Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mini Apple Pies


I've always been intimated by making pie - and it seems I'm not the only one. Despite my successes and near-successes with yeasted doughs, I let myself be intimidated by other people's accounts of finicky pie dough, not-cold-enough butter, and the shortening vs butter dilemna. Well a couple weeks ago, my cooking-project partner Elizabeth came over so we could test out making apple pie from scratch and work down my store of local apples. Once we had everything together, I remembered that I don't actually own a pie tin, but no problem - mini-pies it would be, baked in a muffin tin!

I followed the sage advice from Smitten Kitchen's Pie Crust 102 tutorial, along with Brooklyn Farmhouse's method for making mini-pies. I highly recommend Smitten Kitchen's recipe since the dough came together quickly in my food processor, was surprisingly easy to handle, and didn't tear while rolling it out at all. Most importantly, the finished pie crust was deliciously tender and flaky! We did have quite a bit of leftover dough, however, which I saved in the fridge to make a delicious free-form apple tart later that week. I have an inkling this dough would be great for empanadas too - hopefully that will be my next big kitchen adventure now that I've overcome my fear and conquered pie dough.


Brooklyn Farmhouse recommends cutting out 4-inch circles for the base of each mini pie and 3-inch circles for each top, but that seemed too small for my muffin tin, so we roughly cut circles of dough that were probably about an inch larger. You don't need special cookie cutters for this - just find glasses or jars that are approximately 4 or 5 inches in diameter.

I left the pie filling to Elizabeth since she's made pies before. she peeled and sliced 3 apples, and then combined it with a little sugar, a little lemon juice, fall spices like cinnamon and ginger, and a sprinkling of flour in place of cornstarch. (Elizabeth, if I'm remembering this wrong, please let me know!)


The best part of the night, aside from chatting, was feasting on the final product: warm mini apple pie topped with Elizabeth's homemade butter pecan ice cream and a drizzle of local apple liquer. It truly tasted like a restaurant-quality dessert and each serving of mini-pie was the perfect portion for each person. These would be a hit at any classy fall dinner party.

As for our project, in case you are curious, it has gone on hold since life has been busy and we are reevaluating our roll-out plan. But the best part so far has just been getting to cook fun new foods with a friend.

20 comments:

  1. These sound like they'd be a hit anywhere! Baking terrifies me still, so congrats for conquering the finicky pie dough. Suddenly, I'm craving apple pie...

    ReplyDelete
  2. My mouth is watering and stomach growling---this looks scrumptious. Wish I could cook! Might just have to give this a try!
    XX Kate

    ReplyDelete
  3. OUUUU. I was thinking of making those in little jam jars and freezing them as favours at our wedding but I was nervous about the crust. Could you make the crust if you didn't have a food processor?
    YUM

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eco Yogini - yes you can make the crust without a food processor. just follow smitten kitchen's directions. i think it might be a lot of work to make tons of these as favors because of all the cutting and arranging involved. also, can you bake in jam jars? you'd have to make sure the glass was oven proof...now i'm curious to hear if you end up doing this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So cute! I love the mini-fication.

    ReplyDelete
  6. lol, I just showed Andrew (who said: YUM!!!) and mentioned the whole favours thing... and he said the exact same thing- shattering the jam jars lol. I've read about it somewhere- so i know it's possible... buuut you reasonable people win lol :)

    we'll just have to make them for US!

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG Julia! They look so so so good! Apple pie is always so good.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Those pies look delicious!!!! I have a strong love of pies because my mom bakes them and sells them at farmers markets

    ReplyDelete
  9. Apple pie. Yum. Mini apple pies? adorably yum. Or maybe yummily adorable? Who cares. yum.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am sure the mini pies were as delectable as they are aesthetically comforting. I can't wait to make them myself!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, I'm yumming at those photos!

    They look so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mmmmm, these look amazing. And the extra ice cream and liquor, genius. I'm hungry now!

    ReplyDelete
  13. to die for!!! Crust is my favorite part of the pie...so you have accomplished making each bite even more heavenly...they are sooo cute.

    ReplyDelete
  14. A perfect recipe for this time of year - they look GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am also intimated by making pies because of the dough. Thanks to refer to smitten kitchen's post!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm so happy these little pies are such a hit with you all! I wish I could make mini pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving but it doesn't currently look like i'll be doing any tgiving baking :-(

    ReplyDelete
  17. Julia, love these! I think I may try the same idea for mini pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. They look fantastic! gonna make a pie, gonna make a pie...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jen - yay, i'm going to make more of these mini pies for thanksgiving too - apple and pumpkin this time. good luck and good eats to us both!

    ReplyDelete