continue pulsing until the dough just starts to come off the side of the bowl. (Alternatively, you can do this by hand. Just use a pair of forks to cut the butter into the flour. Add the water, then stir with the fork until the mixture clumps into a dough ball.)
Dump the dough onto your counter or cutting board, and divide into 4 equal pieces. Pressing the pieces into roughly round disks, layer them on a plate with pieces of plastic wrap in-between them. Put the plate in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. This is also a good time to pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
For the filling, peel, core, and thinly slice 2 apples. Toss the slices with the juice from the orange, about 1 tablespoon of sugar, and the bacon crumbles.
Pull the crusts back out of the fridge. Place the first dough disk between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and roll out into about an 8 inch circle. Flip the crust onto a bake sheet, and layer a handful of apple slices in the center, leaving about an inch around the edges free. Fold the edge of the crust up over the apple slices. Don’t worry about it being perfect, these are supposed to be rustic! Sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar on top, then repeat with the other three crusts. You may have some filling left over, but it makes a good snack while you’re waiting for the pies to bake.
Cook the pies at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they start to brown up just a little. To make this even more of a surprise recipe, serve with a few sprinkles of cheddar cheese on top.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.