Select Recipes from the San Diego Jewish Food Festival

Apple Date Hand Pies with Spiced Fennel Pollen by Chef Sara Polczynski

Chef Sara Polczynski Pie Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, cold, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder.

In a food processor, pulse the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand.

Remove this mixture and place into a large mixing bowl.

Add the sour cream and fold in to create a dough that holds together.

Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle about 1/2" thick and fold in thirds, like a business letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat this process once more to create laminations.

Let the dough rest at least 1 hour and roll out to 1/8" thick.

Cut into rounds of desired size and fill with apple - date mixture. Egg wash the edges and fold the dough into half rounds.

Egg wash the top of each pie and place on parchment lined sheet pans. Vent by cutting small slits with a scissors to allow the steam to escape. Dust with spiced fennel pollen and/or Demerara sugar if desired.

Apple-Date Filling
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Water
In a small saucepot over medium-low heat stir together the dates and the water and cook until they soften and the water is absorbed.

Mash with a fork until a jam like consistency is reached.
  • 3 ea medium Granny smith Apples, small diced
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • squeeze of lemon juice
In a sauté pan, over medium- high heat, heat the butter until foaming and add the apples and scraped vanilla bean and the husk.

Cook until softened, about 4 minutes and add the brown sugar.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the date puree to help bind the apples together.

Let cool completely before filling the dough.
Chef Sara Polczynski

Sara Polczynski is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Trained in all aspects of the culinary industry, Sara found her passion in the art of pastry and began working at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in 1996, creating desserts for 5 onsite restaurants, wedding cakes and showpiece displays.

After the Broadmoor, Sara returned to her home in San Diego to become the Corporate Pasty Chef at the well renowned local Cohn Restaurant Group. Developing restaurant desserts, banquet desserts, breads and ice creams for the award winning Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, Tupelo, Dakota, Corvette Diner and The Prado in Balboa Park kept her busy for 5 years. Always trying to expand her influence in the industry and the love for teaching those around her about the craft of cooking, Sara began teaching in 2000 and assisted in the development and growth of the baking and pastry programs at Grossmont College, Southwestern College, and the San Diego Culinary Institute. Sara has found a home with the San Diego Community College Continuing Education Program, as an Associate Professor, teaching a variety of cooking skills to the everyday cook and those who want to pursue a career in the food industry.

Sara always stays current in the industry and has begun to pursue a part time career as a restaurant consultant. Revamping the menus at some of San Diego's hottest spots, including The Prado, Analog and Urban Bar and Grill. Her love for educating others expanded over the past few years into volunteering at San Diego's local Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, where Sara taught children the importance of healthy eating by teaching them how to cook fresh and flavorful healthy foods.

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