Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies

Last week Seth and I went to the farmers market for a fruit run, and also to have a quick Sunday breakfast. The market has quite a gathering of food stalls. I was in the mood for something savory, and Seth was in the mood for something sweet. Seth decided to wait in the line for a Belgium waffle. While Seth was waiting in line for his waffle, I quickly grabbed a mushroom empanada at a nearby stall and joined Seth again while he waited patiently in line.  As I was munching on my empanada, it got me thinking about hand pies. I love to make hand pies. These blackberry-apple hand pies would be perfect for a Spring picnic. Gather your posse, pack some fried chicken, potato salad, iced tea and these sweet little pies. They are the perfect end to a great picnic.

Blackberry-apple hand pies picnic

Who’s ready for a Spring picnic?

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Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies Collage copy

Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies

recipe adapted from fine cooking

yield ~ 1 dozen (3 inch) hand pies

One recipe of my “fearless pie crust” or pie crust of your choice

6 oz. container fresh blackberries (washed, dried) and cut in half

1 Lg. pink lady, fuji, or gala apple, peeled, cored and diced small

1/2 Cup lightly packed golden brown sugar

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

For egg wash: Mix 1 lg. egg yolk + 1 tsp. water in a small bowl

For sprinkling: coarse sugar

1. Prepare pie crust ahead of time and let it rest (by chilling in fridge) at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

2. In a medium bowl combine all of the filling ingredients except the egg wash and coarse sugar. Roll out pie crust until thin. Using a 3-4 inch cutter, cut out rounds of crust. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto each round and brush along outer edge lightly with egg wash. Try not to get the edges too wet or the crusts will not seal. Place another round on top and crimp with a floured fork to seal. Brush with egg wash and cut 3-4 vents in top of pies.

3. Bake pies in a 400 degree F preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Caramel Apple Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple, spice and everything nice. That is what fall baking is all about. I made this cake for a very dear friend of mine; Annie who loves spice cakes, and she has a lot of spice herself.  A three layer moist cake with grated apples in the batter, notes of caramel and  lots of spice. Fill and slather this wonderful cake with a dose of rich indulgent cream cheese frosting, top with a generous caramel drizzle and you will make friends fast. The apples are made by tinting marzipan into various apple colors, shaping into small rounds and gently pierced with a chocolate jimmy. Happy Birthday Annie!

Notice the dark green apple top left with the worm sticking out of it? that was Seth’s idea. He is so creative. Hmmm, I wonder where he gets that from…..

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1  1/2 Cups unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup brown sugar, packed

2 Cups granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. molasses

1 Tbsp. golden syrup (such as Lyles Golden Syrup)

6 Lg. eggs, room temp

1 Tbsp. vanilla

3 Cups cake flour

1  1/4tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 Cup sour cream

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and shredded

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Purchased Caramel topping (for drizzle)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 3 nine inch pans by spraying with nonstick baking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugars on medium high-speed until light and fluffy. Add in the molasses and syrup. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and alternate with the sour cream in 2 increments. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition and end with flour addition. Stir in the apples until fully combined.

3. Divide the batter between 3 prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes and then remove from the pans and allow to cool completely. Fill and frost with cream cheese frosting. Drizzle with purchased caramel topping.


2 (8 oz. packages) (1 lb. total) cream cheese, softened

1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/4 Cup sour cream

2 teaspoons  vanilla

2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar

(optional)* 8 oz. white chocolate melted and cooled

Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fill and frost cooled cake or frost cupcakes with frosting.

* Suzie variation: Sometimes I like to add the white chocolate. It gives the frosting a little more body and adds a really rich flavor.

Apple Fritters

Fall is my favorite baking season. Quite frankly Fall is my favorite everything when it comes to living in San Francisco. I love San Francisco and where I live; I can walk to the bank, the library, the park, and if I don’t feel like driving, all I have to do is walk 3 blocks and the street car will take me downtown.  Some days though it’s a bit hard to put up with the dense thick fog that blankets my neighborhood during summertime, and I do mean blanket. When you look out the window and everything is white and cold, it’s hard to get motivated. The temperature gauge reads 52 more than it does 72. During the entire month of July and August I sleep in flannel pajamas and the heating blanket is on almost every night. If you’ve never experienced the San Francisco fog you probably think I’m talking crazy talk but for reals this is the truth. Ever since I moved to San Francisco 14 years ago; I now worship Fall as it means a serious change in weather. Fall in San Francisco means no more marine layer. It is actually our Summer in terms of normal weather. The biggest secret I can share is that October is THE BEST month to visit San Francisco, but September holds promise as well. The ever-present fog lifts and the sun breaks through. Apples of every type start filling the market and this means the precursor of serious baking season. Welcome the apples. Bring on the apple fritters. I might even eat one while sitting in the sun in my summer pajamas in the backyard….

Apple Fritters

recipe: adapted from Cook’s Country


  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups vegetable peanut oil


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


1.  Spread prepared apples in single layer on paper towel–lined baking sheet and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in large bowl. Whisk cider, eggs, and melted butter in medium bowl until combined. Stir apples into flour mixture. Stir in cider mixture until incorporated.

2.  Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. Scoop one tablespoon size of batter into the oil. Fry, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining batter. Let fritters cool 5 minutes

3.  Meanwhile, whisk confectioners’ sugar, cider, cinnamon, and nutmeg in medium bowl until smooth. Dunk each fritter in glaze. Let glaze set 10 minutes. Serve.

French Apple Tart

You may have noticed a lapse in my blogging. I was knocked down with some evil virus this past week and it hit me hard. I lost all energy and motivation-for anything. Baking, as much as I love; took a back seat. I’m happy to report I am back on the mend but not exactly high on motivation yet. To ease back into my bakingdom I knew it would have to be something easy. French apple tart to the rescue. I even have a pastry crust product I like to buy [French Picnic] that comes all stamped out into a perfect round. You don’t even have to unfold anything or coax out any annoying folds on the pastry. I usually make my own pie crust but I am feeling uber lazy. You just slide out that puppy from the box and thaw and you are good to go. Good quality applesauce, fresh apples, butter and sugar and that’s pretty much it. Bon appetit!

French Apple Tart

9 inch pastry crust ;unbaked

2-3 Tablespoons applesauce

4-5 golden delicious apples; sliced thin

soft butter

granulated sugar

This is not so much a recipe, but a process. You could take any size of crust depending on how large a tart you want to make. Start by removing the peels from the apples and cut off the “cheeks” from the apples and slice into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick. Toss the apples in bowl with a little lemon juice or “fruit fresh”.  (You can usually find it by the canning products in the grocery store). I personally like fruit fresh powder as it does not add any moisture to the apples. Just sprinkle a little fruit fresh and toss your apples to coat. It prevents the apples from oxidizing while you prepare your tart.

Spread a thin layer of applesauce over the tart crust and then shingle the apple slices; to create a decorative patter. Brush the apples with soft butter and then sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake the tart at 400 degrees F until the apples are slightly brown around the edges and the apples are soft; about 30 minutes. Cool the tart on a wire rack.

Apple Coffee Cake



Bake Sale on April 28th to benefit Share Our Strength. Come out and show your support and buy some fabulous baked goods from local San Francisco food bloggers.  All the money goes to this wonderful charity! I hope to see you all there.


Apple Coffee Cake

You ever get a little over zealous when buying fruit? Sometimes I buy too many apples and then I realize I better do something with them and quick. Time to use up those apples that no one is eating! I think this recipe would be good with other fruit like blackberries, raspberries or plums, so feel free to play around with it and see what you can come up with! This recipe is adapted from “Moistest apple cake” from Eat Cook Love. If you’re a purest you can leave out the nuts. I like a little crunch in my coffee cake.

“Moistest Apple Cake” (with a name like that- how can you resist?)

1  1/4 Cups sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter; room temp

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

6 oz. cream cheese; room temp

2 Lg. eggs

1  1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

1  1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1  1/2  tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

3 Cups chopped peeled apples (about 2 large)

1 Large apple peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch slices for top

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

2. Reserve 1/4 Cup sugar for later.  Cream one Cup sugar with the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the vanilla bean paste until well blended. Add eggs one at a time and beat until blended after each egg. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to creamed mixture and beat on low until blended.

3. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Take 2 Tbsp. of the sugar/cinnamon mixture and add to the chopped apples and mix to coat. Fold the apple mixture into the batter. Spread the batter  into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining sugar/cinnamon mix. You don’t have to use all the sugar cinnamon mixture; use enough to coat the top of the cake nicely. Top the cake with reserved apple slices in a decorative pattern.

4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides and toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the top gets too brown to quickly; cover loosely with foil.

Apples In A Blanket

I came across this recipe by another blogger. I thought it was quite genius. Simple and delicious. Perfect party fare. Check out her blog; do you not just love her with a name like this?? her blog is: Her name is Jonna. Go sister! Do you find it daunting sometimes to come up with a recipe to bring to party? Sure, you can bring brownies or cookies. I just thought this was such a darn cute idea. These are perfect finger party food. If you want to guild the lilly you could make some salted caramel sauce and dip them in caramel. Yum.

Apples In A Blanket

(yield: 16 apple bites)

(recipe adapted from Jonna at


Your favorite pie crust recipe. (enough for a double crust pie) (See my recipe for “Fearless pie crust” if you need a recipe).

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, and cut with an apple core/slicer to equal 16 equal pieces.

1-2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl place the apple wedges and toss with the lemon juice; this is to prevent the apples from oxidizing. Take 1/2 cup of the sugar-cinnamon mixture and combine with the apples. Reserve the rest of the 1/2 cup sugar mixture for step 4 of the recipe.

3. Roll out your pie dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut strips of dough about 2 1/2 inches wide x 4 inches long. Place each apple wedge at the end of and on top of one strip of pie dough and roll up like a pig in a blanket. Pinch the end where the crust comes together to form a seal.

4. Take each “apple blanket” and roll in the reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place each apple blanket on a parchment lined baking sheet or Silpat lined baking sheet to prevent sticking. Chill for 30 minutes. Brush each apple blanket with heavy cream. Sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar.

5. Bake the blankets at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool and serve.

Easy Apple Galette

Apples of all kinds are popping up in the stores. It is nice to see all of the different varieties of apples now a days. One of my favorite apples for pie is the pink lady. I think the secret to a good apple pie is using a combination of different apples. If I’m making a big pie I like to use up to 4 different types of apples. I must have made this apple galette like a million times. I somehow figured out several years ago that I like golden raisins and almonds in my pie; but play around with the recipe and make it your own. Omit the nuts if you don’t care for it. I like a bit of texture in my apple pie and the surprise of the thin crunch of sliced almonds gives it a nice contrast to the tender apple filling inside.

My parents were visiting one Fall and we were leaving for the airport in a couple of hours and I made this galette right before they left. It was a nice send off for the flight so their bellies were full and they were happy. The only problem was a few days later my Mom called and said “I’d give anything for a piece of that darn pie right now”. If you follow my recipe for pie crust you can double this filling and make 2 galettes and take one to a friend (or your Mom) or bring it a church potluck.

Apple Galette

1 pie crust; rolled out to 14 inches diameter (see my recipe for Fearless pie crust)

Apple Filling (enough for one galette)

2 Granny Smith apples

2 Pink Lady apples (or Gala, Honeycrisp or Fuji)

1 Golden Delicious apple

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup flour (if filling is too runny; add a couple more Tbsp. flour)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. Apple pie spice

1/4 Cup golden raisins

1/4 Cup sliced almonds

Streusel: (optional)

1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

1/4 Cup walnuts, chopped (optional) (I know it’s kind of weird to have 2 kinds of nuts in this recipe; but I love it)

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon (I swear by Saigon cinnamon-McCormick makes a nice one)

pinch of salt

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Half n Half (for brushing the crust once galette is assembled)

1. Roll out your pie crust to 12-14 inches and place on a parchment lined sheet pan; keep cold in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble.

2. Peel all the apples and cut off the “cheeks” of the apples; leaving behind the core. Cut each apple cheek into 1/4 inch thick slices and toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Toss the apples with the rest of the ingredients: Sugar, flour, apple pie spice, salt, raisins, and nuts.

3. Make the streusel topping and set aside.

4. Remove your pie crust from the refrigerator and mound your apple filling in the center of the crust;leaving a border of about 2 inches for folding in the crust. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling.

5. Fold the edges of the crust around the filling to enclose. Brush with half n half and sprinkle with sugar.

6. Bake at 400º for about 40-50 minutes.

Happy Baking!


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