Let's talk baking and why it can be terrifying. I have admitted to you before, my talents do not lie in the baking department. I mean the pressure of having to measure everything so perfectly and follow the recipe to a tee takes all the fun out of why I love to be in the kitchen in the first place.
And while I am not the most skilled baker, I do frequently get in a baking mood. I have several recipes that I keep on hand to pull out that do not take much time or thought and usually I have most of the ingredients on hand. This is how I usually end up baking...I get in the mood which is followed by rummaging through my pantry to see what I have in there already and that usually dictates what I end up making.
These cute little baby apple pies were the result of a really rainy day, where I was stuck inside and you can probably guess what happened next...yep, I was forced to bake something. I had just bought quite a few of my favorite honey crisp apples, and thought hmm...of course, apple pies!
I looked online for easy crusts, because I really don't make them enough to know how off the top of my head. I found one that was just flour, butter, salt, and ice water. I thought that's easy, until I read that I have to use a pastry cutter and work my butter into my flour yada yada yada... No thank you...short cut please...and that's where the food processor became my new pie making friend.
I really had no idea how they were going to come out since I probably have made one pie in my entire life, and I'm pretty sure I bought the crust, but I gave it a go.
The result was...well frankly they were amazing if I do say so myself! Not too sweet, flaky buttery crust, gooey inside... and topped with some vanilla ice cream...holy moly!
So if you have been a part of the anti make your pie yourself club, these minis are for you! They would be perfect to add to your Thanksgiving menu. You probably already have the ingredients!
For the Crust-
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Stick Cold Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Tsp. Salt
- Ice Cold Water (I keep a mug beside the processor to add a little at a time)
For the Filling-
- 2 Peeled and Diced Apples (I used honey crisps)
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 4 Tsp. of Ground Cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp. of Melted Butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel your apples and then dice them into small cubes, the smaller the better.
Oh hey Amos...of course you want some apple, don't all dogs? This one happens to love fruit, way more than any dog treat (his brother does not share his opinion.) As soon as he hears me chopping, like clockwork, he comes over and gives me that look...with those eyes. Seriously... He wins every time, I never stand a chance.
Ok on to the next step. After you finish dicing, place your apples in a mixing bowl and add your brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Combine well until all apples are coated with the other ingredients. You can let the bowl hang out while you make your dough.
In your food processor add two cups of all purpose flour, your stick of butter cut into small cubes for easier mixing, and your salt. Pulse the mixture until it is the texture of bread crumbs. At this point, you will want to add a tablespoon of ice cold water about 3 tbsp. at a time. Add a little, pulse, add a little more, until the dough sticks together when you pinch it. (No food processor? You can definitely do this by cutting the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry cutter until you get the same texture.)
After your dough is ready, flour a large working surface, your rolling pin and form a ball with your dough mixture. Roll your dough out fairly thin, like maybe at 1/8 inch or less. This should make anywhere from 8-10 pies.
Using either a glass or round cookie cutter, cut out 16-20 circles in the dough (a top and a bottom.) Place bottom layer onto a Silpat (a silicone sheet that nothing sticks to) lined on top of a cookie sheet , or line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Either is fine. Top bottom circles with a small spoonful of the apple filling, leaving a little edge to press top layer onto. It's ok if the filling starts to spill out, that just means they are going to be extra good on the inside!
The next step is to place your second dough circle on top of the apple mixture. To close the sides, press the end of a fork (this does not have to be perfect, think rustic and handmade) and work all the way around until ends are sealed. Take a small knife and cut two slits in the top to allow steam to escape when the pies go into the oven so that your crust gets crispy. You will want to make an egg wash (one beaten egg) and brush on top of the pies before they go into the oven so that they will become shiny and have a nice golden color to them. Into the oven they go for 25-35 minutes depending on your oven.
They are done when they are nicely browned on top! Let them cool on a cooling rack to ensure the crust stays crisp.
They are delicious as is, and you should definitely eat one right out of the oven. How else will you know if they are a success or not? You wouldn't want to serve bad pies to your family and friends after all...
And then later when you serve them to others and you eat your second one (it's ok, they are mini), add a couple of scoops of ice cream to that bad boy and be prepared for amazingness.
One last thing: If you don't have apples, you could swap them for pears, peaches, or even a little of that pumpkin pie filling that you are probably already making!