Lots of Training and Whole Wheat Apple Pastries

We're starting to transition into shorter pieces in preparation for the spring season. We've spent the fall and winter working mostly on our aerobic base, doing 80+ minutes of low heart rate work on a regular basis, with a few shorter (~45 minutes total work) stints at faster paces.

Our training now is phasing into 20 minutes or less of total work at much faster paces. It's really fun to see all our hard work translate into the faster pieces, without ever training these speeds.

We've also been lifting a lot. If you've never lifted before, it's time to start! Look out for an upcoming post on lifting basics.

I've been an athlete for most of my life, but I remember for most of it feel very out of shape. I got tired walking to the tops of stairs, couldn't run very far (or very fast) and just generally wasn't very energetic. This year that totally changed. I'm sure losing weight has helped, but we're also doing some incredible training this year.

We bought a bunch of apples from the 'soup bin' at our local grocery store, and have been collecting apples from the dining halls as well. I had originally intended to make my one bowl muffins (I have a post waiting, it just needs some good pictures.. they always seem to disappear before I can take pictures).

I then quickly remembered that I was trying to branch out and try new, different things. Quick breads and muffins are fairly straightforward, as are cakes and cupcakes. Instead, I thought I'd try pastries. I tried to make mini pumpkin pies with homemade crust over winter break and was sorely disappointed. I figured I'd give it another go.

I'd been wanting to try poptarts for a while, so I found a recipe. I also have an excess of whole wheat flour right now, that needs to be used ASAP. (Did you know that whole wheat flour goes rancid quickly?) I decided to sub whole wheat for the all-purpose flour and see what happened.

They were crumbly, not flaky, and the whole wheat gave these a great nutty flavor that went well with the apples.

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Whole Wheat Apple Pastries
makes 6-8 small pastries

1 tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
0.25c brown sugar
1T cinnamon
0.5t ground ginger (optional)

1.25c whole wheat flour
1 stick (0.5c) butter, cold, cut into small cubes
2T really cold water
1T sugar
0.5t salt

1. For the crust, rub the flour into the butter until you get coarse crumbs--it will look like fine cornmeal. (You can also do this in a food processor, but I don't have one.)
2. Add the sugar, water and salt, mixing until it comes together into a dough. You may need to add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
3. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. (This step will help soften the flour, and resolidify the butter.)
4. Make the filling about an hour before you plan to make the pastries. Mix the apple, sugar and cinnamon together in a medium sized bowl.
5. Remove the dough about 20 minutes before you're ready to make the pastries. After 20 minutes, roll the dough out as thin as possible into a large rectangle. I suggest doing this between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
6. Cut the dough into an even number of rectangles slightly larger than you want your pastries. Spoon filling onto every other rectangle (about a tablespoon, depending on the size of your pastries). [The filling should have leaked liquid, you can choose to include this or not depending on how you like your filling. I left it out. The pastries will last longer without it.]
7. Use the remaining rectangles to cover the filling and make a pouch. Use the tines of a fork to press the edges of the top and bottom pastries together.
8. Brush the tops with an egg wash (optional, but it will make them shinier) and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°F.
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