Friday, September 16, 2011

Project Lunch: Apple Pie Purses

To celebrate Fall (and the apple theme at our co-op preschool this month,) I chose mini apple pies as this month's Kids Cooking Class recipe. I found a fun, kid-friendly pie recipe online, where the kids mix the crust ingredients in a plastic baggie, but I didn't want to do the math to divide it up so each kid could have their own bag, and didn't want to have to go over them all again to make sure it was really combined properly. So I opted for a little biscuit-pie purse-type recipe.

Mini Apple Pie Biscuit Purses
Makes 10
12-oz refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough tube [We could only find 16-oz and 10-oz, so we went with a 4-pack of the smaller ones.]
1 medium-sized tart apple, peeled and finely chopped [I chose Granny Smith]
1/4 cup raisins [I skipped these. I hate cooked raisins, and they aren't always popular with kids anyway. Plus, who ever heard of apple pie with raisins? Ice cream, yes. Raisins? No.]
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp butter [read on...]

Step 1 [Steps 1 and 2 can be done in any order]: Combine apples, sugar and cinnamon. Oh, and raisins. [Yuk.] Mix well.
I had pre-prepped the apples, since I didn't want to be doing a lot of knife-work with a bajillion kids underfoot [Okay, 7.] So to help them feel like part of the process, I passed around the bowl and asked them to smell and look and try to guess what the little food bits could be. One boy said they looked like fruit, which was going to be one of the questions I asked (fruit or veggie?) to help them along. Yay! Then I let everyone taste some, and they all identified the apples right away.
I let the kids sniff the cinnamon (I had no takers for taste-testing it.) For the sugar, I poured some out onto a plate and let them taste it (always a very popular one, for some reason...)
Then the kids took turns adding in a teaspoon of cinnamon or tablespoon of sugar. I was making a triple batch, just to be sure I'd have enough that they could each make a few. So that meant 3 tsp of cinnamon and 9 tbsp of sugar. I only put in 7 tbsp, and there were no complaints.
Whoever wanted to mix got a turn at mixing, and then everyone got to reach in and take a bit to taste-test. I think the bowl went around two or three times... it was very tasty, apparently!

Step 2: Roll out the biscuits into 3"-4" circles.
This time, I cleverly brought along flour to prevent sticking! Score! But I could only find one of my two rolling pins, and my plastic pastry mat kept curling back up. Luckily my hostess had nice little rubber pastry mats, plus extra rolling pins!

Step 3: Place a tablespoonful of apple mixture onto each biscuit and dot with butter.
Um. Oops. Totally forgot the butter. But at 2 tbsp/10 biscuits, that would be roughly 6 tsp of butter, so a little more than 1/2 tsp butter patty on each one. And since my biscuits were smaller than the 12-oz package, we did roughly 2 tsp of mixture, depending on who did the scooping!

Step 4: Pull/pinch sides of dough together at the top to form a purse.
We had a few sealed purses, but mostly open pouch-looking things. But the apples stuck to the dough while baking, so they all turned out okay.

Step 5: Place in muffin tin cups and bake at 375 F for 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown.
The recipe I got this from said to bake in ungreased muffin pans, but mine have grunge permanently affixed to the bottoms, and I know from past experience that this biscuit dough sticks to paper liners, so I PAM'ed my tins, and they popped out great and weren't all greasy or anything... although I had forgotten the butter...
Darnit! I forgot to take my muffin tins home too! Good thing my hostess and I go to the same co-op preschool and our kids are on the same soccer team... I'm sure I'll see her again soon! Plus she lives, like, only 6 or 7 blocks away... Uphill though.

Step 6: Enjoy!
I wrote down on a piece of paper which kid had made which one (based on the muffin tin slot it went into,) and then labeled paper bowls to put them in after cooking, but no one asked to verify that they were eating THEIR apple pie, so maybe I needn't have bothered.
They were tasty, but the butter would have made them a little moister and, well, buttery-er! Since the tops end up being big clumps of dough (with fewer apples, since they tend to shrink a little and stick to the bottom,) the butter would have been nice. Ah well.

I had 7 kids, aged 1-1/2 to 5ish (6?) The 1- and 2-year-olds mostly did tasting, but they each rolled out a biscuit and ate it after they were cooked. The older kids each made two. Then I made one for each of the MOMS, so we could try them too!
This was definitely something that kids aged 5+ could do mostly on their own (after you cut the apples.) They might even be able to do most of the peeling. Since the measurements don't have to be exact, as long as they don't grossly overdo it on the cinnamon and sugar, they can even measure it themselves. And since the apples baked right in, even when the tops weren't sealed, as long as someone can help them keep the apples in the dough pouch to get it into the tin, they don't need to do a perfect job sealing the purses either.
The 2-year-old was able to help pour in measured ingredients (she could have done it on her own, but my spoons were heavy and linked on a ring, so I didn't want the whole bunch to unbalance her hand.) And even the 18ish-month-old was able to help pour in measured ingredients (with me helping hold the spoon steady and get it all into the bowl,) and even did a rudimentary job of rolling out her biscuit.
All-in-all, a very kid-friendly recipe!

I had brought along the book Apple Pie Tree, to read while they cooked, but the kids were having fun playing, and I was busy making sure everyone washed flour and biscuit dough off their hands and took off flour-y aprons before joining the collective, so the kids were all scattered. By the time I was ready to read, the timer went off. So Z and I read it together later.
The story follows the cycle of an apple tree through the seasons, and even incorporates how some animals interact with the tree and the process (bees pollinate the flowers, birds nest in the tree, etc.) A fun book for season-awareness and nature cycles. Plus there's a recipe for apple pie in the back!
I'm having a problem with my Amazon Associates links, so I'll update later with a picture of the cover.

Check out some other fun storybook-related activities and lessons!

Shibley Smiles
Also linking up with:

 Classified: Mom
It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow


  1. These look yummy. Reading while that baked was such a great idea!

  2. I used to bake with my Kindergarten students and they used to have so much fun. This reminded me of that. I love that even the littlest ones could help. I am a new follower from the Sunday Showcase. Vicky @

  3. I'll have to try this with R. They look really good. I love the mystery ingredients taste testing! And I love the idea of reading while it cooked. I officially have FAR too many things I'd like to do for this season.

  4. we made something similar using crescent roll dough - super easy & they were delicious.

    Thanks so much for sharing & linking to the Sunday Showcase! I hope to see you again this week!



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