I make all kind of good stuff from crabapples. Fact is, I love crabapples. Well, I love wild apples of all sort, but the really neat thing about crabapples is that they are abundant - there are not a lot of people taking advantage of them - and they have a long growing season.
I have already collected wild crabapples as late as the end of October.
Let me just say for the outset that I am not a baker. What I do bake or cook is for the taste, not necessarily the appearance. I am sure that you can make these hand pies look better than I can. The question really is - can you make them taste as good as mine?
This article is more about using crabapples for something other than jelly, sauce and pectin than it is about baking skills. Use your own crust recipe, if you have one, or do I like do - just buy a box of Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix or Jiffy Pie Crust mix.
You have to remove the stems, blossoms, core and seeds before you use these in pies, whether hand pies or in a full sized Crabapple Pie .
It is actually less work preparing crabapples for pies and hand pies than it is making jelly, pectin or crabapple sauce.
Big TV with football game on
Comfortable living room chair
A couple of squirts of ReaLemon. If you do not have any ReaLemon then use real lemon - lol. This is to add to the water to keep the cut up crabapple chunks from browning.
A box of pie crust mix
( whatever you usually use. If you don't have a crust preference get a box of Jiffy or Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix. They have enough mix in the box to make two 9 inch crusts ).
Enough cut up pieces of cleaned crabapples to make 6 cups. This is actually more than you need for the hand pies but the leftover crabapple chunks will be used for another project - Chunky Crabapple Pancake Syrup.
If you want to forego the pancake syrup project use 3 cups of crabapple pieces and cut the other ingredients in half.
4. Procedure / technique
This tutorial is based on using those crabapples that are big. In crabapple terms big is defined as over 1 inch.
I have never tried making a pie or hand pies from those very small crabapples. I don't plan on doing that any time soon.
Here are some fine looking crabapples. These are the kind of crabapples that you want to use for Crabapple Pie.
I have found the easiest way to prepare the crabapples is to get comfortable in the living room in front of the TV while a football game is on. Put a bowl for the waste in an area near you and another bowl with water in it that has RealLemon squirts in it.
Cut off nice chunky 'sides' from the washed crabapples. Four cuts and the only thing left behind is the core, stem end and blossom end.
These cores can actually be further processed to extract juice for jelly or pectin.
The good pieces go into the bowl of ReaLemon water.
As you cut the crabapples up put the good slices in water that has ReaLemon in it to prevent crabapples from browning.
When you have cut up enough crabapples to equal 6 cups put them all in a pot.
Mix in 1/4 of a teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 - 1 cup of sugar ( crabapples vary in sweetness so sugar amount will vary to individual preference ). Turn heat to medium-low, stirring while heating.
Heat only long enough to where the cut up crabapple pieces start to soften. Keep checking the pieces like you would do cooking potatoes - stick them with a fork or knife tip.
Since you will be baking the hand pies for 40 minutes you don't want the crabapple pieces too soft to start with.
Cook the crabapple chunks in a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar until the chunks are softened up a bit.
Dump the softened pieces into a container and let them marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Go do something else for a day or two.
Put the cooked crabapple chunks in a lidded container and place in the refrigerator for a few days to marinate.
After a couple of days of marinating it's time to finish this project.
Prepare the dough in the crust mix box. Then separate the ball of dough into two equal balls.
Prepare the pie crust dough on a lightly floured surface and separate into two equal sized doughballs.
Go To Part 2