I've recently become a believer that good things can come in small packages. As I'm sure you've realized already, I'm typically a "more is better" kind of gal. More life-changing vacations that I can't really afford (maybe South Africa next year?). More good wine than I should probably drink (more on this after my Finger Lakes trip this coming weekend). More plans with friends than I have time to fit in (I'm a terrible over-extender). More (and bigger) goals to work towards (Mt. Rainier tops my 2010 list - bring on the crampons!).
But lately I'm making a concentrated effort to embrace the smaller gifts for what they are. In the past year I've gotten so wrapped up in the bigger events, decisions, and general life "plans" that I haven't paid enough attention to what's right in front of me. So, I'm changing my perspective to focus more on the little every day gifts that shape my life. This blog was a start -- a small step on the way to my bigger plan of owning my own bakery. And, your comments are my little gifts. You create a blog and put it out into the cyber-world and know for a fact that a few of your friends read it (because you make a point to send it to them on a daily basis), but that's kind of all you can expect. What's such a gift are the comments and sweet emails from old friends, new friends and fellow-foodie lovers (future friends!) telling me they're enjoying what I'm doing as much as I'm enjoying doing it. So thanks for the props!
Other small-package gifts I've noticed lately:
1. Flowers in my flower boxes surviving against all odds
2. My puppy dog stalking squirrels the Central Park
3. Rainbow carrots and turnips at the farmer's market in Union Square
4. The discovery of Dunkin' Donuts caramel latte lite's (OMG, so yum -- and this coming from a Starbucks girl)
In the spirit of good things in small packages, I dug out that fabulous Apple Galette recipe from a few weeks back and modified it into hand-pies, the perfect on-the-go fall snack. I also added sliced pears to the apple mix for a little surprise in the middle.
I told you how well I rocked the pate brisee for my last galette... umm I did it again. And this time, instead of 1 1/2 sticks of butter, I subbed in a 1/4 cup of vegetable shortening. At a Pies & Tarts class I took at Whole Foods on Bowery, they mentioned that layering the "fats" gets you the flakey pie crusts that we all try for -- they're right!
Use the same recipe for the pate brisee from my galette, and follow these directions (taken from SmittenKitchen's adaptation of Martha Stewart's recipe). It bakes up quite a few pies, so share the love -- it might just be the small package that someone needs to realize their own good little things.
Apple & Pear Hand Pies
On a lightly floured work surface, roll one half of dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 5-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet.
Place apple and pear slices onto one-half of each round, overlapping slices. Lightly brush egg around the edge of the covered half of each round. Fold remaining dough over to enclose, forming a half moon. Gently press edges together to seal. Brush the tops of each pie with egg. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each pie. Sprinkle generously with sanding sugar.
Bake at 375 F until golden brown.