As much as I love new food and new flavors in foreign places, sometimes I miss the taste of home.
Tangier is an incredibly sensory city. Every sight, smell, sound and texture is all-consuming and ever-changing. At first it all felt so foreign and chaotic, until I walked by a little Moroccan donut stand and the smell of fried dough and sugar suddenly brought me back to being up in Northern Minnesota, sitting by Lake Superior in the middle of July and eating a glazed donut from the World’s Best Donut Shop. Bizarre how just one little smell can transport you so far away from where you are.
|Late night parade in the Old Medina|
Now the chaos feels familiar to me. The hollering street vendors, sticking my hand into bags full of dried fruit and grains, music from the mosque rising up to the rooftops- this is my home for now. But I still like to walk past that donut stand and think about Grand Marais.
I wanted to recreate the smell of something comforting and familiar in my own kitchen (well, my friend’s kitchen, seeing as I’m ovenless) and what better way to do that than with classic, all-american apple pie. I completely missed the apple pie season... but better late than never, right?
Oh and since everything in Tangier is artisanal and unstructured, good luck finding any sort of measuring cup. I’ll give you guys the real measurements, but the way I actually measured everything was a little less exact:
Despite this, they still ended up absolutely delicious and my friend from Chicago and I savored the sweet flavors of apples, cinnamon and nostalgia.
Classic Apple Hand-Pies
makes 6 hand-pies
Dough (adapted from Oh, Ladycakes):
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vegan butter or margarine, cold
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
6-8 tbsp cold water
4 apples, peeled and sliced into small pieces
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp all-spice
1 tbsp flour
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients, using a fork or two knives. Once the mixture is crumbly, stick the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes to get everything nice and cold. Take it out and add the water, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough sticks together. Knead for a minute, form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the filling by combining the apples, water, butter, sugar and spices in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat on low and mix occasionally, cooking until the apples are soft. Stir in the flour to thicken and remove from heat.
Preheat your oven to 400º. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out onto a floured surface and using a bowl or cup, cut circles about 5 inches wide. Spoon the filling onto half of each circle, leaving a small border so that you can fold the dough in half and press the edges down with a fork. Poke holes in the top of each hand-pie for ventilation and sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.