A couple days ago I had a brain blast that can only be compared to that of Doc Brown hitting his head and inventing the flux capacitor: if cupcakes are better than cakes, would cup-pies be better than pies??? I wasn't sure, but had to find out. And so, after several failed attempts at creating this epitome of deliciousness, I give you "Mini pies."
Never again will you think "I want pie, but it's so inconvenient to eat", these mini pies are fully portable (and incredibly delicious).
Recipe serves 12
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Step 1: Necessities...
Stuff you need:
For the Crust:
All you need for these pies is approximately one pie crust (depending on what kind of top crust you want on them). You could use store bought (easier), or make your own (tastier). There are lots of different crust recipes out there, using everything from all all butter to all shortening. While an all shortening crust is flakier, I don't find it as flavorful as an all butter crust (plus I just never have any shortening on hand). The ingredients listed here are for an all butter crust, but I also recommend this recipe
(Makes 1 crust)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3-6 Tbsp ice water
For the Filling:
Any filling will do, but being an apple pie lover myself, this recipe is for the best apple pie filling I've found:
6 medium assorted apples (I used Braeburns because they were on sale)
1 Tbsp of flour
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon of butter (cut into pea sized pieces)
2 tsps lemon juice
For the Top Crust:
One pie crust seemed to be enough for 12 mini pie bottom crusts, plus a couple top crusts. If you want to make all 2-crust pies, I'd suggest making a second crust (although you will have leftover crust then).
I just made crumblies (streusel) for the topping of the remaining pies. This recipe makes enough crumblies for all 12 pies:
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
a pinch of cinnamon
-2 mixing bowls (one large, one medium)
-muffin tin(s), for 12 muffins
-dry measuring cup
-liquid measuring cup
-drinking glass with apprx 3" diameter (for cutting out pie crusts)
Step 2: If You Wish to Make an Apple Pie From Scratch...
If you're using store-bought crust, skip this step. Otherwise:
...first invent the universe
Then, in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and cut in with a pastry cutter until butter bits are no larger than small peas.
Add 3 Tbsp of ice water over the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold to mix. Press down on the dough with the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding more water (up to 3 Tbsp) until it does so.
Divide the dough into two balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap both separately in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Step 3: Make the Filling
While the crust is firming up in the fridge, make the filling.
Wash, core, and peel the apples. Cut them into thin slices (like you would for a normal pie), then cut these slices in half. No piece should be larger in size than a quarter.
Cut the butter into pea sized pieces. Add this to the apples, along with the flour, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon, stir until evenly coated. Set aside.
Step 4: Roll Out and Cut Crusts
*If using store-bought crust, skip to next paragraph*
Take the crust out of the fridge and place it between two sheets of plastic wrap. By doing this instead of flouring your working surface, you don't add any more flour to the crust, preventing it from getting to dry. Roll the crust out until it's around 1/8" thick.
Using the drinking glass, cut 12 circles out of the dough. You may have to ball up and re-roll the dough to achieve this. If the dough gets too warm and soft, slip it into the freezer for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Press Crusts Into Tins
Use your hands to press each circle into the muffin tins, spreading the dough up the sides to form the bottom crust. The crusts for these tiny pies can be thinner than those of normal pies and still stay intact, so don't worry if you feel like you're spreading the dough to thin.
Step 6: Add the Filling
Spoon the filling into the pie crusts so that it mounds up over the top of the pan a bit. During baking the apples will settle, so you want to make sure to get as much filling in there as possible. If you didn't cut the apple pieces small enough, this could be difficult...
Step 7: Crust #2, the Sequel.
There are several different options for the second crust. I tried some of each.
The leftover dough from one pie crust should provide you with enough to make a couple traditional or lattice crusts. If you made a second batch of dough, you should have more than enough to make dough crusts for all the pies
For the traditional, cut another circle of dough with the glass. Lay it over the top of the pie, and crimp the edges together with your fingers. Cut 3-4 slits in the crust to let steam escape during baking.
You can also make a streudel topping following step 8.
Step 8: Optional Streudel Topping: Make the Crumblies
This recipe makes enough streudel topping for all 12 tiny pies. Adjust accordingly if some pies already have crusts.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the mixture until you can no longer see any butter, and crumbs have formed.
Evenly sprinkle the crumblies on top of the apple filling to form a crust.
Step 9: Bake
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Loosely cover the pan in aluminum foil, and bake for 15 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for another 20-25 minutes or so until the crust has browned.
Step 10: Cool
Using a knife, remove the pies from the muffin tin and let them cool for a few minutes before eating.
Step 11: Enjoy!
Serve with ice cream for optimum deliousness, or go without for convenient pie eating on the go! They make a perfect snack/lunchbox stuffer:)
Participated in the
Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest