Mini Apple Pies

When I was I kid, I was NOT a big fan of fruit.   Now that I’m a grown-ass adult…that hasn’t changed.  I like my fruit in pies, with added sugar and a nice flaky crust.   How fruit was meant to be eaten.

This used to mean going to the local 7-Eleven or corner store and getting one of those half moon-shaped pies.  While you can still do that, you can also make them at home and it’s pretty easy and waaaay better tasting.

This recipe includes directions on making the pie dough.  If you’re strapped for time or super lazy, you can use pre-made refrigerated dough.  These won’t be as good as making the dough from scratch, but still infinitely better than the store-bought cakes.

Ingredients

Dough

·        3 ¼ cups flour

·        ¾ cup shortening

·        ¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        1 t vanilla

·        1 t salt

·        ¼ cup cold water

Apple filling

·        5 apples (Granny Smith are usually the go-to for baking and easy to find at the store.  I did some internet research and consensus seems that Jonagold, Pink Lady, Braeburn and Gravenstein can also be good choices.  I live in a city, though, and outside of a farmer’s market I’m not sure how many of those I’d be able to find at a grocery store – but you will be able to find Granny Smiths.  If possible, I like to mix it up (3 Granny Smiths, 2 Gravensteins for instance) when I can, just to combine the flavors)

·        2 cups apple juice

·        3 T corn starch

·        1 cup sugar

·        2 t cinnamon

·        ½ t nutmeg

·        ½ t allspice

·        ½ t salt

·        ¼ t ginger

·        1 t vanilla

·        4 T butter, softened to room temperature

Baking Process

·        2 egg whites, beaten

Icing

·        2 ½ cups powdered sugar

·        ¼ cup hot water

·        1 t vanilla

 

Directions

We’ll start with the dough.  Again, if you don’t have the time or inclination you can also use pre-made refrigerated dough, but try it this way – it’s not too tough.

In a bowl pour all the dough ingredients except the water (flour, shortening, butter, vanilla, salt).  Mix together until the mixture is sort of like pebbles – you can try it with a wooden spoon but your better bet is to just get your (clean) hands in there and mix everything by hand.

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Make an indentation in the middle of the dough and pour the water.  Mix that in – again with your hands – until it’s all just combined.  Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about a half hour.

While the dough is cooling you can make the filling.  Peel and core the apples, and cut them in half.   If we were making a full pie, we’d cut them into wedges but since these mini pies are smaller, you’ll need to cut them into small cubes, about ¼” or so in size.

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Take half of the apple juice (1 cup) and dissolve the corn starch in there.  Set this aside for later.

Put all of the filling ingredients except the apple juice/corn starch mixture into a pot.  Turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.   Once it starts boiling, add the apple juice/corn starch mixture and get it to a boil again and cook it for 5 minutes – this time stirring continually.

After 5 minutes take it off the heat and transfer it to a bowl to let it cool completely, stirring occasionally.

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Once the filling is cool, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to about ¼” thick.   Cut it into 5” circles – you’ll probably get around 10 of them.

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I didn’t have a cookie cutter that was the right size, but this bowl totally did the trick

Place about a half cup of the filling into each circle and then brush the outer edges with the beaten egg whites.  Fold the dough in half, creating a half moon shape and crimp along the edges with a fork.  Then, brush the top of each mini pie with the beaten whites.

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Place the mini pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes, or until they pies are golden brown.

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Golden brown…and messy as hell

After you take the mini pies out of the oven, place them on a wire rack with newspaper or wax paper underneath the rack. 

In a bowl, mix together the icing ingredients (powdered sugar, hot water, vanilla) – you can do this with a whisk.  The mixture will be thin – really more of a glaze than an icing.  While the mini pies are still hot drizzle the icing over the pies (that’s why you have paper underneath the wire rack, to catch the mess).

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You can either serve these warm or you can refrigerate them and serve them cold – your preference!!

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