2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. low-fat small-curd cottage cheese
4 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb. Granny Smith apples
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
Vegatable or canola oil for frying (optional)
Crust: Pulse flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a food processor for 5 seconds, until evenly mixed. Add cottage cheese and butter and process for about 30 seconds, until a soft dough comes together.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and gently press it into a round. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes while you make filling
Apple Filling: Peel and core apples, and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted, then add 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until apples are starting to soften.
Whisk cornstarch with remaining 2 tablespoons water and add to softened apple mixture. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until liquid thickens and jells slightly. Remove from heat.
If apples aren’t as mushy as you’d like them to be (the McDonald’s filling is akin to applesauce), you can use a potato masher to gently press them to your desired consistency. Let filling cool for 15 minutes
Pies: If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners. If deep-frying, line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Return chilled dough to floured work surface and roll it into an 18-inch square about 1/8 inch thick. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to slice dough into 9 (6 by 6-inch) squares.
Place a heaping tablespoon (more like 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) of apple filling on half of each square, then fold over to create a 6 by 3-inch pocket pie. Seal edges by crimping them tightly with your fingers. Place on a prepared baking sheet.
If Baking: Slice 3 slashes across top of each pie. Bake for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before attempting to eat, lest you burn your mouth with molten apple filling.
If Deep-frying: Refrigerate pies for 1 hour (or freeze for up to 3 months in a sealed container). Heat at least 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil to 350 degrees F in an electric deep fryer or large, high-sided pot. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and an upside-down wire cooling rack
Add pies to hot oil straight from refrigerator or freezer and fry in batches as necessary until golden brown. Frying time will vary based on your equipment, but should take no more than 2 to 3 minutes per batch.
Transfer to prepared baking sheet and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before attempting to eat, lest you burn your mouth with molten apple filling.
Store pies in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.