This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mott’s. The opinions and text are all mine. #MottsAppleswap
Sundays are my favorite family days, and really the only day of the week that I get to unplug with everyone. We normally watch movies on the couch, make sheet forts and pretty much just take the day to unwind from everything, but this week we mixed things up a bit and took a day trip to a local apple orchard. Right now is prime apple season, and weekends in October are the perfect time to head out there. The orchard we go to is the largest in the state, and they charge per barrel of apples that you can roam their hundred+ acre grounds and pick from the trees. When we get there, we head up to the barn and grab some baskets or a wagon, then set out for however long we want.
I love getting lost in the orchard, and the kids are absolutely smitten with finding the best apples they can. There are tons of varieties, and it is a really great way to spend time with the family doing something that breaks with the same old weekend laziness. We live in the South, so it is still fairly warm outside right now, and fall days are amazing for outdoor activities. I do a lot of cooking with apples, and with the holidays coming right around the corner, we made sure to come home with enough to cover everything. The kids had an absolute blast, but I couldn’t wait to get home and start baking!
Since it was already late in the afternoon when we got home, I decided to whip up my tried-and-true favorite mini pies and add some cookie sticks in to make them pie pops. These take less than 30 minutes to whip up, and they are great for the whole family!
These pies are made with a classic pie crust on the outside while the inside is stuffed with fruit filling. I have found that swapping out my usual oil or butter for a cup of Mott’s® Applesauce from Walmart helps keep them in line with the smart ingredient choices that I like to stick to. It’s a great way to cut calories and add moisture, and 1/2 cup of Original Applesauce is just 110 calories compared to 960 in 1/2 cup vegetable oil. It’s great as an oil substitute in almost anything, plus it adds a hint of apple flavor, which is perfect for my pies! You can pick up a 24 or 46 oz at your local Walmart.
I only used apples for the filling, but the flavor possibilities are endless here! I’ve also made strawberry, cinnamon/sugar, or even s’mores pies and they turned out perfectly! Now let’s get to the recipe. This will make around 8 pastries. Here is what you need:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup Mott’s® Applesauce
- 1/2 cup ice water (more or less depending on preference)
The very first thing that you are going to do is prepare your dough. It won’t take you long to mix, but it will need to sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before you use it, so make sure to either give yourself plenty of time or make the dough the night before you need it. Now, I normally use butter or oil in my pie crusts, but I’m starting to experiment with substituting smarter ingredients lately. When I heard that applesauce could be used in place of oil, I just had to try it and have been using it ever since!
To start your dough, grab a large bowl and add flour and salt to it. After that, add in your applesauce and mix it up with a pastry cutter or fork until you have a mealy texture.
Next, add in your ice water one tablespoon at a time and work it in until you have dough that doesn’t stick to your hands. I like to stay around 4 tablespoons of water, but how much you need to use will depend on a number of factors so make sure to add in *just* enough water to give you a nice workable dough. Once your dough is formed roll it into a ball, wrap tightly with cling wrap and set in the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes. While your dough is chilling you can prepare your apples. This is super simple, and all you need to do is cut them into small cubes and mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon. You can leave it at that, but I went a step further here and cooked them a little before hand just to really bring out the brown sugar and cinnamon flavors.
Once your dough is chilled, go ahead and get your area ready, then preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Now roll out your dough. Cut into circles with a cookie cutter, and place a cookie stick in the center of each one. Top everything with a small spoonful of apples.
Next, add the tops of your pies, and then brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, and then they are ready to serve!
If you want to add an extra touch, mix up 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tsp milk and drizzle over your cooled pies. Yum!