Changed Plans

Sunday morning, bright and early. Bahahah who am I kidding? Sunday morning, I made my crème brulee French toast and Pat and I ate a leisurely breakfast while watching Adventure time (yes we’re quite into it) and then we met up with Julia at 2 PM and headed toward the catacombs. We were so excited to see the catacombs and be creeped out by the skeletons and skulls. Unfortunately when we got there, the line was 2 hours long and apparently the catacombs close at 4PM. Erm it was already 2:40. So we couldn’t get into the catacombs and went home.

 

Just kidding!

Instead of planning to wait for 2 hours and not even have a slim chance of getting into the catacombs, we headed towards Shakespeare and Co because Julia really wanted to check it out and I was dying to go back. I was debating whether to buy the Joy of French Cooking by Julia Child. I didn’t.

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We perused the bookstore, Julia fell in love with the little notes people had posted around the bookstore, I swooned over the nostalgic children’s books and Pat was wandering around. But it was awfully crowded, so we got over it pretty quickly and decided to leave. Well technically I was still searching for a book to buy (but we won’t get to that until the next day). So we left and wandered up past the Notre Dame to Rue de Rivoli to go to Angelina’s for a refreshing cup of hot chocolate.

We stopped by a funky looking art exhibit, well technically art studios, which were really interesting. I enjoyed it and Julia, Pat and a few French people got a kick out of my reaction when I went to take a closer look at the Eiffel towers and realized they were Eiffel tower dildos. Oops? That was embarrassing and, may have caused me to get a tad upset, but honestly, who likes getting laughed at by strangers? Not me. But they weren’t laughing at me, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. I just felt really silly and stupid. Anyway, we walked up 6 flights of stairs, stopping to wander through the studios. Encountering all sorts of art. There was art that reminded us of Coraline, lots of sexual art, nudes and really profound art. Let’s just say I got art-ed out. So we finally came out of the exhibit and headed to Angelina, starving and full of art.

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Angelina has a huge line and it’s a tad pricey, but in my opinion it’s all worth it. I also believe that they have the best hot chocolate in the entire world. It’s literally melted chocolate in a cup. So rich, thick and filling. WE also split a millefuille which is one of my favorites in Angelina. The pastry is so flakey and the custard is so delicious. However I do think just getting a hot chocolate is filling enough. If you want a pastry, I advise you share.

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After Angelina, despite being unbelievably full, we decided to go to the fondu place that serves wine in baby bottles. I had wanted to go since seeing photos of my friends there and Pat wanted to go because his friends had recommended it. So we looked up the address and headed off to the metro…

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And then we had our first metro mishap. After trying to rush into the metro, I got my arm caught in the door and Pat got left at the station! He got squished by the doors as well, but to be correct he got squished by two doors, the train doors and the outer platform doors. Yowch. We, that is Julia and I, yelled at Pat to meet us at the next station where we were transferring and waited breathlessly for 3 minutes until the next train came. Luckily Pat was on it and the crisis was averted.

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When we finally made it to the fondu place, called Refuge Des Fondus, it was just opening and we managed to sit own right away. It was such a cozy place, Julia and I had to hop over the table to get to our seats! There was no menu, the waiter simply asked if we wanted cheese or meat, red wine or white wine, and since there were three of us we got both cheese and meat and we all got red wine. In baby bottles!

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The meat ended up being oil fondue and the cheese was just regular cheese fondue. The dippings were simple, meat, potatoes and bread chunks. We cooked the meat in the oil and dipped the bread and potato in the cheese. It was absolutely delicious and despite being so full from Angelina’s, we ate almost everything. I even took a baby bottle home with me. I just had to. After dinner, Julia and I carefully and tipsily made our way back over the table and we left the restaurant and headed home.

If you’re ever in Paris, you have to make your way to Refuge Des Fondus, but try and get there around 7 because by 8 there’s a crowd of people waiting to get in!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

 

Addresses:

Angelina

226 Rue de Rivoli (Les Tuileries)

Paris, île-de-France

Refuge Des Fondus

17 Rue des 3 Fréres

Paris, île-de-France

The Layover, Mimi and Pat style

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Early Saturday morning, Pat and I had breakfast at the hostel and checked out. While we had to check out by 10:30, we had to wait a few hours before heading off to our apartment that we rented on airbnb (we were unable to check in until 2). Luckily we were able to stash our bags in their lockers for a few hours. Since we had a few hours, Pat and I hopped on a metro and made our way to the Notre Dame. It was my second time there, but it was still breathtakingly beautiful. It always reminds me of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not to mention it was it’s 850th anniversary so there was a giant gate before it and everything. Pat wasn’t too into the touristy stuff, but he did seem to enjoy wandering around the tower. I wanted to go up to the bell towers, but the line was crazy and well we didn’t really want to pay too much to go up.

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see…very blurry 😦

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So we just wandered around inside. I didn’t get too many photos because we weren’t allowed to use flash and it was so dark that everything came out blurry.

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But after the Notre Dame, Pat and I went to Berthillion, an ice cream store located on the Ile Saint-Louis, a tiny island in the middle of the Seine. According to Anthony Bourdain, the founder, Monsieur Berthillion, would not even give his sons the recipe for his ice cream! After finding it tucked away, Pat and I decided to give it a try. I was so excited! It was the first ice cream I had in a LONG time. I got a dark chocolate flavor and Pat got almond. They were both really delicious. Anthony Bourdain was right when he said it would “just blow the top of your head off.” We even got a second cone to split, salted caramel, because well that was the flavor I wanted originally and we came across it in another store selling Berthillion ice cream. Also because Pat is a sweetheart and knows that I’m obsessed with salted caramel.

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After demolishing our ice cream, we took a quick stop to look around Shakespeare and Company (I went back multiple times) and admired the books.

We also saw the bridges where couples attach locks to resemble their love. They attach a lock with their names carved into it and throw the key into the seine to represent that their love is everlasting.

We also saw the bridges where couples attach locks to resemble their love. They attach a lock with their names carved into it and throw the key into the seine to represent that their love is everlasting.

Then we hopped back on the metro and picked up our bags before heading back toward our own apartment (well it was ours for 3 days). Our apartment was located literally 2 minutes away from the Moulin Rouge and it was so nice. Not to mention the guy who rented it to us, Damien, welcomed us with a bottle of wine. It was such a nice place! After dropping off our stuff, Pat and I went to grab lunch at KFC (weeee! We were craving some fried chicken…) and then went back to the room to nap (we’re also big on naps). We finally went to go grab some groceries and make our own dinner before we met up with Julia, who was back from her school trip in Dijon, for some absinthe! So after leaving breakfast (crème brulee French toast, post on that later) in the fridge to soak up the flavors and eating dinner, Pat and I made our way down to Plaza de Clichy to meet up with Julia and head over to try absinthe for the first time.

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There were so many different types of absinthe! I got Musé verte (the green muse?), and Pat and Julia got something else. I don’t remember, but I do know Julia got the absinthe that apparently was Manson’s go to absinthe. It was quite an experience. The absinthe smelled like licorice and it burned something awful as I swallowed it. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any green fairies, but it was still pretty fun to try. We ended the night at Julia’s favorite Irish pub where they played great American music like Mambo No 5 and all sorts of crazy songs. I think Call Me Maybe was one. After finishing our beers, we all made our way back home and passed out.

Hugs and puppies,

Mimi

 

Addresses:

Berthillon Ice Cream

31 Rue Saint-Louis en I’île

Paris, 75004

Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore

37 rue de la Bûcherie

Paris, 75005

Steak Night

So Friday night, Julia and her roommates were leaving the city. Two for a class trip, one for Amsterdam with a friend, so Pat and I had booked a night at hostel in a totally different area. We metro-ed it to Crimée near the Canal de L’Ourcq to a hostel called St. Christopher’s Inn. While it was nice, it was a tad pricey for two and it wasn’t very Parisian, but it was still pretty fun. We explored the neighborhood a bit, ate some Chinese food, came back to the hostel to nap and then watched Adventure time until we decided to go eat dinner. It was just one of those days where we wanted to just relax and well seeing as the hostel was too far from the other places we wanted to visit, we thought it wouldn’t be bad to just be couch potatoes. But dinner was absolutely amazing! We went to Au Boeuf Couronné, which was supposed to be one of the best steak places in Paris. While it was a little expensive, Pat and I thought it was definitely worth it and we celebrated our one-year anniversary (albeit a little belated).

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I tried bone marrow for the first time! And boy was it something. I wouldn’t say I fell in love with it right then and there, but it was pretty good. It was a little on the rich side and sprinkled with salt so full of flavor. It was pretty gelatinous too, but still delicious. Unlike the escargot, I’d be down to try this again.

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But after the bone marrow, was perhaps the best steak I had ever had. Pat and I split it (it was for two people) and it was perfect. There was a nice flavorful crust on the outside and the inside was perfectly rare and delicious. Not to mention the potato soufflés (potato slices double fried to a delicate puff ball), garlic green beans and regular fries that came with it. The potato soufflés were so wonderful. They were perfectly salted and so light and airy! The service was really nice too! The waiter noticed that we didn’t really speak French, so he got us English menus and helped us chose a wine. Not to mention he came back to see if the steak was perfectly cooked and how everything tasted.

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For dessert, we split the manager’s “Stress buster” chocolate and stress buster chocolate it was. There were three little desserts

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A profiterole sandwiches rich dark chocolate ice cream smothered in bittersweet chocolate sauce. Chocolate pot de crème topped with a mountain of airy whipped cream.

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And a white chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup topped with pistachios. This one was Pat’s favorite, but the profiterole was my favorite. It was so delicious and we were so full after ward. If you want really good steak and frites in Paris, than Au Boeuf Couronné is the place for it.

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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Address

Au Boeuf Couronné

188, Avenue Jean Jaurés

Eiffel Tower Wanderings

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Seeing as Julia had class, Pat and I were on our own again and we decided, after making plans to meet up with Julia at Trocadero (where you can get the best view of the Eiffel Tower) at 3 PM, to start off our morning with some Parisian bread. Both of us are utterly obsessed with Anthony Bourdain, so after looking at the places he visited in Paris in No Reservations and The Layover, we decided to grab breakfast at Du Pain et Des Idées.

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When we walked in, I thought it was the most amazing boulangerie ever. There’s just something about the scent of freshly baked bread in the air and the sight of croissants, baguettes, the escargot breads, that can make a tummy snorgle to be filled.

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Pat and I chose the chocolate and pistachio escargot bread.

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Don’t worry, this bread had no escargot (I was a little skeptical as well). It turns out that the spiral shape, reminiscent of an escargot shell, is what gives it its name. Not the ingredients. It was flaky, sweet and pure heaven in my mouth. I just wish I had gotten another one, I guess that means I have to go back to Paris?

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After breakfast, Pat and I headed off to Trocadero to meet up with Julia and take all of the touristy photos in front of the Eiffel Tower. However, since we were a little early (about an hour?) Pat and I wandered around Trocadero and found a little bookstore where we comfortably spent a good 30 minutes and even bought some books. Pat bought a cookbook on dishes accompanying Bordeaux wines and I settled with a cookbook on macarons. It’s in French so I have no idea how I’m going to use it, but we’ll see!

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After taking touristy photos (and being forced to take cliché couple photos by Julia, I highly doubt Pat will ever relinquish those photos) we wandered around some more, unknowingly crossing the Seine and making our way towards the Notre Dame.

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Being hungry, we stopped by for some French onion soup  (and some free wifi) in a small café next to another bookstore. Julia had to leave for class, so Pat and I perused the bookstore for a few minutes before deciding that we were too tired to walk to the Notre Dame and took the metro home.

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All in all, I thought it was a pretty productive day. Pat and I got home, napped and watched Django until Julia came home. We were too tired to go out for dinner, so we ate stale cookie crisps instead. Weeeeee

Hugs and puppies,

Mimi

 

 

Addresses:

Du Pain et Des Idées

34 rue Yves Toudic

Paris, 75010

And so the trip begins…

So after Julia came home, which was less than 30 minutes after we arrived, we decided to explore some more. Luckily this time, the travel bags stayed in the apartment. We wandered through the neighborhood, past the Moulin Rouge and up the hill to the Sacre Coeur, the highest point in Paris. Now if you’re in Paris this is, in my opinion, one of the must-see tourist sites. We walked up the quaint and delightful little street called Rue de Abbesses and made our way up, up, UP to the top. While I was winded, it wasn’t as bad as I expected and the view was absolutely worth it.

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You really could see all of Paris from that point.

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We wandered through the church and then made our way back down for some snacks aka some crepes! I was so excited to see the guy making them that he offered me the crepe batter spreading stick and, I think, asked if I wanted to try. I totally should have, but being placed on the spot, I had shook my head rapidly and laughed. Yeah I know I’m an idiot. But the crepes were delicious and I think that if I had attempted one, it would have been full of holes or something. Pat got a nutella crepe, Julia got a butter and sugar and I got a salted caramel crepe. Gosh I am so obsessed with salted caramel, it’s not even funny. Speaking of, I should learn to make it sometime!

 

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After our crepes, we all decided that we wanted to grab a quick drink before heading back down to Julia’s apartment, so we stopped by a small, nice looking bar and settled down for drinks. And then we saw that there was escargot on the menu…

Well I had never tried it and neither had Pat and Julia, so we all (well Julia and I) swallowed our unease and ordered 6 pieces of escargot. 2 for each of us. 2 snails.  2 garlic smothered snails. But snails nonetheless. Did I mention I’m a HUGE bug-a-phobe? As in, I even had butterflies and ladybugs. I hate all bugs. The thought of even consuming one? Bluegghhhhhhh

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And they came to the table, piping hot and smothered in garlic. We picked up our escargot eating tools, pried out the snails and ATE THEM! Blahhhhh I was not a huge fan of them. While they were gummy and smothered in garlic (and I believe a pesto of some sort) I just couldn’t shake the fact that they were snails and I was eating it out of their homes. As Julia said, “We’re eating Gary!” A lot of my friends (Pat included) loved them when they had them in Paris. I, however, did not jump on that bandwagon. The texture was like eating a whelk or some sort of shellfish, but I just couldn’t stomach the fact that it was escargot. Needless to say I’m glad that I tried it and I am happy to report that I will not be eating them willingly ever again.

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After escargot, we went back to the apartment where I promptly passed out from my small glass of Rosé wine and Pat and Julia shared another bottle of vino and had a nice chat. Hey, it was a pretty big day for me and the escargot took everything that I had. After I woke up, we all went to a nearby restaurant called Hippopotamus for steak and called it a night.

What a great way to start a trip in Paris right?

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Getting lost in Paris

So I’m back in Madrid. It’s a little sad because Pat will be heading back to New York soon, but I suppose I’ll have my other travels to keep me from being too sad. Our week in Paris was absolutely amazing, not to mention the abundance of food and well carbs, I seriously would do unspeakable things for real, actual vegetables. None of that potato and lettuce and tomato stuff (I’ve been eating those everyday in sandwiches) no something like bell peppers, zucchinis, squash, spinach, you know.

Any way, now that I’ve got some time, I’ll finally tell you about our time in Paris!

On our first day, Pat and I had just gotten off the bus from Beauvais airport to Porte Maillot. After stopping by the bathroom to freshen up, we grabbed a quick breakfast (croissants and tea and espresso) and began wandering around. We were headed to our friend, Julia’s apartment, she’s studying in Paris this semester, but since it was only 11 AM and she wouldn’t be back from class until 3, we decided to wander.

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Funnily enough, we had no idea where we were going. So we kept walking in one direction and to my surprise we saw the Arc de Triomphe. I got very excited then because, well having been to Paris before, I knew the general area of the Arc de Triomphe.

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After taking photos of the Arc, Pat and I headed down the Champs-Elysees. I kept remembering how silly my mom and grandmother had been the last time I was at the Champs-Elysees. They had decided it was fun to walk (or rather sashay) down the street holding their sun umbrellas up in the air and singing “Oh Champs-Elysees~.” Oh gosh that was embarrassing. Luckily Pat didn’t even know the song, so there was no worry about him bursting into song right then and there.

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So Pat and I made it down the Champs-Elysees and ended up across the street from the Grand and Petite Palais. Here we encountered a map and found out the address to our friend’s apartment. After pointing out the general direction, we began walking briskly toward one direction….and ended up circling around the Grand Palais and then getting lost in the narrow, winding Parisian streets.

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I was not a very happy camper because well, a) I was hungry, b) I was tired, and c) Pat and I were lost in a city where we didn’t really speak the language. Oops? But I guess you can’t really have fun in a city until you get lost and discover little things off the beaten path, no? (Pat’s probably going to laugh when he finds out that I wrote this because well I was not having the most fun at that moment). Luckily, we found another street map, took photos of it (we didn’t have wifi and so didn’t have access to google maps, I do feel more accomplished when I manage to get from point a to point b without google maps though) and went off again. After stopping by a nice little café called Midoré for some nourishment (aka sandwiches and croque monsieurs) Pat and I finally found ourselves on the right street and made it to Julia’s apartment. While we were still a little early, her roommate was there and opened the door for us and let us in.

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I can’t say I was extremely happy to be sitting down. We had started our journey at around 11 AM and reached our destination at 2:30 PM. A trip that would have taken maybe 20 minutes by metro, but then again we did get lost. I guess you could say we had gotten the exercise we needed to burn all the calories that were about to be consumed! And I’m really glad that we walked instead.

 

While walking was fun, it’s no fun toting a travel bag. So I advise that if you are ever in Paris, which is a perfectly fine walking city, first drop off your bag somewhere (take the metro, it’s quite easy to navigate) and make sure you know the general direction that you should be headed toward.

 

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

 

Happy (belated) Pi Day!

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I know this is a really late post, but like I said I was a little busy with midterms and spring break planning and hostel booking and picking up Pat at the airport and showing him around Madrid to write this Pi day post. We’re currently in Paris until wednesday! So if any of you have suggestions about places to visit let us know! We’ve already done: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysee, Sacre Coure and we’re planning Notre Dame and such. Pat’s not all into the touristy stuff and it being my fourth time in Paris, we’d like to do some other none touristy, yet amazing things. But I totally digress from the actual point of this post, which is PI DAY! So March 14 (3.14) is pi day because, well the number (Pat likes to call it steak and blow job day, but seeing as he wasn’t in Madrid on the 14th, I just made pies with my friends. Granted, my friends didn’t have measuring cups or rolling pins (the apartments in Madrid don’t really come equipped for bakers) so I had to improvise. By that I mean eye ball everything and use cups to cut out the pie dough. But don’t worry, I have measurements for you lucky bakers at home with the right equipment and the pies still came out delicious! We made handheld pizza pies, which I will have to make a post for soon, and apple pies! These pies take so little time and have so many simple ingredients it’s absolutely hard to mess up! We made the pie crust from scratch and the apple filling and it was done in a snap!

So let’s get started and next year you can make pies for Pi Day! And maybe for dinner some steak and stuff for the holiday that the guys enjoy 😉 Hey, that way everyone’s happy right?

Ingredients:

Crust:
-1 1/4 cup AP Flour
-1 stick (8 tbsp) COLD unsalted butter (I recommend you place the butter in the freezer for at least an hour or two before you use it. Overnight is great!)
-3 tbsp of ice cold water (in a glass pour in cold water and add a few ice cubes and let it sit for a while)
Filling:
-2 to 3 large granny smith apples (diced) Granny smiths are great because they’re tart and don’t contain a lot of moisture. This way your pie filling won’t come out mushy and apple-saucey
-about 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
-a few squeezes of lemon juice
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-about 1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
-a few pinches of flour
Pie crust topping
-one egg
-a few splashes of milk
Optional
-granulated sugar
-apple spice filling (I’ve never used it, but I may in the future)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the crust. Mix together the salt and the flour. Add in the cold  butter in small pieces (about 1/4 inch pieces). Take a pastry cutter or tow knives and cut the butter into the dough until they are about the size of peas. Scoop up the flour and butter and rub it through your fingers until the contents of the bowl resembles coarse cornmeal. Add in the water and mix until the dough just pulls together. You don’t want to add too much water or the pie dough will NOT be nice and flaky, but biscuit like (but if that’s the kind of pie crust you like than go for it). Leave it in the fridge while you prepare the filling
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line some baking sheets.IMG_1771
  3. Dice the apples and squeeze a little lemon juice over them so that they don’t brown. In a sauté pan (with relatively high sides) melt the butter down and add in the apples. Sprinkle the apple with the brown sugar and the cinnamon and stir. Cook the apples until they are just about to get soft (now if you want mushy apple pie, cook them until their about fork tender. Don’t forget that you will be cooking them again in the oven so you don’t want to cook them down too long). Set aside.
  4. Roll it out on a flour surface to about 1/8 of an inch thick and using a large round cookie cutter (or a cup with a large diameter) cut out dough circles. Now if you don’t want round pies, you can always cut out the dough to be heart shaped or square or you dont even have to cut if you are so inclined. Make the egg wash by combing the egg and the milk in a small bowl.
  5. Lay one dough circle down on a clean floured surface and carefully mound about 1 or 2 spoonfuls of the apple filling. You don’t want to overfill them. brush the edges with egg wash (I usually just dip my index finger and trace the edges with it) and gently place another dough circle on top. Press the edges together and create a seal. Now you can either take a fork and press the tines down on all sides or you can crimp the edges like you would on a regular pie.IMG_1772
  6. Once the edges are sealed, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with more egg wash. If you want a nice sugary crust, sprinkle some granulated sugar over the egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

I think handheld pies are my favorite thing to make, they’re just so easy and simple. Not to mention a great thing to make with friends. This way, everyone gets to make their own personalized pie with their own favorite fillings without having to seem picky. Plus you can make a variety without having a ton of half eaten pies in your fridge for weeks on end. I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did! I’ll definitely be making these again. If you want to check out some more fun pie fillings, check out my other post on handheld pies!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

p.s this also means pie is not just for pi day! Everyday can be Pie day! 😀