What would you do if you woke up with nothing to do? This is the question on many folks’ minds with the recent government shutdown and furloughs. Living in the DMV area, I have a bunch of friends who work for the government and are finding empty days to fill. Their spouse is off to work and the kids are off to school, and you can only walk the dog so many times. Most (all?) are not getting paid either, so jetting off to the Caribbean doesn't really make any fiscal sense. So now what?
I've seen some are spending the time volunteering in their kids' schools, something they don't generally have the time to do when working. Some are getting caught up in their volunteer "work" - reports that need to be sent, emails that need to be responded to, etc. There are books that are finally being read, closets finally getting cleaned out.
My brother is spending his days cooking and let me borrow this recipe to share with you. I was going to call them "Furlough Pies", but okay, that just doesn't sound as appetizing. So here's his first Guest post about these cute, quick, yummy Mini Apple Pies. (You read, while I go dice some apples.)
Many people are intimidated by baking because they think it is this complicated, precise task. On the one hand, that makes those of us who bake look like culinary masters. However, the secret is that many recipes are neither complicated nor precise. I offer you Exhibit A: Mini Apple Pies. This idea was in the back of my mind because I saw a picture of some a few weeks ago--I can't recall where. Since we had a handful of apples that weren't being eaten, I threw these together last Saturday.
- pie crust (store-bought is fine)
- about five small apples (enough to fill your cups,
- some sugar (brown, white, whatever you have)
- a squirt of some citrus juice
- vanilla ice cream
Here's the recipe:
- Peel, core, and slice about five small apples. Toss them with maybe a quarter-cup of sugar (brown, white, whatever) and a squirt of hmm... try orange juice.
- Cut your pie dough slightly larger than a muffin cup (Use a small bowl or anything round or freehand). If you ball up the scraps, you can probably roll the ball out into another crust or two. Tuck (don't press!) the crust into your muffin tins.
- Fill each cup with your apple mixture. Top each with a half-pat of butter (more or less). If you have extra dough, top your mini-pies. If you don't have any extra dough, just tell people that they're tarts.
- Bake as instructed on your dough packaging.
- Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream!
If you look up Apple Pie in different cookbooks or online, you'll get dozens of different recipes. But most if not all the recipes include some amount of apples, sugar, crust, and butter. That's my clue that apple pie recipes are not that delicate and don't need a whole bunch of precision. Some other desserts you can try? Cookies. Start with a basic cookie recipe (oatmeal or chocolate chip are really flexible) and you can put pretty much anything you want in it (nothing too moist, though) and they should taste good.
Recipe note from Frances: You can also add cinnamon in your sugar mixture, as I did in my Campfire Apple Crisps. I usually use lemon juice, but I could see where orange might be a bit sweeter.
Share in the Comments: What are you doing with your unexpected days off?
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