Introduction: Rustic Bacon Apple Mini Pies
I love an apple pie. It's the first thing I bake when the local Ohio apples are ready, and since apples are available year round, it makes a perfect dessert almost anytime. My grandfather used to put a slice of cheese on his apple pie, and I've made other versions of apple pear pies in cheddar crust because building the cheese into the pie crust can only improve matters, making this pie even better is the addition of BACON into the crust. The bacon fat renders as it bakes creating a nice salty, savory pie crust that pairs perfectly with the sweet apple filling.
This pie was the first recipe I made from Carla Hall's book Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes From Around the World once I saw the ingredient list I knew this was a pie my family would enjoy. I also loved that she simplified this recipe by making two 9-inch galettes, or as she calls them, rustic pies. No fussing with rolling a top and bottom crust, just roll a bottom crust, fill with parcooked apples, and fold the dough around the apples for baking. This inspired me to make mini pies, because I love all things mini!
Because the apples are parcooked, the size of the crust doesn't matter much, as long as the crust gets nice and browned and crispy, the end result with be delicious!
How you serve these mini pies is also up to you. They taste heavenly when warm, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is always welcome with my apple pie. My dad eats his apple pie in a bowl with cream or milk, and if you can't eat your apple pie without that slice of cheese, go right ahead, I'm not here to judge.
I hope you enjoy these rustic bacon apple mini pies soon!
Recipe makes about nine, 4-inch pies, or two 9-inch galettes
Recipe from Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
To make the mini pies you'll need a small plate about 5-inches round, I have a mini-pie pan that comes with a 5-inch round cutter
For the cheddar bacon crust:
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup cold water
2 ounces thick-cut bacon, finely diced and frozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1/2 cup) and chilled
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and chilled
For the apple filling:
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon canola oil
6 apples, a mix of tart and sweet, I used Granny Smith and Gala, cut into quarters, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
All-purpose flour, for rolling
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
Step 2: Make Pie Dough
In a small bowl, stir the salt into the cold water until it dissolves. In the bowl of a food processor, use your hands to toss the bacon with the flour until well coated. (Watch out for the blade!) Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the cheese and butter to the flour mixture, and pulse until the butter and cheese are coated with flour into pieces the size of peas, with a few bigger pieces remaining. Add the salted water all at once, and pulse just until the dough begins to come together.
Transfer the mixture to a cutting board and gently shape into a rough 5-inch round, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. (Since I made mini pies I rolled the dough into one large piece, if making two 9-inch galettes, separate the dough into two pieces before wrapping and chilling.)
Step 3: Prepare the Apple Filling
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water until smooth.
In a very large skillet, melt the butter in the oil over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the liquid thickens, about 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Step 4: Roll Out Pie Dough
Adjust oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/ 4 -inch-thick rectangle or oval about 14 x 16 inches. Using the 5-inch plate as a template (or mini pie cookie cutter if you have one), cut out as many circles as you can, I made 9 mini pies, plus enough dough scraps for cookie cut-out toppers. Transfer circles to the prepared baking sheet and when one sheet is full, refrigerate while cutting out the rest of the dough.
If using cookie cut-out toppers, use small cookie cutters to cut as many pieces as you can from the remaining dough. I pushed the scraps together once, but don't re-roll more than once as the dough will become tough. I usually like making extra as pie dough cookies, if you have more than you need to top the pies put them on their own parchment-lined baking sheet to bake separately.
Refrigerate the dough about 10-15 minutes, you still want the dough pliable around the edges to fold up around the filling.
Step 5: Fill the Pies, Bake, and Enjoy
Divide the cooled filling between the rounds, leaving a 1-inch border. (2-inch border if making two large galettes.) Fold and pleat the border up and around the apples, leaving the center open. If you made cookie cut-outs place one or two in the center.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining 1 tablespoon water into the egg. Brush the egg wash over the dough, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25-35 minutes depending on the size of your mini pies, 40-45 minutes for two large pies.
If you have extra cut-outs brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar, bake until golden brown, depending on their size this can take between 10-20 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy.
These mini pies can be stored, in an airtight container, up to three days at room temperature, though the dough won't be as crisp as the day they are baked. I prefer to warm leftovers in the microwave a few seconds.