Given the trials and tribulations of this unprecedented year, who can be blamed for wanting plenty of snuggle time underneath layers of warmth and comfort?
That’s why when I received samples of juicy, red Pazazz apples, I figured they rightfully deserved their own cocooning time, too. Under fold upon fold of buttery, flaky, golden crust, that is.
The joyfully named “Williamsburg Wrapples” are an ideal treat for this time of year when apples are at their peak. They’re like hand pies, but sport three layers of apples and four of crust instead, because they are not filled and folded over once like a turnover, but multiple times like a jelly roll. That means you get even more buttery pastry in every bite. A win-win.
With their very crisp texture, Pazazz apples work great in this recipe because they hold their shape well and their sweet yet gentle tart flavor doesn’t get lost in all those layers of crust.
Pazazz were developed by Honeybear Brands of Minnesota, a leading grower and developer of apple varieties. Indeed, they’re the ones who brought you the ever-popular Honeycrisp.
Mindful of how trying this year has been for everyone, Honeybear Brands has tried to inject a little lightness this season by adding playful emoji PLU stickers to the apples: “Satisfied,” “Happy,” ”Tears of Joy,” and “Hangary.” How fun is that? Although, I acknowledge that “Hangary” might best describe me at times, I actually scored the “Happy” one, so I can’t complain.
This brilliant recipe for “Williamsburg Wrapples” is from the updated and revised “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company) by Boston food editor Amy Traverso, who was a former associate food editor at Sunset magazine.
It’s the perfect cookbook for any apple aficionado, especially with its guide detailing the attributes of 70 different apple varieties, along with more than 100 recipes, both sweet and savory, to showcase them. Enjoy dishes such as “Squash and Apple Gratin,” “Braised Brisket with Apples and Hard Cider,” “Duck Panzanella with Apples and Thyme” and “Kentucky Apple Stack Cake.”
“Williamsburg Wrapples” originated at the Williamsburg General Store in Williamsburg, MA, where Traverso worked for a summer during college. She was so taken with them that she concocted her own version, adding lemon juice and lemon zest to the filling to really bring out the apple flavor. The apple filling gets a cozy warmth from a blanket of cinnamon, too.
The only things I changed in the recipe were the directions for cutting the butter for the dough into cubes, then freezing them, rather than trying to cut a frozen stick of butter into little pieces, which is not the easiest thing. I also tweaked the wording for wrapping the dough around the apples, as I found it a little confusing. If you find yourself at all perplexed, it helps to keep in mind that you are essentially making a flattened jelly roll, so the dough is being rolled up in one direction.
When the wrapples are cool, drizzle them with a simple glaze. These little pies can definitely be eaten out of hand. Or if you want to get a little fancier, serve on a plate and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of softly whipped cream. With their layer upon layer of crisp crust, and ample filling of tender, juicy, cinnamon-scented apples, the wrapples satisfy for breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert.
Wrapples might not be considered health food, per se, but apples, themselves, are definitely a great source of fiber and Vitamin C.
I can’t guarantee that an apple a day will keep a virus away. But tucked into a cute little hand pie, it surely will sweeten your life no matter what. And goodness knows, we could all use that right about now.
(Makes 8 servings)
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
3 large firm-tart apples (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, cored, and cut into very thin (about 1/8-inch thick) slices
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground lemon zest
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
First, make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and use your fingers to work them in by rubbing your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do. Stop when the mixture looks like wet sand with some pea-sized bits of butter remaining (try to work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt). Sprinkle 1/4 cup ice water on top and stir with a fork until the dough just begins to come together. If needed, add more ice water, one tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth — three times should do it. Gather the dough into a ball, then divide in half and press each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 50 minutes and up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine apple slices, sugar, lemon juice, and zest, and cinnamon. Stir well, let sit at room temperature until the dough is chilled.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set a rack to the middle position. Remove the first disk of dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out turning and flipping occasionally to prevent sticking, into a rectangle about 16 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 1/8 inch thick (if the dough becomes soft of sticky at any point during this process, put it in the freezer for 5 minutes). The long side should be facing you. Cut the dough from top to bottom into four strips, each about 4 inches wide and 12 inches long.
Now, roll up the wrapples. You’re basically making a jelly roll, only with apples as the filling. Lay four apple slices on the pastry about 4 inches from the bottom of the first strip. Overlap them like shingles. Use a bench scraper to help you fold the bottom 4 inches of dough over the apples. Layer a few more apple slices just above the seam, and fold dough over those slices, creating a roll. Flip the wrapple completely over, so that the remaining loose dough end is once again completely flat on your surface. Layer on a few more apple slices, then fold the remaining length of dough over. Press the edge of the dough on top of the wrapple to seal. The sides of the wrapple are left unsealed just like a jelly roll. Refrigerate uncovered. Repeat with remaining dough strips, then repeat with second disk of dough. You should have eight packets in all.
Arrange the packets on an ungreased baking sheet, put them in the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons water and whisk until smooth. Remove the wrapples from the oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack set over a baking sheet, cool to room temperature, and drizzle with the sugar glaze.
Adapted from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso
More Amy Traverso Recipes to Enjoy: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
And: Apple Brownies
Plus Another Recipe With Pazazz Apples: Apple Beehive
And My Favorite Apple Cake Recipe: Apple Snacking Spice Cake by Joanne Chang