But it trumped having NO social life, so it was a go. I cheated a bit-- I told them to come after dinner (I didn't get home until 5:30 that day) and I would provide tea and dessert. I had to be careful, though: Some members of my family are lactose-intolerant and pretty sensitive to any form of dairy. Even butter baked in the crust of things - which was definitely challenging, as all the desserts in my repertoire required butter, or sour cream, or yogurt, or milk, or cream, or cheese...
And remember, when preparing these I was short on time and needed something that was either quick or something I could make in advance and pop into the freezer until I needed them.
So after weeks of thought (yes it took weeks) this is how it all went down:
(Yields about 30 palm-sized pastries)
1 454g package of Tenderflake shortening
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out the dough)
This recipe is also on the packaging of the Tenderflake box, however unless you didn't know beforehand, you might not have thought to pick up vinegar, so voila.
Mix salt and flour together and cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender until resembling coarse
Combine egg and water in a 250 ml/1 cup measure. Once combines, fill the rest of the measuring cup with water until the cup is filled (don't go over 250 ml).
Mix wet and dry ingredients, forming a nice dough ball. Chill out in the fridge (the dough, not you. This recipe isn't difficult enough for that). Actually, I found that using this recipe yielded extremely easy, delicious pastry to work with- even better than using a butter crust. I know people who are adamant about pate brisee butter crusts, but an aunt of mine uses all and only Tenderflake. No compromise.
While you're dough is cooling off, prepare the filling...
3 medium apples - I used Gala apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
Cut up the apples into really small pieces. Smaller than dice. As small as you can get without getting frustrated. Mix in a bowl with lemon juice of 3/4 of the lemon, sugar and cinnamon.
Now you can get to work!
Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Cut circles (or rectangles, whatever) about the size of your palm. I used a little sandwich press thing that my mom has had for a long time but never used (terrible waste of money, until now) but you can use an appropriately sized cookie cutter. On each circle, spoon a small amount of jam into the centre followed by a small amount of apple mix. Cover each with another circle of dough and press edges together. You now have pop-tart-like pockets!
They can be frozen at this point. Just be careful with these little guys, They are delicate and can leak, so make sure you've pinched all edges very well and don't smush them in the freezer. Seal them up air-tight if you can- they'll be ok for a day if you don't, but if you want to make them well in advance for a 'just-in-case' or 'i-have-no-time!' dessert, freezer burned pastry is gross. So. Baker beware.
When you're ready to bake them, pop them into the oven on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until pastry shows some browning. While baking, make the icing. Warning: the pastries will leak a bit, as shown. No big deal.
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 remaining of the lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons hot water
Mix all together until you get a nice icing consistency (you might have to play around with the ingredient ratio here) and drizzle lemony icing over hot, flaky pastry.
Done. Your guests will go back for thirds, possibly fourths. I got tons of compliments! If dairy is not a concern, try making a cream cheese icing. Then your guests will worship you. And nobody's tummy will hurt!