I wanted to make mini apple pies. I’ve seen them done and they just look so.. cute! I like to make my own pie crust but I would do that for the bottoms only. They would be topped with a Dutch crumb crust. They’d look all crumbly and delicious. I’d have to start by learning how to make my own apple pie filling. I think canned apple pie filling tastes so metalic!
I was making the pies for a crowd so I peeled 15 apples. Yes, it took a long time and the apples were starting to turn colors when they were all finally peeled, cored and diced. They’d turn more when heated, no problem.
The recipe listed is said to equal a single can of pie filling. With my apples I quadrupled the recipe so the pictures will show much larger portions than the single recipe makes, of course.
I used a soup kettle and melted the butter with the water, cinnamon and sugar before stirring in the apples. The recipe called for white sugar but I added brown sugar as well, using equal amounts. I wanted my filling fairly tart. You could adjust to suit your own taste.
The apples were barely coated but as they cooked down the apples made more juice. I covered the pot and let it simmer on medium low for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. I think a single recipe would cook down faster, so judge for yourself how soft they’re getting.
I took it off the heat and poured it into a container to cool. It tasted great all by itself! I refrigerated the pie filling for several days until I had time to make the crusts for the mini pies and bake them.
I used my usual Betty Crocker cookbook oil crust recipe. I usually roll the crust between two pieces of waxed paper but started these by rolling them with flour. Not a good idea, they were bulky and wouldn’t roll very thin. I used half of the first ball to fill about 10 tiny cups and it was way more difficult than it needed to be.
The next half ball I rolled between sheets of waxed paper and were much easier to roll thin and press into the mini muffin cups. I was able to fill the rest of the cups without a lot of unladylike language. This wasn’t easy to make and I’m not sure I’d ever do that again!
I made 48 mini pie crusts and prebaked them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, just until they were beginning to turn brown at the edges. I removed the first pan from the oven and put the next two smaller pans in.
I mixed the crumble topping in a bowl with a fork and sprinkled a good tablespoon or so on the top of each mini pie. Since the next pans were done prebaking I put the pan of completed pies into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
I watched the pies closely, having guessed at a bake time. The filling was bubbling up and the tops were turning golden so 12 minutes was perfect timing. You’d want to watch your first pan to gauge the timing in your own oven.
After 5 minutes or so I used a paring knife to loosen around the edges of the pies. Since the crumb crust had melted and caramelized I was pretty sure they pies would stick to the pan if let too long. But it wasn’t a problem, they released very easily once I ran the knife around them. They popped out and I placed them in a storage container.
I stored the mini caramel apple pies in a large plastic container between sheets of waxed paper for a day before serving on the Thanksgiving dessert buffet. The caramel tops of the pies had softened nicely and the pies were great! The filling was still tart but the topping sweetened each bite nicely. One or two bites of caramel apple pie deliciousness was just right for a holiday dessert bar. We could eat more or less, depending on how miserably full we wanted to be!
As I said, they were a bit of work, molding the crusts into the mini muffin tins. It’s fussy work I don’t usually like to do. I’d make a lousy pastry chef! But they were flaky with bursts of tart and sweet in one mouthful. If you don’t mind the extra work, these are worth the effort!
Oh, and I don’t know what possessed me to quadruple the pie filling recipe! It made enough filling for about 4 regular apple pies. One recipe of the filling, or one can of prepared apple pie filling is even too much for the 48 mini pies I made. You’ll have filling leftover. Make some waffles and add a huge dollop of apple filling, it will make your breakfast bright!
Apple Pie Filling
4 medium apples
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Peel, core and slice apples. (I diced them because I made mini pies)
Melt butter and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in apples, sugar and 3 tablespoons water.
Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the apples very slightly softened.
In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water. Stir into apples and continue to cook them until soft but not mushy.
Cool and refrigerate until filling is used.
Makes about 2 cups
Adapted from Spend with Pennies
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold water
With a fork, mix flour, oil and salt in a small bowl until the size of peas. Add water and mix just enough until it easily forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap until used.
Roll between sheets of waxed paper, remove top sheet and cut into circles with a cutter or glass that is the right size to fill mini muffin tin cups.
Press dough down into cups and around sides to flatten. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and fill with pie filling to top. Add crumble.
Crumble for the top:
4 tablespoons butter; room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup flour
Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbs the size of peas.
Sprinkle over filled mini pies and bake another 15 minutes.
Cool and store in covered container on counter 2-3 days.