Baking, Cooking

That One Time I Attempted to Cook Like a Hobbit

Picture of an open cookbook on fantasy author Beth Overmyer's counter. There are green apples and butter also in the picture
Cookbook and apples–oh boy!

Back in January, I attempted to make a recipe from AN UNEXPECTED COOKBOOK, a collection of recipes inspired by the food found in THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien. The recipe in question was apple hand pies. The method? Both freeform and patted into a cupcake tin. The process went about as well as you can imagine for someone who is short-tempered and has very little experience making hand pies.

A close-up picture of fantasy author Beth Overmyer's hand. She's holding a green apple.
Have an apple!

First, I washed and then peeled eight (you heard me) Granny Smith apples. Then I cored and diced them into tiny pieces before making a sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves mix (I might’ve gone too heavy on the “pinch” of the latter) and coating the fruit with it.

A mixing bowl full of chopped and spiced apples.
Mm! Apple chunks!

All of this was hard work, but I was feeling confident that I could tackle this project without too much angst. Oh boy.

Next, I added two tablespoons of honey and three tablespoons of melted butter to the spiced and sugared apples, making certain everything was coated. Then I made the short crust. (Note: this is where things started to fall apart—literally and figuratively, I’m afraid.)

Picture of a rolled out slab of dough, cookie-cuttered in spots.
Dough boy!

The dough wouldn’t form properly, so I added an extra tablespoon of water and rolled out the barely-together/overworked dough onto a floured surface, rolled it out, and cut out as many three-inch circles as I (or rather, my mom, who came to my rescue) could. Note if you try this recipe: halve the filling, double the crust, and do NOT, for the love of Gandalf, use a two-inch cutter as the recipe suggests. Four-inch would be better. And do NOT add a heaping tablespoon of apple filling. It will overflow and you won’t be able to close the freeform hand pies.

Picture of a muffin tin filled to the brims with dough and apple pie filling.
As Shire-y as apple pie!

After three stabby attempts to form hand pies freeform, I patted and stretched the dough discs into a greased muffin tin, filled them with filling (more than half of which I still have left), and popped them (without dough lids, as they ought to have had) into a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for roughly twenty-two minutes, golden brown.

The result? Tasty! Worth the trouble? Meh. If Bilbo and the dwarves he accompanies to the Lonely Mountain were starving, they might eat the treats.

Picture of baked apple pie tarlets.
And that’s a bake!


What is something you’ve cooked or baked recently? Feel free to share stories of your successes—or failures (no judgement here)!

Keep your nose in a book,

P.S. Want more baking fun? Check out this pumpkin bread recipe!

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